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17 P&O Cruises Dubai Cruise Reviews

The cruise line P&O Cruises is a British cruise line, a constituent of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. P&O Cruises claim to be the oldest cruise line in the world. Its predecessor company operated ... Read More
The cruise line P&O Cruises is a British cruise line, a constituent of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. P&O Cruises claim to be the oldest cruise line in the world. Its predecessor company operated pleasure trips since 1844, and the world's first dedicated cruise ship in 1881. It is the sister company of, and retains strong links with, P&O Cruises Australia. P&O Cruises was de-merged from the P&O group in 2000, becoming a subsidiary of P&O Princess Cruises plc, which subsequently merged with Carnival Corporation in 2003, to form Carnival Corporation & plc. P&O Cruises currently operate seven cruise ships and tailor their cruises to the British market. Why we chose P&O We have sailed with P&O on a number of occasions as they sail from Southampton. They offer much more of a British feel and use pound Stirling for currency. Having 3 pin plugs in all cabins is always good as it saves carrying all those extra travel adapters for those essential electronics. We chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary as it stopped in Israel, and the fact that Arcadia is an adult only ship. We boarded the ship in Dubai and sailed home via the Suez Canal to Southampton on the ship as part of her 2019 world cruise. The ship Arcadia was ordered by Holland America Line in 2000 as their fifth Vista class vessel. In 2003 she was allocated to the Cunard Line to become their Queen Victoria. Shortly before her launch the decision was made to transfer the ship to the P&O Cruises fleet. As a result, Arcadia has a Cunard style mast similar to those found on the RMS Queen Mary 2. She also sports a modified QE2 style funnel, with cowling removed instead of the traditional P&O style funnel found on the other purpose built ships. Arcadia has a gross tonnage of 84,000tones with a passenger capacity of just over 2000 and is an adult only ship. Arcadia’s biggest disappointment is her lack of a usable atrium in the centre of the ship, although P&O have tried to lighten the space with coloured lighting etc in her last refit in 2017. Arcadia has been plagued with problems with her cabin waste system with blockages and leaks again something P&O have been working to resolve all of her working life. Arcadia’s signature features are her midship glass lifts and the retracting roof over the main swimming pool both of which are features from her being built for Holland America Line. She also boasts over 3000 pieces of art through the ship creating a sophisticated feel on board. Dining Options on Board Dining on Arcadia is as you would expect very well taken care of, from buffet dinning to several specialty restaurants. The main dining room is on 2 levels at the rear of the ship, on the lower level it is set dining times 18:30 and 21:00. The upper level is freedom dining where you can turn up for a table any time fro 18:00 to 21:30. This option has to be pre booked when booking the cruise as there are only a certain amount of spaces. Even then at peak times you will have to wait for a table for 2 or get to the restaurant when it opens. We had freedom dining on our cruise and would certainly have this style of dining again. The buffet restaurant ( The Lido) is open from 06:00 to 01:00 serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon Tea, dinner and evening light meals. The food is of good quality, complementary fruit juices are only available at breakfast in the buffet area. The 2 specialty restaurants, Sindhu and Ocean Grill both have an additional cover charge. They are both very good and they change menus several times during the voyages. While we were on Arcadia P&O were trailing a glass house style menu in intermezzo outside of ocean grill, this worked well and we hope that it becomes a permanent feature on board Arcadia. Eric lanyards afternoon tea is another specialty offer, it is served in ocean grill on selected sea days and is worth trying. During the day by the midship pool (Neptune’s) there is a grill serving burgers, fish and chips ,jacket potatoes etc there is also a small sandwich bar just to the side of this grill. This area can get busy during the day, especially when the sliding roof is open in warm climates. The Cabins Arcadia’s cabins come is 5 basic categories with a number of sub categories. The categories are inside, ocean view, balcony, mini suite and suite. There are also a number of single occupancy cabins both inside and ocean view. Most of the mini suites are midships. All cabins are well appointed as you would expect with all the normal cabin features. All cabins have UK 3 pin plugs as standard, also tea/coffee making facilities replenished throughout your stay. The cabins have a mini bar(chargeable to your on board account ) and fridge. Most of the mini suites and suites have a bath and shower. A few of the Balcony and Ocean View cabins have combined showers and baths. All grades of cabins have complementary shower gel, shampoo and body lotion. There is plenty of wardrobe space in all cabins. This is a feature on all Vista Class ships that make them great for longer cruises or round the world trips. All of the cabins following the refit in 2017 now have flat screen TVs with pay for view films but as yet, like other ships in the P&O fleet, you can not view your cabin bill or order room service / interactive services via the tv. Things to do on Board As with any UK main stream cruise company the daily entertainment is varied from guest speakers to deck quoits. There is always something going, and the good thing about the ship is that you can always find a quiet spot to read the book you have taken from the library onboard. On this cruise because it was the last leg of the world cruise there was daily art classes in one of the meeting rooms. There is a small onboard cinema seating around 30 in leather recliner chairs, they show current films that are on at the cinema at home, due to space restrictions it’s always best to book a seat. The gym also has a full daily program of both free and chargeable fitness classes all of which are good quality and the instructors know what they’re doing Swimming pools, sun decks and Spa There are 3 pools on board, the main one being in the centre of the ship. It is known as Neptune’s pool, this is where the sliding roof covers the pool in less favourable conditions. There are sun loungers around the pool. The pool has a bar area and a take way food place serving burgers and chips etc The second pool is on the aft deck behind the lido buffet, again there is a lot of space for loungers and has a large bar, this area is fully open to the elements all the time The 3rd pool in located in the spa area and is a pay for use pool, it is always heated to around 34’ and has whirlpool jets that can be turned on and off. You can pay a one off fee for the entire cruise or choose to pay daily providing there is space available, they only have 30 spaces per cruise for this area The sun decks through the ship are spacious even at peak times so you are always able to get a bed with space round it. The large well appointed gym and spa are right at the top and front of the ship above the navigation bridge. It has it’s own sauna in each changing room . If you want to use the steam room hot bed or sensual sauna then again they are chargeable with the use of the thermal suite. The gym offer daily fitness classes and talks. The spa has a full list of wellbeing and wellness courses / treatments again all as additional costs. Would we Recommend P&O We have sailed with P&O on a number of their ships, this is what lead us to book this cruise. If you are looking for a cruise that looks after the UK cruiser then P&O is definitely for you. Would we book another leg of a world cruise, definitely yes but there are a number of things to consider with this type of cruise. • Large amounts of sea days back to back, we had a 6 and 5 day run of sea days • Average age of the customers is generally higher than on normal cruises • Entertainment tailored to type of cruise and age of customers • Customer familiarity with the crew most noticeable in the buffet and main restaurants as they have been together for the last 3 months or so, it can make you feel left out. • Numerous special event for world cruisers only, so parts of the ship often restricted (bars and restaurants etc) This aside we did enjoy the trip home from Dubai especially sailing through the Suez canal and the trips in Israel ( the reason for booking the trip) We like the smaller ships ( around 2000 passengers) as they are usually more friendly. Our biggest dislike is P&Os Great British Sail Away, complete with Union Jack waving, but majority of the ship joins in so we go with the flow with it. So if you live in the UK and want a great British cruise with a main stream cruise line then P&O certainly deliver no matter what ship you travel on. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I chose to go on the Dubai to Valletta cruise onboard MV Oceana because having cruised so much I wanted new ports, the ports were restrictive for powerchair and Wheelchair users but still a good time. The ship is probably the worst in ... Read More
I chose to go on the Dubai to Valletta cruise onboard MV Oceana because having cruised so much I wanted new ports, the ports were restrictive for powerchair and Wheelchair users but still a good time. The ship is probably the worst in P&O,s fleet as it has poor access to open decks and some of the disabled toilets are difficult to open and some toilet seats don’t stay up but temper this disappointment with a friendly staff and first class food. My own cabin B312 had two broken lights, one faulty one and the bedside lights were erratic at best, service in the dining room was slow though this did improve. I just wish the ships accessibility had been addressed at her last refit, the captain and crew are a gem and need a better fitted resource. The theatre has an area at the back for wheelchairs and scooters but latecomers to the theatre consistently crowd you and spoil the experience, time the entertainment staff did something about it and I also had concerns over safety due to it ( is it a fire safety breach) Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was our first time with P&O and we certainly had a great relaxing holiday. Our inside cabin was better than we were expecting. It was reasonably spacious and very comfortable. Our cabin steward changed at the first Malta. Both ... Read More
This was our first time with P&O and we certainly had a great relaxing holiday. Our inside cabin was better than we were expecting. It was reasonably spacious and very comfortable. Our cabin steward changed at the first Malta. Both were very friendly and efficient. Service was great. Oceana might be getting on in years, but she is in excellent condition. This really is down to the dedication of the crew. We found the size of ship and number of passengers to be just right. All crew were friendly and couldn't do enough for you. Cant fault. We dined at 20:30 on a table for 8. Whilst the food was very good, it was nothing outstanding. But we were always able to have an enjoyable meal. Our table companions were friendly. The staff were brilliant. We found the entertainment to be fairly good and enjoyable. However, some of the venues i.e. the pub and outside venues had the volume turned up so much that it was impossible to think. We sat on the sofa's outside of the pub after dinner, which was about right. We took a couple of organised tours. The sights were great. On one the guide was a complete waste of space which effectively ruined the tour. The other was better but no one had anticipated spending around a total of 5 hours sat on a coach. We did our own thing afterwards. Things to improve - they must ensure that people do not "hog" the sun loungers all day. At times, especially on the sea days in particular, it was crazy. Reserved loungers everywhere but empty !!!! We also found that there are just too many announcements. It was like being at a holiday camp at times. Take a lesson from Cunard on this please. Overall ship - excellent cabin - excellent food - very good crew - amazing, a credit to all Best bits - has to be the Suez Canal transit which was beyond expectations. Along with Venice. What a place to just wander around. Breathtaking. A very enjoyable and relaxing cruise and holiday. Just what the doctor ordered. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
If you are a regular browser of this site then you would have known what to expect with Oceana so there is no need to whinge. SHIP-It is ageing but most of the public areas are in tip top condition. CRUISE-This was a new venture for ... Read More
If you are a regular browser of this site then you would have known what to expect with Oceana so there is no need to whinge. SHIP-It is ageing but most of the public areas are in tip top condition. CRUISE-This was a new venture for us in this part of the world but you have to have your wits about you finding your way through Dubai airport as we did landing at terminal 3 with emirates.Keep your wits about you and follow the instructions form the airport staff because it was a real trek to baggage collection.Overall the cruise was interesting and the excursions were well organised.The free shuttles at ports was a real bonus and whether that continues next year is not known. FOOD-This is always a big talking point.We were in the Adriatic MDR 8.30pm sitting.On the menu are 5 starters,10 mains and 5 desserts each day plus ice cream and cheese and if you cannot find something that suits you then you must be really fussy or from a different planet.We did not use the Plaza buffet as to us the atmosphere is like a works canteen. SEADAYS-There was only one sea day and of course you had what I call benidorm cruisers.Out at 7.30am reserving their favourite sunbed even with high winds across the decks no doubt going through the same ritual as when they used to go to benidorm. ENTERTAINMENT-Gary Barlow show,excellent-the 4 tunes very good-headliners-I do not know how much of this singing is live apart from the lead.If they are singing and dancing then they are doing a good job.Steve Day,comedian dire. PORTS-The only port we did not enjoy was Khasab which really was a waste of time unless you were doing a dhow cruise.It is a small town with a few shops a few goats wandering around. SUMMARY-Enjoyed the cruise and all the lovely people we dined with.Would we do it again-no. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We choose this for the itinerary not the ship as we have been on it 3 times before. Flights with Virgin we're acceptable and embarkation not as slick as before but we put this mainly down to UAE customs regulations. Cabin was ready ... Read More
We choose this for the itinerary not the ship as we have been on it 3 times before. Flights with Virgin we're acceptable and embarkation not as slick as before but we put this mainly down to UAE customs regulations. Cabin was ready by 12 so that was good, cabin steward was polite and friendly. The ship is unchanged really still old , tired but functional, can't say anything was ever out of action but as others state its seriously showing age related wear, in the whole thought kept clean and tidy i thought. Food is also the same, buffet is small and old school and seems to suffer curry as ever most days but on the whole the food tastes fine and is restocked quickly. Drinks service as ever is very slow in the buffet and invariably arrives after you've eaten ! MDR is a pleasant space, menus varied and again on the occasions we used it food was hot and tasty with a good choice. Entertainment is a bit hit and miss, poorer this time we thought but we still enjoyed some good shows, a/c in Starlight's is fierce ! and the tub chairs too close for comfort. We used predominately organised tours due to never having been to these countries, as expected overpriced but delivered as advertised. On the whole for the price and itinerary a good solid cruise but dont expect any frills or glamour , budget cruise for a budget price, shame about the cabin noise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We have been cruising with smaller ships for the last few years - Viking and Oceania - but really liked the itinerary on this cruise and felt it was very good value for money. We really enjoyed our experience and loved Dubai and the UAE ... Read More
We have been cruising with smaller ships for the last few years - Viking and Oceania - but really liked the itinerary on this cruise and felt it was very good value for money. We really enjoyed our experience and loved Dubai and the UAE so much that we are going again next year. We were busy on this cruise with an excursion every port day and had booked most activities via P&O. Two, in particular, were very memorable - the Bahraini food trail in Manama and the day at Al Ain from Abu Dhabi. I had a very funny close encounter with a camel which was caught on camera and amuses me every time I look at it. We also loved the fjord dhow cruise to see dolphins and The Frame in Dubai is incredible. For those like us who had pre-booked excursions, the whole process was very organised. We wanted to go up the Burj Khalifa but didn’t want to queue so we booked high tea at the Atmosphere Lounge on Floor 123 in the Armani Hotel. Whisked straight up and had a window table all to ourselves with amazing views. Pricey of course but a unique experience. We were on second sitting so after dinner and a nightcap, we were usually ready for bed by 11 pm and therefore didn’t see many shows or talks but what we did see was very good. There was good music around the ship. For us, the food in the MDR for breakfast, lunch and dinner was consistently good with lots of choice and excellent service. We are not so keen on buffet eating but, when we did, it was again a wide choice and food was generally good. I can understand the choices wouldn’t be to everybody’s taste but it suited us as we like to eat a diverse range of foods. Oceana is one of P&O’s smaller ships and her atrium is beautiful. We found the officers and crew very efficient and friendly. The sun deck was very crowded as so many people had chosen this cruise for winter sun and sunbathed for long periods. As we don’t sunbathe, this didn’t bother us. We did hear some people moaning or just being generally negative but really couldn’t find fault with anything ourselves. It would be nice to have lobster on offer every day as Oceania Cruises do but then we would have to pay a lot more. All in all, we feel that we had an amazing time in an area we hadn’t visited before and met some lovely people whose company we enjoyed. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Chose this cruise because of destination, (Arabian Gulf) and the warm weather. The guests were mostly retired, and talking to many of them, only sailed with P & O, never anyone else, "because P & O are the best". ... Read More
Chose this cruise because of destination, (Arabian Gulf) and the warm weather. The guests were mostly retired, and talking to many of them, only sailed with P & O, never anyone else, "because P & O are the best". Nonesense. The Oceana is a tired, smallish vessel, and P & O expects their clients to want to go to bed early, and indeed many do. By 11 p.m. the ship was quite deserted. We were (eventually) given first sitting and we had a nice table for 8. The service was good, but the quality of the food left a lot to be desired. I do believe they had a glut of squash, asparagus and mushrooms, because that was on the menu all the time. The buffet is small, but never much of a queue, except when the tours returned. However the food was poor and repetitive. The onboard Headlines were awful! Two of the lady singers couldn't "sing". One struggled to find a tune and the other just screamed down the microphone. The dancing looked more like an old-school PE session, with lots of jumping about with lots of energy, but no finesse. The visiting acts were mediocre, the comedians were telling jokes from the 60's. Again all past their sell by date. The magician was good but dragged out his performances. There was a pianist in the atrium, and without actually checking, he either had 6 fingers on each hand, or only 2. He was dreadful. However people sat in rows, like an old folks home, listening to him. Can't for the life of me think why. The seating in the show lounges was poor. In the Starlight theatre there were bucket seats crammed together and behind them were a sofa seating. The buckets seats were higher than the softas, and the distance between them was so tiny, that people were climbing over the backs of the sofas to get to their seats. The Footlights theatre seating was all sloping forwards, so not very comfortable. We had an inside guarantee cabin which was perfectly adequate, B624. No complaints there. However there were sequins on the floor when we arrived, and still there when we left. Obviously never vacuumed. The price of alcohol is expensive. A 250ml glass of house red/white wine was £5.65. A Peroni on draft was £4.80 a pint. Can't comment on any other drinks. The ship was always cold, from the air conditioning. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Wanted to give P&O another try after a really bad experience on Britannia. Oceana used to be Ocean Princess so, as our first ever cruise was on her sister, Sea Princess, we were familiar with the ship, layout and facilities. ... Read More
Wanted to give P&O another try after a really bad experience on Britannia. Oceana used to be Ocean Princess so, as our first ever cruise was on her sister, Sea Princess, we were familiar with the ship, layout and facilities. Embarkation in Dubai was simple and stress free with the usual pre authoristation on my credit card (more of that later). Yet again we found the food to be very average and actually quite boring; perks of being aimed at the older British market I suppose but I don't go to hot parts of the world to have things like shepherds pie for lunch! The staff were okay but again, being predominantly from the Indian sub continent, they tend to be very straight laced to the point of appearing uninterested. We only used the main restaurant twice as the meals did not excite us, thankfully the themed buffets were generally very good. The entertainment was, on the whole pretty good with guest entertainers of a Gary Barlow tribute and a Soul / Mowtown act that was that good we saw on all of their shows. The house entertainment was okay, the Killer Queen theatre show was entertaining without being spectacular. House bands / musicians kept people entertained around the ship The UAE is a strange place to visit, blatant oppulance tempered by a very low paid workforce, a wide chasm of have and have nots which makes for a fascinating visit. Sir Bin Yassi Island was the only place we were disappointed with as there is nothing there so why bother. You take your chances with all ships excursions and these were no different really, not exactly exciting but something different to do. Post cruise is where it all went wrong and highlighted the poor service from the company. On every other cruise I have done, I have received my post cruise email with questionnaire before I have got to the airport or home, here I am three weeks later still waiting for it! Also, the pre authorisation of my credit card is still showing on my account and all I get from them is a standard reply, it's as if they don't even read the original message properly. Can't say I'll be rushing back to P&O Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We arrived in Dubai after an overnight flight. transfers were smooth and arrived at cruise port by 10.30am Cabins were ready by 11.15am- Great start to the holiday. Day 1 First port of call was Bahrain - a very enjoyable excursion to ... Read More
We arrived in Dubai after an overnight flight. transfers were smooth and arrived at cruise port by 10.30am Cabins were ready by 11.15am- Great start to the holiday. Day 1 First port of call was Bahrain - a very enjoyable excursion to the F1 Track. Second Stop was 2 days in Abu Dhabi - first day Shuttle bus took us to a newly finished Mall on the outskirts of town, quite disappointing as there was no way of walking to the main part of town, bit of a wasted day really. Second day we went on a cruise excursion to Grand Mosque- a visit to a traditional handmadecrafts village, great opportunity to buy local crafts - trade in Diram, Euro's and Dollars. Very friendly and look out for the man that does weaving really worth a visit.A drive around the sites of Abu Dhabi and then a final visit was to a Fort .. this was a superb tour and I would really recommend it as we saw lots and it was good value at £40 each. A day at sea followed . Our next visit was to Muscat , here the shuttle bus took us to a market and we explored the town and the harbour. It was a little confusing at the port we had to get off the bus and go through a security check before re-boarding the bus to get to the town. If you are feeling a bit more adventurous there is a beautiful beach a short taxi ride from the port. We then visited Kushab, a lovely little town where goats roamed the streets and there was a wealth of electronic shops selling allsorts... My daughters bought a pair of airpods that work great for £20, from a shop in the square where the shuttle bus dropped us off. We also found a beautiful beach just next to the port and the sea was really warm, there is no pavement to get there so you need to bear right out of the port and follow the track ..walk behind the crash barrier to the beach , it's less than 1/2 a mile walk. We then enjoyed a fun day on the beach at Sir Ban Yas Island- The ship provided a great packed lunch and drinks on the beach. Our final stop was a return to Dubai, where we arranged our own excursion through Arabian Nights Tours, we had a great great time our guide was called Ramzan and he took us camel riding ( just a quick walk around a pen but good photo opportunities), Sand boarding and Dune Bashing these were both brilliant. He also told us loads about Dubai and its culture. We then took a taxi to the Miracle Gardens, this is a must see for anyone visiting Dubai. The shuttle bus took us to the Dubai Mall where we walked to the burj khalifa and the dancing fountains - we also saw the amazing huge fish tank in the Mall with sharks, stingrays and dozens of amazing fish. Our final day a thick cloud descended on the whole area so it scuppered our plans to visit the palm as we would not have been able to see anything- but we feel this is a good excuse to visit again. Great holiday, excellent value with P&O , having sailed with Princess, Celebrity, Cunard and Royal Caribbean in the past, I would have no hesitation in sailing with P&O again , the Oceana was very friendly and offered really good food. We traveled as a family of 6 with 2 teenage girls, we felt extremely safe throughout our holiday and everyone was very friendly. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
I had looked at a few reviews prior to our middle east cruise which looked a bit negative. However I shouldn't have worried as we enjoyed a really good 10 day cruise. Boarding was straightforward and quick and we were on the ship ... Read More
I had looked at a few reviews prior to our middle east cruise which looked a bit negative. However I shouldn't have worried as we enjoyed a really good 10 day cruise. Boarding was straightforward and quick and we were on the ship by 11am having had an overnight flight from Glasgow and the cabins were released at 12pm. Our cabin was L343 on deck 12. The cabin was a wee bit dated but clean and tidy and always tidied up very quickly in the morning. Because we had a corner cabin the shower was quite big, i was initially a bit concerned when i noticed that we had a service corridor backing on to our cabin but you only heard a bit of noise just after 8am apart from that it was great. We ate in the main dining room the food was excellent and always piping hot, I found the buffet for breakfast and lunch very good and had no problem getting a table at any time. Ports were good and trips from the ship were of a reasonable price and standard, the free shuttle buses at the ports were a real plus. Found that if you were going to the starlights theatre you had to get there really early to get a seat as people were reluctant to move along the rows which was quite annoying. The comedians were good as were the musicians and dancers although i felt that some of the singers voices werent strong enough for some of the songs that they sung. All in all a first cruise with P+O and found it really good. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Refit has improved Oceana, a ship we like. CRUISE SPOILT BY NOISE AT NIGHT If you want a good nights sleep and the ability to get to sleep before midnight DO NOT BOOK CABIN C510. For whatever reason the noise from from lower deck ... Read More
Refit has improved Oceana, a ship we like. CRUISE SPOILT BY NOISE AT NIGHT If you want a good nights sleep and the ability to get to sleep before midnight DO NOT BOOK CABIN C510. For whatever reason the noise from from lower deck venues comes up through 2 decks into the cabin, this carries on until midnight and beyond. Loud cheers of guests watching sporting events, entertainers singing and shouting etc. NEVER BOOK C510. 2 days in Dubai, 2 days in Abu Dhabi and visits to other UAE states and the Oman. Free shuttle buses in all ports of call were very good. Overall Oceana has benefited from her 2017/18 refit and does not look as tired as she did before. We dined in the Beach House twice and found the food and service excellent, food in the self service was adequate but nothing special although the staff were friendly and helpful, only blip was the very poor omelette station at breakfast. The entertainment by the Headliners Theatre Company was outstanding, good singers and excellent dancers made their shows well worth seeing. Overall a good cruise spoilt by a Noisy Cabin. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We were going to Dubai anyway so tagged on the cruise. We have done this with other cruise lines and have actually done the same cruise 4 times before. We usually book a balcony cabin as we like to sit on the balcony in the evening with a ... Read More
We were going to Dubai anyway so tagged on the cruise. We have done this with other cruise lines and have actually done the same cruise 4 times before. We usually book a balcony cabin as we like to sit on the balcony in the evening with a drink but we know from visiting this part of the world many times that it can be chilly in the evenings. So we booked a large outside cabin and were not disappointed. It was very large with a window not a port hole. Lots of storage space, drawers, shelves etc but the safe was tiny, likewise the bathroom. But it was clean and everything worked so we were well happy. The hairdryer was pretty efficient but in entirely the wrong position if you are right handed, We were freedom dining. The food was fine but the service rather slow. We also ate in Cafe Jardin which was surprisingly good and portions huge. We also ate in the Beach House which was up to the same standard as the Beach Houss on other P&O ships. The Plaza buffet has the most awful layout, similar to the Ventura and Azura buffets. A very stressful experience going to the Plaza. Food was OK but not the variety that you get on Britannia. The ship has lots of small bars but we went to Winners on deck 8 and struck up a friendly association with the staff there. We sat at the front of the ship which was OK even on the one sea day we had. If you wanted to sit around the pool then you had to be content to be a sardine as there was no space between the beds. Sunbeds were large and sturdy but were roped down every night and not released until nearly 9am the next morning. We managed to release a couple for ourselves before this but otherwise I thought the general release time was ridiculously late. The crew swilled down the sun deck most nights which meant that the deck surface was very slippery. The ship felt cramped, the atrium very small and a lot of the floors were uneven which can catch you out especially in the Plaza buffet. Likewise the gangways to get on and off the ship were basic and not very sturdy which was a bit disconcerting. Could not fault the staff and even the reception desk was efficient!! We met some nice people, the weather (apart from one day in Abu Dhabi) was near perfect. We were not on a fly cruise but were travelling independently so we were not subjected to the overnight flight to and from Dubai. I would not advocate doing the fly cruise. Make your own arrangements and use Emirates. All in all a good trip. Don't think I will be going back on Oceana again as I prefer the bigger ships where I don't feel hemmed in so much. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Having been on the Ventura we said we would never go with P & O again. However, with a chance of the Golden Triangle thrown in, we decided to give it another go. What a great trip. The Arcadia does lack the wow factor and could do ... Read More
Having been on the Ventura we said we would never go with P & O again. However, with a chance of the Golden Triangle thrown in, we decided to give it another go. What a great trip. The Arcadia does lack the wow factor and could do with some sparkle , renewal of sanitary ware, a lick of paint. The theatre has too many pillars spoiling the view of the stage. On the plus side, the bed was comfortable, the water constantly hot, the cabin clean, tea and coffee. The food was very good, the staff friendly, helpful, smiling and very hard working. Margaret Gilmore, Brian Conley, Shaun Wallace, Maurice Grumbleweed, singers, dancers etc, very good. We only took one trip and did the rest ourselves. The port talks covered self guiding. Went for set dining and had a fabulous table with excellent waiters. They were helpful and coped with us swapping seats and joking with them. Our steward,Bosco, always smiling. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This was the first time we had travelled with P&O although we have done numerous cruises with Cunard, Royal Caribbean et cetera. We had of course read reviews before boarding and noted that there had been a number of previous negative ... Read More
This was the first time we had travelled with P&O although we have done numerous cruises with Cunard, Royal Caribbean et cetera. We had of course read reviews before boarding and noted that there had been a number of previous negative remarks, some of them quite caustic. We were initially surprised at quite how overwhelmingly British are P&O ships. Prices are in sterling and generally lower than on ships with dollar pricing. There is also a refreshing absence of having to pay a 15% tip for every drink. Food has the emphasis on “British traditional”, with plentiful supplies of sausage, black pudding and several varieties of tea. On one occasion the “dish of the day” was cottage pie although more exotic dishes were also available. As we left one port ‘Jerusalem’ was belted out lustily by the passengers from the deck to the puzzlement of the locals. The passengers were also mainly British and, as befits a lengthy world cruise for those with time to spare, elderly. There had been reports of passengers being ill, but of course the same bunch of folk at home would have had illness problems as well. The ‘Arcadia’ cough episode seemed to be over. The crew were uniformly attentive, friendly, and cheerful. As is our practice, we quickly found out the names of the important people (cabin steward, table waiters, bar waiter et cetera) and established cordial relations. We felt that the standard and variety of the food in the main restaurant was slightly below that of other lines, although we heard extremely satisfied comments from fellow diners concerning the speciality restaurants. In the self-service ‘Belvedere’ breakfast was top class, lunch and dinner rather limited in choice. Puds were great and there was always a selection of cheese including Stilton (try getting that on a US ship). We never went hungry. We found the ship bright and airy with pale colours everywhere contributing to the atmosphere. There were minor problems in our cabin including the air conditioning although these were fixed promptly. There were some scuffs and scratches which indicated that a “wash and brush up” would be a good idea quite soon; we think this may be occurring in the autumn. Bars presented Brit-flavoured entertainment (pub torch singers, karaoke and so on) of a professional standard. We only attended one show – a Queen tribute – which had us (and everyone else) singing along. Our favourite bar was the Crow’s Nest – high up with superb views and entertainment that leaned towards classical. We agreed we really didn’t ‘get’ a lot of the critical comments. Okay if you’re poorly you are not going to have great time (although we didn’t need them ourselves we heard good reports of the medical service). I have yet to meet a rude crew member on any cruise line. So I’m sorry if people didn’y have a good time – we did. We will ‘do’ P&O again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We sailed from Dubai to Sydney -- had a fantastic time we were C deck and although we were at the rear end in the Oriental Restaurants for dinner we never let the vibration spoil the excellent cuisine; there was no vibration from mid ships ... Read More
We sailed from Dubai to Sydney -- had a fantastic time we were C deck and although we were at the rear end in the Oriental Restaurants for dinner we never let the vibration spoil the excellent cuisine; there was no vibration from mid ships forward Let's get some facts straight here The vibration very upsetting for the people who it affected directly however not true the Captain did not respond he met all concerned personally Secondly the ship was full, the staff did there best When the bearing failed the engineers the unsung heroes worked day and night to fix at sea not easy I witnessed passengers verbally assaulting the girls on the desk what could the do? WHAT IS FACT THE MECHICAL PROBLEMS P&O COULD DO NOTHING ABOUT AT SEA IT WAS THE RESULT OF GERMAN ENGINEERING -- END OF STORY ANOTHER MYTH BLOW APART The conservatory was terrible one man cutting bespoke sandwiches not a good idea, how ever it did find favour with our Australian cousins and tip dodgers so served a purpose The Main restaurants the food was best ever Michael the Cruise Director was fine, hard job to please the unappeasable he was not in any ones face all the time like a poor mans Bruce Forsyth What let him down the past their sell by date ladies as miserable as sin not wanting to be there. The Head Liners the young Kids amazing never seen such talent on a ship The organisation from the Staff for visa and the problems incurred were amazing and never get a mention; shifting 2000 people off a ship and back not easy but it was stress free for us Even dealing with the idiot abroad who says why do I need to fill in forms for Australia I did it in India!!!! Next time the Captain does an "Audience with" he must not say I would never tell you a lie that was his first lie Late out of Darwin nothing to do with booting a card, the crew were late back well just say so Lets face it a Lot of serial cruiser go to complain and even complain about complaining and boring every one with "how many cruises have you done" Easier to say good morning Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
The Arcadia is a decent enough ship although it is by now (2012) probably in need of a refurbishment. Boarding in Dubai was a reasonably efficient affair, a little slow, but i have experienced much worse. If you are looking for a ship ... Read More
The Arcadia is a decent enough ship although it is by now (2012) probably in need of a refurbishment. Boarding in Dubai was a reasonably efficient affair, a little slow, but i have experienced much worse. If you are looking for a ship that is internally stunning to the eye then you may be disappointed. there is no WOW factor, but it is clean and well maintained. The ports of call made this a worthwhile journey especially if like me you have not been to India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Hong Kong, China, etc. Do your own research before departure. The pre-arrival port information talks were probably the most informative i have experienced on any cruise ship, with no real hard sell on excursions. Drinks are not badly priced in comparison to some US based ships and being able to buy Duty Free spirits for consuming on board was a plus, but remember to stock up on mixers like tonic water in Dubai etc. There also appeared to be no restriction on buying wine or beer ashore and bringing it on board, this was a cruising first for me. As this was part of a world cruise the age profile was high and i would estimate the average age to have been around mid 70's + . Entertainment was really quite diverse with different artists joining for different segments. Some were great some were dire. All down to personal taste. The greatest disappointment was probably the food which i can only describe as bland, mundane, predictable and lacking finesse. Most passengers opted for 1st sitting, which had a long waitlist, an age thing i suppose. We were fortunate to have a table for two on 2nd sitting. 42 nights of 'bon homie' was not for me, each to their own i suppose. The ship was at times like the Marie Celeste in the late evening. The crew by which i mean the waiters and cabin stewards are predominantly Indian and are an absolute joy. Given the age profile of fellow passengers they are for all intents and purposes 'carers'. They are very patient considering they are young 18 to 20 somethings. The laundry facilities are totally insufficient for a cruise of this duration and i heard some dreadful stories regarding the behaviour of some passengers using the launderette, It was by all accounts a source of much discontent amongst many passengers. Considering the age profile of passeners, i found the stories of crass behaviour quite bizarre. Especially when we can be over critical of young people's behaviour!. All in all this was a pleasant voyage, nothing exceptional, although nothing dramatically wrong either. It was a pleasant way to get to Australia. If you are looking for something really special or celebrating a big occasion. then you should really do your homework and think hard before booking. Arcadia could be compared to a pleasant 3* plus country hotel, nice and pleasant but nothing really memorable. The majority of passengers were British with quite a sprinkling of Dutch as well. The Dutch were all very pleasant and easy to chat with. Most whom i spoke to appeared to like sailing with the British.? At Singapore and Hong Kong we were joined by lots of Australians, great fun. There was never any great problem finding loungers for sun worship as the Australians did not lay in it and the Brits and Dutch were of course frying daily. I met lots of nice people who had very interesting backgrounds and occupations. Some were on their second and third world cruise aboard Arcadia, so there must something right about the ship. For me, enjoyable, but not again. Enjoy. Finally, many passengers did pick up a quite serious cough, with some later developing chest infections as a result. Thankfully, for us it cleared up within about 5 days. In comparison to ships on the US circuit where the use of antiseptic hand-gel dispensers is compulsory. added to the visible 24/7 cleaning of surfaces like lift doors / controls and handrails. The Arcadia was very lax in comparison. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We had spent a few days in Dubai visiting family before embarking on Aurora at Dubai cruise terminal so jet lag was long gone and we were relaxed instead of worrying if our plane was going to be delayed etc. This was our 6th cruise, our ... Read More
We had spent a few days in Dubai visiting family before embarking on Aurora at Dubai cruise terminal so jet lag was long gone and we were relaxed instead of worrying if our plane was going to be delayed etc. This was our 6th cruise, our 3rd with P&O but our first time on Aurora so it would be interesting to compare our experience on this ship with elsewhere. Check in at Dubai was relaxed as not many passengers were getting on - about 250 in all we heard. At check in we were asked to complete the usual health form to state that we had not been ill within the last so many days etc. What we were not told was that we were about to walk on a ship with the norovirus present. I smelled a rat as soon as we got on board and went into the Orangery for some lunch - no salt and pepper pots on the tables and the doors to the public toilets were jammed open. No one told us about the virus but there were rumours among those who had embarked in Dubai and the Captain confirmed a couple of days later that the ship was now free of it. I think that passengers have a right to know what they are walking into. We have to sign a health declaration. What about the ship's operator doing the same? In future on boarding I shall be asking if the virus is present on the ship and I expect an answer. P&O be aware that yours will be the next ship I will be boarding. Our cabin had a balcony on the starboard side of the ship. We chose this side so that we would get some sun onto the balcony during the voyage. This worked out really well and spectacularly well when we reached Hong Kong (read on). We usually choose the port side. The cabin was very compact with not as much storage space as we have had on other ships. For example, shelves were very narrow around the dressing table area and a good quarter of the wardrobe was virtually inaccessible as you had to reach right behind a fixed door. Also the top shelf in the wardrobe was too high and so a good half of this was not accessible. The life jackets were kept on this shelf and whilst I am not short in height I had to ask my husband who is 6 feet tall to get mine down as I could not reach it. Goodness knows what would happen in an emergency. There were quite a few hangers in the wardrobe but they were those awful ones with a fixed position and which are useless outside of the wardrobe and none had skirt or trouser grips on their bars. Fortunately I had taken about 20 plastic hangers so we managed. Also the hanging rail was too low and long dresses trailed the floor. Drawer units in the cabin were shallow and the safe small. There was one hook outside of the bathroom and this was in a silly place over a bedside cabinet so you could not hang anything more than a jacket and then you had to be careful as it was spring loaded and shot back against the wall as you removed a garment from it. When we got to the cabin, the beds were apart and separated by the smallest bedside cabinet you have ever seen. This meant that you could hardly walk past the dressing table without banging your leg against the bed. Fearful of getting off the ship with legs black and blue from bruises we moved the cabinet and put the beds together. This then created enough space to get round the dressing table. There were enough mirrors and 2 British style plug sockets. Beds were OK and comfy. The TV was out of the ark - really poor. The balcony was very shallow - just enough room for the 2 recliner chairs and a small table. We have definitely had better cabin facilities on other ships when paying similar money. The bathroom had a shower over a small bath. Good storage cupboards around the handbasin. No shampoo but there was a dispenser over the bath that is supposed to be both shower gel and shampoo. It was something like using Fairy Liquid so I stopped using this after day 1. Fortunately I had taken decent shampoo with us. Even my husband who is not into fancy shampoos gave up after a couple of days on the stuff supplied by P&O. There was a tray by the handbasin containing small containers all of which turned out to be as much use a a chocolate teapot - stuff the average person never uses. What a waste of product. Bath towels were nice and big and changed twice a day. We were assigned to The Alexandria restaurant, 1st sitting on a table for 6. The others on the table had also embarked at Dubai and were also getting off in Hong Kong. We got on really well with them. The food was excellent, well cooked, hot and nicely presented with portion sizes just right and our waiting staff were superb. The table settings and cutlery were good. We utilised a couple of wine packages which we thought good value. All in all, we were more than happy with the Alexandra and looked forward to our dinner each night. The whole table booked to eat together in the Pennant Grill one night. Apart from a cock up with the booking, they accommodated us even though we could not sit outside and the food again was excellent. We also all booked to go to the Cafe Bordeaux one night. Unfortunately we did not return from our trip in time but the other 4 said it was superb and proceeded to taunt us for the rest of the trip over what we had missed!!!!!! We ate breakfast in the Orangery. One problem here was the eggs. You could have hard boiled or "fried" which were kept on a tray for self service, or scrambled. No omelettes, poached eggs, eggs benedict etc. This was poor compared to American ships where you can have your eggs freshly cooked any number of different ways. We ate our dinner once in the Orangery but this was not fantastic. Lunchtime sandwiches were freshly made and good. They could do with having mugs for tea and coffee instead of the cups and saucers and dispensing with the chemical fruit juices. We tried several of the bars and found the service good, cocktails good and the prices reasonable. No complaints here except my husband would have liked draught beer in more of the bars. We went to some shows in the evening and liked them. We also took part in some quizzes to keep the grey matter ticking over. We liked the general decor of the ship - tasteful and clean. Plenty of sunbathing space on deck but what would it be like if the ship was full of young people and children? Good quality sunbeds. The laundrette on deck 9 was great and so useful. We found the staff polite and efficient although some of the reception staff could do better. For example one complaint I put in was never acted upon and I had to go back and start again. We did trips organised by P&O in Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur, Phu My (Saigon) and Halong Bay (Hanoi). They were all interesting but the Hanoi trip was ill - thought through by the orgainizers and we did not return to the ship until after 8pm when we should have been back before 6.30pm. We did our own thing in Singapore and a whole day out to Sentosa Island cost us £17 which included entrance fees to Fort Siloso. We also did Saigon on our own but got the ship's coach to transfer us from the port to the city. This was an experience and real fun. Eventually we reached Hong Kong where the ship was berthed for 2 days so we had the first night on board before disembarkation. This was where our starboard cabin came in really handy as the ship berthed at the cruise terminal and we were looking directly at HK Island. This meant that we got the symphony of lights show for free. We felt sorry for those you had paid to go on a trip from the ship to see the same stuff. We loved HK (not been before). We were sorry to leave the ship and the friends we had made on board. We loved the itinerary for the cruise except that they could leave out Kemaman in East Malaysia and perhaps include Cochin instead. We also loved the days we had at sea - 4 in a row between Mumbai and KL but perhaps the really good weather helped???!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
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