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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
I was only on the Arcadia for a 3 day trip Syd to Bris. Solo traveller paid $1000 for 3 nights in deluxe balcony cabin. Cabin was nice, although I really had to twist the Steward's arm to get a white robe. Food in ... Read More
I was only on the Arcadia for a 3 day trip Syd to Bris. Solo traveller paid $1000 for 3 nights in deluxe balcony cabin. Cabin was nice, although I really had to twist the Steward's arm to get a white robe. Food in Belverede (Buffet) was like Boarding School - small display and not very appertising Food in Main Dining Room was either great or average. Staff everywhere onboard I found very pleasant. There are some nice Public spaces on board being 'Adults only' it made the Swimming Pools and Buffet areas a lot more civilized. Shops were a non event. Embarkation was the fastest ever Disembarkation was a bit slow, due to different messages from P&O Staff and Border Security. The Fishermans Grain Wharf at Brisbane is around a 25min cab ride to the Airport and cost $63 - we did not pull in at Hamilton which is about 10mins from the airport. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We flew to Sydney to join the ship, sailing a leg of it's World Cruise. The embarkation at Sydney was quick and smooth. Outside cabin D183 was okay. Average size, a bit faded glory - the bathroom was that 'old lady's ... Read More
We flew to Sydney to join the ship, sailing a leg of it's World Cruise. The embarkation at Sydney was quick and smooth. Outside cabin D183 was okay. Average size, a bit faded glory - the bathroom was that 'old lady's corset' pink colour. A bit tatty but clean and tidy. A big mirrored cabinet with plenty of room for toileteries, etc. Soap, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion provided. Lots of wardrobe space. Ask for extra clothes hangers if you need them. The staff were lovely. The entertainment was very mixed. Headliners group were excellent dancers although their singing was pretty bad. Some of the acts were outstanding. The comedian, I can't remember his name unfortunately, was brilliant and an unusual act called, would you believe, The Unusualist was great. Some of the other acts were quite poor. The Aurora Orchestra is fabulous, as is the band Caravan. Whoever was in charge of entertainment shouldn't be. The activities during the day were mostly aimed at the older people. There were ballroom dancing classes, and in the evening, ballroom dancing again in a nearly empty room. It would have been so easy to arrange for the band, Caravan to play some pop songs so people could have a bit of a bop instead of this formal dancing to CDs which hardly anyone attended. Everyone we spoke to complained about it. Most nights,we bought a drink and just sat out on the deck for want of something to do. Caravan were often playing to just a handful of people scattered around the huge Crow's Nest bar. It must be so demoralizing for them. There was a 1970's style 'disco' which started at 11.30pm in another big room. All dark with flashing lights and someone playing CDs. Always empty. I think they cancelled it eventually. Food. Again, okay. We often used the buffet and could always find something to eat. We had Freedom dining, too, and went to the restaurant a few times and again, it was okay. As good as mass catering can be. There was a very good Indian restaurant, The Sindhu. There was a supplementary charge of £16 per head. The Beach House, a cordoned -off part of the buffet, was also very nice. The charge for this was £7.50 each, although some of the items on the menu were up to £2.95 on top. We didn't use the Glass House which is a wine bar with bistro type food at £5 to £8 per item. The drinks in all the bars were a bit more than pub prices eg.£4.15 Carling lager and Magner's cider. I'm not sure I'd go on part of a world cruise again. There was a bit of snobbery from some of the people on the whole journey. We received a newsletter each evening telling us all the activities and about the port for the following day. It also stated the dress code for the next evening. (Black tie. Medals can be worn !) The launderette was a bit difficult at times with some of the 'all rounders' bagging their favourite washer or dryer. I found the best time to use it was 5.30pm onwards, when most people were getting ready for dinner and, presumably, polishing their medals..The place was always nearly empty then. A wash is 40 mins. So time to put the laundry in a washer then get showered and dressed. (I didn't sit and wait for it to be finished like some people did during the day) then put it in a dryer on my way to dinner. Pick it up any time before the launderette closes at 10pm. Sorted. There are three launderettes of varying size on decks 5, 9 and 11. All with washers, dryers and ironing facilities. You can buy washing tablets from reception or take your own. I think it's a great idea to have a free service like this. Many ships you have to pay or they don't have one at all. Ports. Sydney. Fab. if you've never been, go. New Zealand - Dunedin, Wellington, Tauranga and Auckland were all very nice, although it absolutely poured down. Akaroa was exceptionally lovely. NOTE - All the public phone boxes in NZ have free WiFi. Lautoka, Fiji. A shuttle bus took us into the town which was very poor and run down. Wish we'd booked an excursion. Apia, Samoa. Very hot. Quaint buildings, friendly people. Ran the gauntlet of taxi drivers who badgered us for ages. San Francisco. Lovely shops and places. Lots and lots of homeless people. Public transport great. Cable cars overpriced and not worth it. Pier 39 great. Sea lions smelly. Take a ferry to Sausilito which is very picturesque. All in all, a nice, medium sized ship with a tiered back and lots of deck space. Lovely wrap around promenade deck which is great. Bit shabby but clean. Food okay. Service good.I would sail on it again, providing someone sorts out the entertainment. Probably better on a short trip of one or two weeks on the Med in the Summer or the Caribbean in Winter time. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We sailed on a 24 night cruise from Sydney to Hong Kong and stayed in cabin E150. The cabin was spacious and had a slightly larger balcony than other deck cabins, as we were aft of the lifeboats. Cabin steward, Mitesh, was excellent and ... Read More
We sailed on a 24 night cruise from Sydney to Hong Kong and stayed in cabin E150. The cabin was spacious and had a slightly larger balcony than other deck cabins, as we were aft of the lifeboats. Cabin steward, Mitesh, was excellent and managed to clean our room most days without us even seeing him. Overall the cruise, entertainment and food were excellent and very good value for money. Although some passengers considered the decor slightly tired we thought it was fine but understand that the ship is due a refit in May. We did have to pay for wi-fi connection, which seemed a little penny pinching for what otherwise was great value. Very much enjoyed Chris Shaw, who was fab on the saxophone and also Iris Gonzales who tried very hard to teach us Spanish! Never short of things to do and had a very enjoyable and relaxing holiday. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
A family group of 6 booked 5 cabins for a quick getaway. Embarkation at Sydney was so quick due to a wonderful staff member giving us priority boarding. That is when our troubles with passengers started. A very angry man tried to accuse ... Read More
A family group of 6 booked 5 cabins for a quick getaway. Embarkation at Sydney was so quick due to a wonderful staff member giving us priority boarding. That is when our troubles with passengers started. A very angry man tried to accuse the younger ones of cutting in but thanks to lovely staff we tried to ignore them. The ship was nice but I was not impressed with such low ceilings and missed having a central atrium where it was nice to sit and relax with a great coffee. I found the rooms were a decent size but my carpets were very badly stained. We had fantastic dinner companions but I was quite upset by the stares from other passengers constantly. I know some had originally thought we were entertainers (due to the young girls having very bright coloured hair). Most meals were wonderful, my family's only wish was for crispy bacon of course being British they only served boiled bacon. I did enjoy the shows but found no real entertainment during the day, probably due to it only being the short sector. Our biggest concerns were the rudeness of the British passengers and comments that were made to the girls even though they were dressed quite appropriately. Most staff were excellent the only problems were the usual with new staff starting as the same day as us. Bar staff fantastic, reception staff need to be made more aware of Australian rules and regulations( in regards to immigration) as we kept being given different info in regards to our disembarkation in Brisbane. Coming from Brisbane myself I felt embarrassed about where we had to dock but the staff there were amazing. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
Having sailed with P&O before, and previously flying back to UK, as I live in Malaysia, I found this cruise perfect, only 8 hours from Malaysia to Sydney and at the end of the cruise in Singapore, just 1 hour flight home. As usual, ... Read More
Having sailed with P&O before, and previously flying back to UK, as I live in Malaysia, I found this cruise perfect, only 8 hours from Malaysia to Sydney and at the end of the cruise in Singapore, just 1 hour flight home. As usual, the staff, from Reception to Cabin Stewards, Bar Staff and Restaurant staff were fantastic. The Restaurant, Meridian offered a wide choice of menu and catered for all tastes. The Bars were well stocks with a great choice of beverage, knowledgeable staff and good prices. My Cabin was kept very tidy, I might say due to the good work of my Steward. Entertainment nightly in the Theatre was of a very good standard, and music to suit most tastes could be found in bars around the ship. Day time entertainment/activities were good and varied. Boarding the ship In Sydney, with a large number of British Cruisers on board and then joined by a large number of Austrlaian, the banter would always be good, and taken by almost all in good fun. There were a small number of people who joined in Sydney and left in Brisbane, who felt they could not follow the basic dress codes, trying to use the main restaurant at night dressed in shorts, an incident that I witnessed myself. But for the most part everyone enjoined each other's company. Excursions were in the main good, but Shanghai proved a little disappointing due in the main from the continual rain, and the delays following our sailing by the Chinese Port Authorities. Apart from that, another enjoyable cruise on Arcadia, with 2 more already booked. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We booked this section of the Arcadia's world trip in early 2015 as we were tempted by the stay in Sydney, the airline offered and the Great Barrier Reef. As an afterthought I consulted Cruise Critic and saw that many of the reviews ... Read More
We booked this section of the Arcadia's world trip in early 2015 as we were tempted by the stay in Sydney, the airline offered and the Great Barrier Reef. As an afterthought I consulted Cruise Critic and saw that many of the reviews commented on the "Arcadia Cough". Having just had a terrible time in Florida and New York with a cough and wheezing chest I tried to cancel the trip. Our travel agent refused to cancel and in the end we decided that we should risk it. Thank goodness for that! We loved the Arcadia and I can honestly say that I did not hear anyone coughing throughout the trip. The first night in the Meridian free dining restaurant was not a roaring success as I chose the tomato soup (It was nominated as a favourite of Arcadia passengers) which was worse than any tomato soup I had ever tried. I mentioned it to the waiter who passed on my comment to the restaurant manager who listened politely and said he would pass on my comments to the Chef. From that moment the food became better and better if I can forgive them for the Morton Bay Bug which they served on the first of two Formal nights. I always took breakfast in the Belvedere self-service restaurant which had a huge choice of hot and cold dishes. I would have liked some Indian-style dishes occasionally but that is nit-picking. My mother had her breakfast at 9.30 am in the cabin. Our cabin was a last minute allocation and it was designed for handicap access. It had the biggest bathroom (shower only) I have ever had in a cruise ship and an excellent balcony on the port side reasonably near the forward lifts on Egypt deck. The theatre, the Crow's Nest bar and the pub are all at the front of the ship. It was nice to be able to sit in various places on the ship without having to put up with cocktail pianists and loud singing duos which for me blighted such ships as the Victoria. It reminded me of the QM2 in its sound free zones. We loved the bridge classes and the daily duplicates run by Tony and Sheila Cordery and the mini-concerts in the Globe. but for the most part the theatre acts were forgettable. The entertainment team were great fun and never forgot that they were there for us - I have been on many ships where the Entertainment staff were very highhanded in their approach. We took private tours at all the ports of call and thought that Yorkey's Knob was the most enjoyable and worth another day because of the choice of excursions. Manila was an interesting port but there was very little to do other than shopping. The Queen Mary 2 is till our favourite ship but our Arcadian experience was extremely enjoyable Read Less
Sail Date: March 2016
Cruised from Sydney to San Franciso segment of a World Cruise. Mainly English and Aussies on board. No children on this ship. Entertainment was wonderful, the ballroom dancer instructors were the highlight of our sea days aboard the ... Read More
Cruised from Sydney to San Franciso segment of a World Cruise. Mainly English and Aussies on board. No children on this ship. Entertainment was wonderful, the ballroom dancer instructors were the highlight of our sea days aboard the Arcadia. Mainly retired people on board - I guess you need to be retired to have this much time available for a holiday! We met a couple who did a world cruise every year on the Arcadia, and they were just as excited each embarcation! A highlight of our trip was walking on the Great Wall of China; an amazing construction. We also visited Papua New Guinea, Manilla, Hong, Kong, Nagasaki and Osaka as well as 2 stops in Honolulu. We were extremely fortunate with good weather - we had rain on only one day. There was plenty to do on board and we met delightful people who we still email. Recommended! Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. If only we had done the research first! Our cruise from Sydney to Southampton started with a very long queue, despite having "priority" boarding as suite passengers. There was no ... Read More
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. If only we had done the research first! Our cruise from Sydney to Southampton started with a very long queue, despite having "priority" boarding as suite passengers. There was no "priority", we were queued up with everybody else, and was surprised at how many people had turned up earlier than their advised embarkation time. Not a huge problem and certainly not anything to spoil our cruise. When we finally arrived at our suite, we were welcomed by our very courteous and professional butler, and we were delighted with the Champagne, chocolates and bottled water in the fridge, not to mention the full set of White Company products in the bathroom. If we had found this website previously, we may not have been surprised at the size of the suite. As other passengers have already commented, it is not as big as expected and with the table and chairs being at the bottom of the bed, it can feel a little cramped. However, the balcony is huge, complete with sun loungers and a table and chairs. On our first night we met people who were doing the world cruise, and we heard many entertaining comments about the first half of the cruise. Tales of arguments and fights in the laundry, complete with people being "put off" due to their behaviour, was very amusing. During the cruise to Brisbane and Cairns we were very happy with our suite, however, we became aware that the engine noise during the evening did spoil the conversation with our fellow passengers at dinner, due to the noise of the engines. This turned out to be even worse during future the longer days at sea. More about this later in the cabin review. Positives about the cruise included the pre booked shore excursions, which we found reasonably priced and well organised; the gym was very well equipped; the staff were very polite and hard working, and the entertainment was overall very good. The negatives, we would have to include the disappointment with the tiredness of the suite, and arriving back from a shore excursion to find men moving equipment on our balcony prior to sailing through the Panama Canal. Lucky the previous forum passenger who was informed 2 days earlier and received complementary wine!! We didn't even get a phone call. However, we don't want this review to be a list of negative comments, because our only real gripe was the noise in the suite and the subsequent handling of the unresolved problem. Other passengers had been moved to different cabins, but apparently "there were no other cabins" for us. We were not asking for compensation of any sort, hence we refused the meal and wine, but we are left feeling very let down by P&O cruises, despite us spending a small fortune on a half world cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We joined the world cruise in Sydney with about 1000 others. It does seem a tad disappointing fore 'around the world' cruisers that they have so many fairly transient passengers with them. The standard of the food was excellent ... Read More
We joined the world cruise in Sydney with about 1000 others. It does seem a tad disappointing fore 'around the world' cruisers that they have so many fairly transient passengers with them. The standard of the food was excellent as was the service we received in the Meridaian restaurant. The cabin steward also provided excellent service. What was lacking ? Perhaps the Entertainment team was not able to galvanise the passengers to the extent that we have experienced on other world cruises. Another common problem is the lack of or even misinformation provided to dependent travellers for shore visits. Obviously P & O are very keen to push their own over-priced excursions. Another continuing disappointment is the expensive and unreliable wifi. Surely in 2016 Carnival can provide such a basic service as Wifi to all passengers and include it in the cruise price. They should also be able to provide a good quality coffee service - the Costa served in the coffee lounges is not the sane as you would get in a Costa anywhere in the world. But this is all nit-picking - we did have a fabulous time and appreciate the overall quality provided by P & O. Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
General: I took the cruise on the Arcadia 1-17 March 2016, Sydney-Brisbane-Yorkey’s Knob (Cairns)-Alotau (Papua New Guinea)-Manila-Hong Kong. The Arcadia caters largely for the over-65s, mainly British clientele, some of whom seem ... Read More
General: I took the cruise on the Arcadia 1-17 March 2016, Sydney-Brisbane-Yorkey’s Knob (Cairns)-Alotau (Papua New Guinea)-Manila-Hong Kong. The Arcadia caters largely for the over-65s, mainly British clientele, some of whom seem to spend most if not all the year cruising. Pricewise, the cruise is good value. Perhaps because of that, the ports of call were not particularly interesting and nor was the entertainment on board but if you want a relaxing time at sea, this ship will satisfy. Incidentally, I found Alotau one of the more interesting stops but I didn’t take any of the package shore excursions – I booked my own in advance through the local travel agent, Villink, located in the Alotau International Hotel. It was less touristy, the car was air-conditioned and I believe I learned more; and it was at a lower cost that the similar on-board shore excursion on offer. Don’t expect decent WiFi even if you are willing to pay the extortionate price charged for WiFi use on board – speeds are very slow, so at 50p a minute, best to wait to the next port of call to log-in. There were two safety alerts (a fire in an elevator; smoke from the incinerator) during the cruise. They were efficiently dealt with though I don’t understand why passengers were woken at 3.00 AM to tell them of the first alert (without further instructions or directions being given). Unless passengers are instructed to do something or to act in a particular manner (even it is only to stay in the cabin), I can’t see the purpose of ruining their sleep, causing panic (some passengers commented that they were concerned), or create unnecessary interest that might obstruct the crew (some passengers wanted to see what was happening). If this is an established safety procedure, it is a bad one and needs to be rethought. There is Sunday Christian worship and regular Christian Fellowship meetings take place. No other faiths are generally catered for though Jews do get to meet for the Jewish Sabbath. Observant Jews and Muslims need not apply (see ‘food’ below). The ship is generally well run, though I did get a sense of complacency, especially as regards the kitchens/restaurants. Overall, the ship is of the quality of a 3-star hotel but occasionally rises a notch higher. It needs to be said that most passengers were happy with the ship. Pros Friendly, efficient cabin stewards. Most staff are friendly and helpful. Dining options are adequate and cuisine quality acceptable, though not exceptional. Complaints do get actioned and rectified. P&O has been in the business a long time so knows what to expect – embarkation and disembarkation at ports of call are generally efficiently handled.. Good value for money overall (though some shore excursions are over-priced). Self-service laundry facilities are available on board (though cramped and insufficient for overall demand – be ready for some frayed tempers if you have not cleared your machine immediately after it has completed its cycle). There some nice, comfortable places to sit and while away the time looking out to sea, in particular the Crow’s Nest at the front of the ship. Cons Entertainment is basic and not generally high quality though there were some acts that were so good (e.g. Fogwell Flax) that the Palladium Theatre could not accommodate all demand. The films screened are basically DVDs (not in HD) and start times do not always accord with the printed schedule. The programme of talks is adequate and one or two even interesting but overall, worthy rather than stimulating. The scheduling was also not ideal as the talks frequently clashed with teatime etc. (see below). The talks had no relationship to the places being visited –e.g. on the history of Australia, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines, Hong Kong etc.. Of course, there is a Port Talk before each port of call but that is more about sights, shopping and shore excursions, with modest historic background. The food is generally unexceptional. The ship does not cater well (at all?) for people with special dietary needs For example, it was not uncommon for 50% of the eight main course dishes on offer to contain pig products in some form (of the 4 main course choices during one lunchtime, 3 had pig products in them); and no effort was made to keep such products separate either in preparation or presentation from other dishes. There was usually one vegetarian option (out of 8) for dinner in the Meridian dining room. It is easy enough to keep pig products separate from others, to use a different griddle for grilling pork from other meats etc. but no such effort is made. Although most of the clientele might be reliving the 1960s and 70s, there is no reason for P&O not to make an effort to accommodate the 21st century (see also comments on electrical sockets and wifi). Also there doesn’t seem to be any great effort to give a taste of the cuisine of the ports to be/just visited (other than Australia). For instance, Papua New Guinea produces cocoa, coffee, bananas, fish, sago, cassava, yams – none of these appeared on the menu. Of the two main restaurants, the Meridian provides a silver service dining experience. The food can be good but too often is below par (e.g. sometimes microwaved and, consequently, dry and unappetising dishes often served lukewarm). There is also an element of complacency evident in the preparation – e.g. a mass-produced tart base is used for too many dishes. One particularly egregious example was a ‘macaroon tart’ which was the offending tart base filled with something that tasted like ‘Angel Delight’ with half a macaroon biscuit shell on top. The same tart base (a typical mass-produced casing used for quiches, tarts and anything else that comes to mind) was used two days later for a rhubarb and apple crumble ‘tart’. Cooking for large throughput is not easy and complacency has to be guarded against. One thing about the Meridian – it opens very late for breakfast (07.30 when in port, 08.00 on other days). Bearing in mind the age of the ship’s clientele, elderly folk who have difficulty sleeping, this is far too late. Also, on port days one wants to disembark as early as possible. A start one hour earlier would be better. The Belvedere is self-service and gives too much the impression of a staff canteen, in choice of dishes, layout and even smell. The quality varies from mediocre to passable. Access to the food is also not always easy – try pouring the soup without spilling it! A few design and style changes could easily make it a lot more appealing. The smoothies on offer are far too sweet (like most things on board, at least for my taste) – not really smoothies as I know them. With so many elderly passengers, diabetes might be a problem that needs to be more widely addressed (it’s not just sufficient to offer the occasional diabetic pastry). The specialty restaurants (Ocean Grill, Sindhu) are both good but the menus are fixed for the duration of the voyage so a couple of visits will mean you’ve exhausted the dishes you want to eat (or that don’t appear elsewhere on the ship). I was a little surprised to find that the Sindhu did not use tablecloths. Tea time was very short, lasting 45 min so if you arrive late, expect to be rushed out. Scones were usually acceptable, though sometimes stale. Clotted cream was served, so full marks (in the Meridian only) for this. It was impossible to find a decent cup of coffee on board. There were 3 establishments claiming to serve Costa Coffee (admittedly, not the best of the international chains) but if they were representative of Costa Coffee generally, then it’s time for a change. Why can one not get a decent espresso or cappuccino elsewhere? The attempts at cappuccino in the main restaurant were more like coffee dregs soaked in warm water and then swamped with milk. The baristas need some proper training. I also object to the misleading WiFi sign appearing at these 3 establishments – there is no free WiFi on board and the WiFi in the Costa Coffee places is the same as that for the ship as a whole (and available only at great cost). Drinks – the price of on-board drinks is comparable to what can be found in the UK (outside central London). The duty and tax savings are, therefore, not passed on to the passengers. Although good hygiene is important, the anti-bacterial gel that was not only offered at the door but almost forced on diners entering the restaurants, made one feel rather like being at school or hospital ward (doubly unwelcome when one takes into account the average age of the passengers). More effective would be issuing facemasks to people with coughs and sneezes! It was all a bit too much. And the injunction to wipe down machines after use in the gym was usually obeyed by the passengers but often ignored by the staff themselves. The gym is an adequate size/ well-equipped considering the age of the passengers, but might become inadequate if the average age fell by say 10 years. Incidentally, the gym is open between 08.00-20.00 only. As there is little or no supervision in the gym, I don’t understand why opening hours are not extended (to, say, 07.00-21.00). The Library has a reasonable stock of classic and modern fiction but not much in the way of good non-fiction (a lot of books on birds and a big collection on, often outdated, travel guides. In some ways this is understandable in view of the cost of books these days). There is comfortable seating in the library itself but there could be more of it. Although the Arcadia’s ‘Helpful Information’ claims that cabins are equipped with British style electrical sockets, in fact there is only one such socket in the cabin and generally the ship has US-style sockets throughout. Adapters were supplied by Reception (after the deficiency was raised as a concern). The ship lacks also an adequate number of power points in public areas to meet the needs of the modern age, for charging phones, computers, tablets, cameras etc.. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
We chose this cruise mainly because of price and the itinerary. Our boarding was earlier than expected and as we entered the ship we were welcomed and advised that our cabin was ready. Our balcony cabin was spotless and our steward Stenley ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly because of price and the itinerary. Our boarding was earlier than expected and as we entered the ship we were welcomed and advised that our cabin was ready. Our balcony cabin was spotless and our steward Stenley was wonderful. The refit she in 2014 certainly made her look brand new. We chose Freedom Dining, so we ate mainly in the Medina or the upstairs Horizon Buffet. Since the ship introduced the Beach House for an evening option for an extra 5 Pound, only half of the hot servery was open to the Horizon diners. This caused queue's up to 40 feet long. This looked like just another way of raising another 5 quid out of people. Having said that , the food in the Beach House was magnificent. We did think the Horizon was very "canteen-ish" with not a huge variety from day to day. We had breakfast in the Medina at times, but were surprised they only offered our favourite "eggs benedict" on Mondays. Couldn't work that one out. We went to few shows in the Curzon and they were usually good. We joined in the "battle of the sexes " trivia on sea-days, which was good fun.The service was very good ,although some of the Medina waiters looked dis-interested. We must mention an episode that was really frustrating. Unless you asked for 'slow service', which we didn't realise you could, often we would still be eating our entree when others at the table were being served main course. We had heard that Captain Patrick Maguire was only filling in until Hong Kong at which time Captain Philpott would take over. When we couldn't enter the port of Shanghai because they had closed the port because of weather, we ,along with dozens of other vessels were forced to wait. I believe we were given times to pick up the pilot and enter only to have that withdrawn at the last minute. We therefore lost valuable time and were forced to cancel our Taiwan visit so we could be in Hong Kong on time.We completely understood the decision Captain Maguire had made and we realise reaching a port is never guaranteed. There were however passengers who believed we could have entered the port had he acted more proffesionally. We felt this was terribly unfair to him. Read Less
40 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
dreadful holiday.We have cruised with many companies and have travelled with P.& O nine times,3 times on this ship. NEVER book cabin A318 an outside cabin unless you are happy to have about 12 smokers sitting at a table at your ... Read More
dreadful holiday.We have cruised with many companies and have travelled with P.& O nine times,3 times on this ship. NEVER book cabin A318 an outside cabin unless you are happy to have about 12 smokers sitting at a table at your window.it starts at about 5am and continues through until after midnight. Tables and chairs being dragged outside and above you in the Pennant bar. Company is well aware of the problem but is happy to continue selling this cabin. We had to apply each night to be able to sleep in one of their emergency inside cabins. No compensation offered. The horizon restaurant is more like a works canteen. Poor choice of food and in the evenings only one hot food station is open and you can see queues of up to 40 people waiting. Reception staff are rude and disinterested. Travel itinerary was disrupted by poor weather resulting in the closure of the port of shanghai. As a result we entered shanghai 3 days late only to find we could not go ashore as the ship was now calling only to refuel. The news got worse:Taiwan was now cancelled. We were offered a free glass of house wine with dinner!!! We have lost $400 for the cost of the worthless chinese visas and were not offered any refund of port charges for the 2 ports cancelled. Everyone i spoke to on this ship(many of them repeat p&O passengers)said they will never go P&O again Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
On the positive side we enjoyed nearly all of the ports of call. Our main disappointment was with P&O and its declining levels of service. The Carnival corporation is making changes each time we travel with P&O, which is most ... Read More
On the positive side we enjoyed nearly all of the ports of call. Our main disappointment was with P&O and its declining levels of service. The Carnival corporation is making changes each time we travel with P&O, which is most years. These changes were originally minor, but the cut backs are now affecting the quality of service in noticeable ways. In particular the "silver service" is gone, no more choice of vegetables as plates arrive with all the food on the plate. Not too bad if you are used to small amounts of vegetables but a problem if you , like myself enjoy the vegetables more than the meat. Secondly the choice of vegetables was terrible, we ended up saying "if we see another carrot or piece of broccoli we will jump ship'. The other problem is that the turnover of passengers who have booked last minute deals is spoiling the world cruise experience. Most short hop passengers have been able to get very low cost deals which they enjoy sharing with those world cruisers that have paid full price. The number of so called cocktail parties have been greatly cut back as well, we only attended two in nearly nine weeks of travel, yet short hop passengers enjoyed just the same number. We were also unhappy with the pillows as there were no feather pillows available when we boarded in Sydney. Only when we complained and said we would be buying our own at the first port of call did two feather pillows appear. The bedding and towels were well worn and marked ,although it was stains rather than not being washed that was the problem. The cabin was a bit cramped and in need of a refurbishment. The staff are good but are terrified of getting bad feedback as it affects their tips. Without wishing to gone too long about other problems let's leave it here and say finally we will not be travelling P&O for a long time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
My wife and myself recently travelled on a sector of the world cruise on Arcadia. We joined the ship in Sydney on 21 February 2015 and disembarked in Hong Kong on 16 March 2015. When joining the ship in Sydney we were required to fill ... Read More
My wife and myself recently travelled on a sector of the world cruise on Arcadia. We joined the ship in Sydney on 21 February 2015 and disembarked in Hong Kong on 16 March 2015. When joining the ship in Sydney we were required to fill in a form stating our health was in good condition. How come we were required to do this when a fair few of the passengers already on the ship were suffering from chest infections and a persistent cough?. Naturally after a week or so at sea we also caught the bug. Actually one of the crew members advised that the only way to overcome this is to take plenty of vitamin C tablets. Maybe P & O should advise forthcoming passengers of this tip. It has taken us 2 weeks at home to get healthy again and that is after visits to our local Doctor. Apart from that the cruise was fairly good. The cabin was excellent as was the food. The Headliners were excellent and most of the other performers were good to average. The service from the crew was very good. We felt the Shore excursions were overpriced and definitely not value for money. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2014
Having previously cruised extensively with P&O we were very disappointed at the continual decline in what this company actually achieves whilst still promising a whole lot more. Every previous passenger without exception agreed that ... Read More
Having previously cruised extensively with P&O we were very disappointed at the continual decline in what this company actually achieves whilst still promising a whole lot more. Every previous passenger without exception agreed that P&O cut back on what they were offering or were now charging for what was previously a given. A little for instance, they still serve petit fours after a meal but they're not worth the time even eating, so poor is the offering. The food is at best adequate, nothing at all outstanding, the meat is fatty the fish dry and the veggies laughable. Many of the crew and officers have been quite candid in agreeing that standards and quality has diminished, unfortunately the price hasn't !!! It's as if a smart Alec accountant has been through the ship and cut out or down any of the signature attractions P&O once had. This is not a cruise line that I would recommend to anyone expecting the "P&O ' experience, it's at best a 3 star offering, being promoted as a something more. The captain and the cruise Director both invited comment before we all left to comment on Cruise critic but the fact is neither is really interested or able to do anything positive. It's all a big sell. The cruise director was thought by many to be somewhat churlish in his attitude, which I am in full agreement with. Unfortunately he also thought he should treat the passengers like children too. My comment ?? Wake up P&O and start delivering what you are promising Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2014
Please watch out for upgrade. The cabin we had chosen suited us but we were upgraded without our consent. The cabins that are avoided by the informed include the noisiest. From joggers allowed from 4 am jumping on the roof to parties ... Read More
Please watch out for upgrade. The cabin we had chosen suited us but we were upgraded without our consent. The cabins that are avoided by the informed include the noisiest. From joggers allowed from 4 am jumping on the roof to parties raising the roof till midnight just outside the door is not conducive to sleep. It was hell for us for the thirty nights aboard. Not much use complaining because the staff from the top down live on another planet. Those who think the food is good do not know what fresh fruit and vegetables are. The room steward seemed to be the only person who knew about cleanliness. The Orangery staff wafted around grabbing plates before one was finished the excuse for food served. In the dining room the waiters did not use handkerchiefs etc. but the back of hands or sleeves which was a little off putting. There was always staff standing around doing little. On other ships the cleaning was much more thorough with stairs being cleaned regularly. The entertainment was limited, repetitive and not always interesting. We learnt our lesson and will head back to Princess or Cunard and leave the UK P&O to those who know no better. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2014
We had never travelled with this line before but as this cruise from Sydney to Southampton through the Suez was on our bucket list, we packed our formal wear and headed off to Sydney to join our ship Arcadia. Embarkation We had an easy ... Read More
We had never travelled with this line before but as this cruise from Sydney to Southampton through the Suez was on our bucket list, we packed our formal wear and headed off to Sydney to join our ship Arcadia. Embarkation We had an easy boarding as we arrived mid afternoon and were on board and into our cabin C129 by 3pm. Our Cabin It was called a midships Deluxe Balcony with Bath/Shower and was clean, muted colours with good size balcony, a very comfortable bed, with a sofa and chair and desk with fridge. The bathroom was small but had a bath. We had plenty of hanging room but few drawers for storage and a safe, the tiniest one we have ever seen. Very narrow passage between bathroom and wardrobes made passing each other difficult if the doors were both open. Good wide screen TV on the wall but as we learnt the rotation of shows was abysmal and repetetive. Plenty of storage room for cases under the beds, poor lighting for reading in bed and for donning makeup at the desk, but better in the bathroom. We had problems with our shower, with no really hot water for the first few days, but this was resolved when we spoke to our cabin attendant. We also had problems with the aircon being too warm and this again was resolved by the ships engineers after reporting it. Our first cabin attendant was rude and unfriendly and only interested in tips (they were his first words to us, how to take the tips off and then just give it to him and when we said we wouldnt virtually ignored the rest of the cruise). However, he kept the cabin clean. Our new Cabin Attendant from Mumbai onwards was fantastic. The Ship Arcadia has a very different layout to other ships we have been on and so this made finding things a little difficult at first, but we found it very well set out with lots of lovely quiet places to sit and read, or chat especially when the weather was cooler. The only complaint was the pool decks that had limited shade and no sun beds in a shady spot for those who dont like being in the sun. Both pools were well used and the Solarium pool with the closing roof was lovely. Unfortunately, the area where pool lounges are on most ships, along the shady sides under cover are taken up on Arcadia with tables and chairs. However, as we are not sun bunnies we didnt find hard to endure as it was lovely to sit outside and eat breakfast and lunch. Sea Day Activities This is an area where this ship absolutely excels. We both thought the range and types of activites wonderfully varied and interesting. We could line, tap or ballroom dance our way across the world, play bingo, go to many varieties of quizzes, (music, geography, progressive, sport, Battle of the Sexes) table tennis, golf putting, tennis, deck quoits, interactive bowling, bridge classes and playing, whist, Spanish classes, knit and natter groups, art and craft lessons, ipad and digital camera classes, pilates, yoga, walk a mile, stretch classes, port talks, spa and fitness classes and talks,classical concerts, Arcadia vocalists and lots of music from various groups throughout the ship in the evening as well as Radio Arcadia run by DJ Martin, who ran music comps and played requests from late afternoon till late. Guest Speakers We had wonderful guest speakers on board. Terry Brown an ex-detective who gave some very interesting and entertaining talks on interviewing techniques, as a prelude for running a 3 say Murder Mystery where there were 12 suspects and the audience was divided into 20 or so groups as the detectives and they had to work out the who, how and whys. Dale Templar, from Human Planet, was a fabulous speaker giving insights into the filming and the photographers for this wonderful series, using film clips and amusing anecdotes. Tony Davies, a retired Squadron Leader in the RAF also provided some very interesting insights into the Vulcans and the Red Arrows acrobatic flying team. John Lyons, who played George from Taste of Frost, was a fantastic speaker giving 3 wonderful talks on his life and then about the series and the pranks that were played over the 17 years of the series with footage and out takes making it very funny. Nick Slope spoke of Ships and Captains, Bligh and Nelson, Nelsons women, then the Battles of the Somme, Jutland, and Gallipolli, all very interesting. Paul from the Amethyst duo also did some wonderful talks and guitar playing in his talks on the History of the Guitar. Entertainment Again, we thought this ship excelled in this area. We had a new Cruise Director, Dom Hones on board from Auckland, and everyone said how the ship had a different feel. We was a magnificent CD excuding energy and inspiring his wonderful Entertainment Team, all of whom were friendly, relaxed, chatty and personable and some of the best Entertainment crew we have ever had at sea. The Headliners theatre group, especially the dancers, were excellent and their Destination Dance and Killer Queen shows were magnificent. The Singers were great some nights and not so great others. But they energetically danced and sang their way through 12 productions as we saw about 3 shows a week, including Reel to Reel, Night of a Thousand Stars, and Another Show, Another Opening. Other night time entertainment included Matthew McGurk a wonderful magician, Brian Conley, a celebrity entertainer and comedian, who was very funny, David Kidd, a Tom Jones impersonator, Kenny Martyn, a multi intrumentalist, Zoe Tyler, a fabulous vocalist, Gareth Oliver, ventriloquist extraordinaire, Eliot Pace, a great pianist and singer, Tim O'Connor a celebrity comedian, Pam Ayers,and Marti Webb, a West End vocalist. The bands on board were mixed, and there was no music between 5.30 -6.30 for those of us on Freedom dining, only Radio Arcadia, so we tended to have a pre dinner drink in our rooms instead of visiting a bar!! Our favourite band was Inspiration, but the Sunshine Band we thought was boring. Amethyst Duo were good, but the piano playing by Clare Saunders was excruciating. The Passenger Talent and Crew Talent shows were also very good. Sailaway Parties and Deck Parties Having never experienced these before we didnt know what to expect. Well, we certainly never missed one after our first, as they were so much fun. We sang and danced and enjoyed a good variety of music led by Dom and his crew, and we experienced the GREAT BRITISH SAILAWAY only once, in Lisbon when the traditional English songs were on show. We just loved these and from Melbourne onwards these were the joyous farewells to some wonderful ports and set the scene for a happy and relaxed cruise. Restaurants Meridian- Freedom Dining. We had never done this before and really enjoyed the experience of meeting new people every night and being able to dine when we wanted. We would ask Rajeev for a 2/4/6 and he would seat us accordingly to what he had available. We only had to wait for 10 minutes one night to be seated at a table for 2, but we were more than happy with that. It seems the most popular times for eating were 6pm so if you avoided that time, you could easily get a good table. We found service was mostly excellent with some off nights, but that happens everywhere. Dinner menus were repeated but there was enough choice that you did not have to eat the same thing. Thought lack of ice cream other than at dinner poor and dessert choices bland. Breakfasts in Meridian were terriific, with the daily specials of Kedgeree on Wednesdays and Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon on Sundays very much looked forward to by us and many others. It was a nice change to have a quiet table for 2 at breakfast without any problems. Otherwise we had room service breakfasts, but these got very monotonous and we would resort to going up to the Belvedere Buffet restaurant and getting our choices and bringing them down to the cabin to eat. We did have breakfast in the Belvedere when we wanted hot breakfast and on port days and choices were good. We found the set up of the Belvedere compared to other buffets at sea rather old fashioned and slow. Their Indian and Thai buffets were excellent and well attended. Deck BBQ's and Pool Deck BBQ had a great choice of food and we enjoyed these very much. Ocean Grill, we enjoyed several times and apart from one long wait for starters one night, was always delicious, with a good choice of mains, starters and desserts (though the size of desserts made wastage a big problem) and service impeccable. East, the Asian fusion restaurant was our favourite and we also visited here several nights. Views over the sea were lovely, the food absolutely delicious and spicey if you wanted it, and the service very good. We noticed sometimes the sauces were overly salted and for our no added salt palates, very hard to like. We thought this was better priced as it was all inclusive for food, whereas, Ocean Grill charges for extras, ie for a prawn with your surf and turf 6 pound!! Shore Excursions We mainly arrange these ourselves, but as our ports in Egypt were cancelled and we had Salalah, Oman and Aqaba, Jordan added, we signed up for ships tours. These ports were excellent and we enjoyed both tours, especially the tour to Petra which included a fabulous lunch. The other port where we had a ships tour was Lisbon, where we opted for the tour to Obidos, which was a gem and we thought the prices were about what other cruise lines ask, so were happy with the pricing. In Malta, after the port talk, we went to the Excursions Desk to talk to Dan, who comes from Malta and he was able to set us up with a private driver and for 8 hours for 4 people at a very reasonable cost, and we had a fantastic day there, seeing many things lots of others couldnt using the Hop On Hop Off buses. The crossing of the Suez Canal was a real highlight for us and we had the experience of the Excursion Team leader pointing out things of interest along the way. This also happened in Lisbon as we sailed up the river. Oasis Spa Several offers were made during our voyage, some better than others, but a haircut was 20 pound plus tip and a session in the hydrotherapy pool and sauna was was 10 pounds per session, but a special of 150 pound for the whole cruise was offered at the beginning of each sector and lots of people used this offer. Other offers included Lime and Ginger body scrub 79 pd save 30 pd and 3 in one offers at varying prices. Dress Codes There are 3, formal, jacket required and casual. We had anticipated this and enjoyed dressing up but it began to pall by the end of 6 1/2 weeks. You were not allowed to wear shorts even into the buffet at night, with several men being informed it was not appropriate dress. Even in the bars, you could not enter unless you followed the dress code of the day. We could see that this is to maintain a standard of dress, but thought it was a bit over the top in the buffet. Overall Impressions We honestly loved this ship, from her Captain, Aseem Hashmi, with his informative and amusing midday talks and updates, to the wonderful crew who looked after us so well, the Entertainment team who made it such fun, the wonderful people who joined us on tours, for drinks, dinners and quizzes, and our wonderful ports of call, it was an amazing voyage, one we will never forget and one we will repeat in the future. Thank you Arcadia for making the whole experience so delightful.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2014
The wife and I are in our late 60's and have been travelling internationally, and extensively, for the past 35 years, but we'd never been on a cruise before. We chose this cruise to Singapore for a "toe in the water" ... Read More
The wife and I are in our late 60's and have been travelling internationally, and extensively, for the past 35 years, but we'd never been on a cruise before. We chose this cruise to Singapore for a "toe in the water" experience (pun intended). We specifically chose Arcadia because of its medium size and adults only status. Boarding the ship at Circular Quay could not have been easier. Our car dropped us and our luggage off just a few metres from the entrance and we ran the usual gauntlet of customs and immigration officials, and P&O staff very quickly. So quick indeed that there was no chance of our luggage reaching our cabin before we did. We did a quick tour of the ship and then adjourned for lunch at the Belvedere. Our deluxe balcony cabin was midships on A deck. The cabin was very comfortable with huge storage space. Décor was uninspiring though. There was a large flat panel tv but the quality and variety of programs was poor. Anyway, who wants to watch tv when there's so much else to do? Our only real complaint about the cabin was that the balcony was often unusable because of the smell of cigarette smoke blowing in from adjacent and nearby cabins. We were staggered to learn that P&O still allows smoking in cabins and on balconies, its time they caught up with the rest of the civilised world. The gym facilities were very good and the instructors could not have been more helpful. Unfortunately, the gym was located directly above the Captain's quarters and he had issued an edict that the gym was not to open before 8:00am. Not that we are fitness fanatics, but we do like to exercise at around 6:30am and retire to breakfast at 8:00am or thereabouts. Our dining experience was very good. Most of our breakfasts and lunches were at the Belvedere and there was a wide range of foods to eat. We had chosen Freedom dining for dinners at the Meridian restaurant, and we usually contrived to come in half an hour after the fixed time sittings to ensure we got seated at a large table, to meet new and interesting people. The table service was excellent. We also used the Ocean Grill where the quality of food was raised a couple of notches and service continued to be excellent. The restaurant was half empty which was a shame. We guess people are put off by the GBP12.50 a head cover charge. Worth every penny we said. Entertainment was terrific. The shows at the Palladium were varied and fun. We had the wonderful Pam Ayres one night, truly a highlight. The entertainment may not have worked so well for us had it not been for the Cruise Director, Dom Hones. He was outstanding; he had the gift of being able to get us elderly folk up and jumping around like the teenagers we once were. There was a guitarist, Paul, who gave us a bit of guitar history at the Rising Sun pub. The first time we saw him he played a rousing version of Jimi Hendrix's "Hey Joe" - not what we expected on this cruise! One regret we had was not taking formal evening wear. Friends had advised us that it was not necessary but that was based on their experience with Australian based ships. The dress code was politely but strictly enforced and we had no objection to that. Crew service levels were mostly very good. Our cabin steward was very efficient and helpful. We particularly enjoyed the Captain's midday report and his take on the origins of many common words or phrases. We did not take any shore excursions because we had arrangements with family and friends in Melbourne, Fremantle and Bali. We did not use the ship's internet facilities or casino either. So, overall, how do we rate our first-time cruise? The word is "Excellent" - we ate well, slept well and relaxed completely. There is little doubt that the passenger demographic resembled a large retirement community, with about 1,200 Brits and 700 Aussies making up 95% or so of the total number of passengers. We were surprised to see many wheelchairs, mopeds, walking frames, oxygen tanks, walking sticks, etc and we congratulate all those frail and infirm folk for getting on with life and having the courage to take a cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
Never having cruised before we decided on a very short mini cruise on Arcadia,during its world cruise. We flew to Sydney from our home in Melbourne and spent 2 nights at the 1888 Hotel in Darling Harbour.On the day of our cruise we had a ... Read More
Never having cruised before we decided on a very short mini cruise on Arcadia,during its world cruise. We flew to Sydney from our home in Melbourne and spent 2 nights at the 1888 Hotel in Darling Harbour.On the day of our cruise we had a later checkout and then walked with our small amount of luggage around to Circular Quay. Embarkation was easy and we were soon in our cabin. We had a balcony cabin on C Deck,which was a handicapped cabin and therefore quite large and well appointed. Straight off to a lovely afternoon tea in the Belvedere. Our first night was casual and we dined in the Meridian restaurant after having a cocktail in the Crowsnest Bar with a stunning view of Sydney in the background. We were doing freedomdining and at each meal we were placed with really nice fellow passengers. The quality of the meals was generally very good and the waiting staff were very attentive. You have to be careful not to over indulge despite the temptations. We had a retired policeman give a lecture on our day at sea and he was extremely entertaining despite the ship newsletter describing it in what could be fairly boring terms as a lecture on police interview techniques! I also went to a beginners art class but the price for materials was 20 pounds and not worth it for only one day. In the evening we had a show with the ships revue and a violinist and this was OK. All to soon our cruise was over and we had to disembark which was troublefree. Our cruise has given us a taste for this type of holiday and a mini cruise and is a good way to give it a try. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2013
We went on the J301 cruise from Southampton to Brisbane the dream cruise for retirement that turned into a nightmare I would conservatively say 80% of the people on the ship were sick at some time with type 1 and 2 flu found on the ship ... Read More
We went on the J301 cruise from Southampton to Brisbane the dream cruise for retirement that turned into a nightmare I would conservatively say 80% of the people on the ship were sick at some time with type 1 and 2 flu found on the ship as well as the famed Arcadia cough which we found was no myth I boarded the ship healthy and during the 52 days of the cruise have never taken so many medicines in 70 years Nora virus ironical was no problem the ship were meticulous and the threat was well handled in fact the hotel department of the ship, food cabins (State Rooms if American) were very good both Pursers we had excellent However a ships mood is set by the personality of the Captain and the Cruise Director Captain number 1 to Montevideo bland but functional Captain number 2 in my opinion short changed the clients in many ways totally none commutative we all felt she thought we were lucky to be on her ship -- however she was not too burdened with a personality The Cruise Director had much the same attitude only she was so full of self importance with constant references to "my Staaaaf" and my DJ my, Technical team" and so on I think there was a problem with understanding of who paid the wages and the cruise was for the benefit of the passengers The main complaint the limitary slashed to endless sea days 4 ports taken out 1 put back -- I have paper work to say in port in Easter Island and Pitcairn We sailed by with no effort to point out the land marks or sail around the Islands as other cruises do In fact the cruise DJ when we were 10 minutes from Easter Island made fun of the Bridge "maybe some one will tell us what id happening soon" his comments Valparaiso was a disaster the ships Captain wanted us all back on board for a boat drill at 5pm although we were scheduled to sail until 9pm The monthly refresher could have been done any time cutting the on shore activity down tremendously I could wax on whinging like the 600 Auses we had on the ship with other points -- however I think you can see why the passenger moral was low Never again with Arcadia P&O yes but I will be looking who the Captain and cruise director is before booking many Australians will never cruise P&O again Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2012
We embarked Arcadia on 9 March, 2012 in Sydney, enroute to Southampton on 27 April. Embarkation was easy, staff receptive. NOTE: 10 of my previous cruises have been on Princess ships. We got a very good deal from our agent $100 per day ... Read More
We embarked Arcadia on 9 March, 2012 in Sydney, enroute to Southampton on 27 April. Embarkation was easy, staff receptive. NOTE: 10 of my previous cruises have been on Princess ships. We got a very good deal from our agent $100 per day pp. Our cabin was NA grade, obstructed view on E deck, what we paid for and what we got, nothing special about he cabin, lifeboat outside window. Bed a little hard, good shower and bath, small TV, but no real complaints about cabin. Steward very good. I am a Coeliac - Gluten Free and on most occasions I got the correct advice from staff re GF food. The food on board was adequate in both Food Court and in MDR. We took second sitting. Food service was very good. Food Court layout very good, not much congestion due to seperate areas for different food. The mainly Indian staff on board were very good. Entertainment reasonable, Headliners singers/dancers very good. Bands on board good. Sophistication Duo in particular, we became their fans, even buying a CD. Drinks on board very reasonable prices and you could buy liquor from ship's shop and consume it in your cabin, plus no restriction on what you brought on board. Excellent ! Condition of furnishings on ship a little tardy, overdue for refurbish. Now the VIRUS and HYGEINE, like many others on board I contracted the dreaded Arcadia Virus after leaving Singapore, various symptoms, coughing, high temperature, just felt like dying. etc. Went to Ships Doctor, confined to cabin for 4 days. Even the Doctor remarked the hygeine standards of many pax on board were not good, leading to spread of the virus. I noted also lack of cleaning in toilets and handrails, which you see a lot of on Princess. Ports were good, missed Seychelles due to Pirates and St Helena because of seas, such is life. We did ships shorex not private tours. We did a walk off in Southampton, off the ship at 0745. Would I travel on P&O UK again? probably not due to HYGEINE standards. Also TOO MANY Formal nights for me ! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
Hi all This was cruise 29 and we watched Arcadia steam on time into her berth at Circular Quay Sydney from our apartment across the water. Boarding was efficiently handled and we were on-board and settled by midday. Arcadia is ... Read More
Hi all This was cruise 29 and we watched Arcadia steam on time into her berth at Circular Quay Sydney from our apartment across the water. Boarding was efficiently handled and we were on-board and settled by midday. Arcadia is exactly as we remembered from this time last year (except see below about passengers) with elegant decor, mostly good public rooms and on the whole good staff. Many of the Indian Staff including those on the Pursers desk did seem to struggle with understanding english and the main restaurant staff need better supervision to tighten up service delivery. We had taken two cushions from home as we remembered from last year that the sofa in the cabin is not designed for comfort (if you have a ramrod straight back you would be fine). With our cushions in place it perfect. Our balcony cabin was fine and well fitted out. We both loved the tea and coffee tray with a kettle and mugs. A great idea as we could make a cup of tea first thing in the morning without having to wait for room service. There have been lots of reviews about the "kettle and tea tray" taking up a lot of space - 2 simple solutions - either get your room steward to remove said tray from cabin or stick it in the cupboard under the desk it is on where there is plenty of room. Sadly the flat screen TV is very small and made watching TV somewhat hard on the eyes - P & O - spend some dollars and trade in the TVs for larger ones! The cabin interior was spotless but the floor of the balcony was not and remained very dirty until we grumbled after the fifth day. Apparently the cabin steward is only responsible for cleaning inside and not out on the balcony? We both enjoyed the ship, the decor, the bars and the service however being midway through her annual three month world cruise both of us felt we were the youngest on-board (our ages 50 and 56!). Also most of the elderly passengers did not want to speak. One of the joys of cruising is the way (usually) people start to chat to you - this was not very evident last week. Maybe it was a combination of the age ( in some cases great age) and very British reserve of many passengers but this did make this 7 day sector a lot less enjoyable for the two of us. Last year from Auckland to Sydney the age difference was not so obvious however neither of us will consider a P&O UK World Cruise sector again for at least 10 years! We are quite sure that the ship would be fabulous if you are sailing out of Southampton on a 10 night med jaunt with a much younger crowd on board. To Finish - the food was good in the dining room. The pay a surcharge Specialty restaurant was ok but did not dazzle. The Buffet is very limited although they do try at night with different themed dinners. The drinks menu is squarely aimed at the British passenger (Gin and Tonics, Pimms NO1 etc) although we loved the bar and wine list prices! Amazingly cheap and no 15% added gratuity Now onto cruise number 30 Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
This cruise had all the ticks for making our 25th wedding anniversary great and it did, except for the very below standard food which was a major disappointment to us and many other friends we made on this cruise. At most ports we treated ... Read More
This cruise had all the ticks for making our 25th wedding anniversary great and it did, except for the very below standard food which was a major disappointment to us and many other friends we made on this cruise. At most ports we treated ourselves to a fantastic meal rather than being disappointed by the awful food on the Oriana especially in the Conservatory. Very few of our choices in the main dining room were up to expectations. We tried different dishes when the menu was repeated for the second sector from San Francisco to Southampton but still we were disappointed. But then again, this is our opinion. The ports of call were very good and some we enjoyed more than others especially Honolulu and San Francisco. The highlight of the cruise for us was the transverse of the Panama Canal, which was a whole day event and it was amazing. The ship in itself is very classically styled and well looked after by the crew who were forever scraping down the rust and painting. We made some very lovely friendships through the cc's meetings and our dining table companions. The entertainment left a lot to be desired unless you liked UK comedy which at times can be very boring. The Headliners (the ship's dance/singing group) were excellent and did a very good show of Freddie Mercury's songs amongst other performances. All the others were OK. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
Overall we 'quite' enjoyed the cruise, but it has to go down as one of our least successful. I'll get the problems out of the way first before giving an overview of the cruise ship. Some of the problems on this cruise were ... Read More
Overall we 'quite' enjoyed the cruise, but it has to go down as one of our least successful. I'll get the problems out of the way first before giving an overview of the cruise ship. Some of the problems on this cruise were caused by events in a previous sector, namely a major drug bust of 4 passengers carrying cocaine who were arrested in San Fransisco and Sydney, before we boarded. (Serious enough to have been reported on Sky News.)However, the result of these events meant that we were a marked ship, subject to the most rigorous screening (full cabin searches, dog sniffing and additional baggage and personal searches especially in remaining Autralian ports and in Bali. Bad luck for anybody carrying small amounts of recreational stuff for own use!)The worst aspect was that we were unable to visit Yorkey's Knob, from where we had hoped to visit the Great Barrier Reef after 30+ years of trying. This was because the Australian authorities decided that Yorkey's Knob didn't have adequate screening for such a dodgy ship, so we would have to be screened at Cairns - but our anchorage position remained the same, and it would have taken hours to tender all 2000 passengers and crew up to Cairns. So Captain decided not worth it at all - we wouldn't have got the the GBR that day. So that was the first disappointment. But there were other difficulties, including a taxi blockade in Bali preventing P&O shuttle buses leaving the pier (so going nowhere)coupled with the pontoon on the pier getting damaged by waves, so preventing tender boats coming to pick up stranded passengers. (Many of whom spent the whole day in a bar off the pier who must have thought it was Christmas birthday and anniversary all come at once.) The Bali authorities appeared to be unable to mend the damaged pontoon, such that engineers from Aurora were despatched to do the job. This took until about 3pm, by which time tours buses that had got through before the taxi blockade were returning. We got to the pier around 5.30 after our tour, to face a 2 and a half hour queue. Medics from the ship had been brought over to identify any urgent medical cases to get priority. Aurora finally left Bali several hours late, with some very disgruntled people (also some very drunk ones). The other 'external' cause of passenger fury was that local tender boats were used as well as ship's tenders in Koh Samui, and the one we were on had a completely incompetent crew incapable of tying up to the Aurora, so passengers sat or stood on open decks in 39 degree temperature stewing while senior P&O officers were sent down to sort things out. Being overheated temperature-wise certainly raised the emotional temperature too.On the ship itself, the only significant problem was the continuous dripping from the air conditioning. The sight of buckets everywhere, and dehumidifiers to dry out soaking carpets, became the butt of continuous jokes both by the entertainers on the ship and the passengers. The staff did what they could, but it was not an edifying sight. It has to be said the weather was very hot and humid for most of this sector. So having got the problems out of the way, how did I rate Aurora? We liked it / P&O a whole lot better than Cunard, which we also experienced this year. Drinks and excursions half the price, so less feeling of being ripped off. Most staff very good, especially cabin and dining room service. Loved the spa, and the gym (though gym far too small given the number of people attending classes), the pools were nice. Library was quite good, there was plenty of public area space, reasonably well kept (ignoring drips). There were some quite good enhancement offerings like art clubs, photo clubs and dance lessons. The theatre was quite nice but too small to accommodate half the passengers (i.e. all of first or second sitting) - which might not have been a problem had there been any alternative entertainment while the show was on. But most nights at 8.30 everything else shut down, so if you weren't having dinner and didn't want to watch the show (or couldn't get in) there was absolutely nothing to do, not even live music in a bar - oh, and the occasional quiz, which is fine if you watch TV a lot and can answer those type of questions. The standard of the food was mostly pretty good (much the same as Cunard, not as good as on the smaller luxury ships). However, the alternative dining venues were a disappointment. Marco Pierre White would not want his name put to what is served in his name in the Cafe Bordeaux. It was 'OK' but much the same as in the Alexandria / Medina restaurants. Te Pennant Grill was maybe slightly better but the heat and humidity made it a less than enjoyable experience up there. Overall, I think most passengers would have had a good time, there are a lot of very loyal P&O passengers. But for us, it confirmed what we thought after our Cunard cruise: we never want to go on such a big ship again. Having a large number of tender ports (over half) plus being forced to moor in big industrial docks well away from city / towns centres, requiring some long shuttle buses rides, the continual queuing for one thing or another, and fixed seating / timing in restaurants - not for us. We also would never go on a sector of a world cruise again.Too few ports and too many sea days, and a different atmosphere with some passengers doing the whole world cruise and the rest continually changing. I like embarking with everyone else (preferably fewer than 400 people) ans sharing the whole cruise in common with them. I did meet some nice people, and would not try to deter anyone from taking a P&O cruise. I just know I won't be doing it again. The itinerary wasn't that great either, once we'd lost Yorkey's Knob for the Great Barrier Reef. I haven't been able to rate all the ports because several are not on the list, and probably for good reason. The last few ports were very repetitive - basically the main attraction was the beach, which when it is really hot is maybe not where you want to spend hour after hour. Read Less
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