Like a floating nursing home most of the day & a ghost ship after 11.30!
Would never sail with P&O again. You would have to be content with very poor standards to enjoy this ship.
Travel operator: Imagine cruising
Arcadia is a quiet, comfortable ship...like an old armchair (though a little tatty in places).
Overall, the dining experience was good (Belvedere excluded).
Entertainment; this particular Headliners Company were exceptional.
Some wonderful ports of call Alotau, San Francisco, Napier, Nha Trang, Singapore.
No fighting for deck chairs on Arcadia...acres of space.
Service was uniformly excellent throughout.
Dance hosts Brenda & Jeffrey converted many non-dancers. Superb.
Quiet ship, everyone in bed early…little to do after the theatre show.
No meaningful second entertainment / cabaret venue.
Due to the above, the ship was quiet from 9.30pm (i.e. post theatre).
Areas of the ship smelled foul throughout the 12 week cruise. (Mid-ships next to the shops).
Excessive use of smoke effect (mist) in the theatre. Universally slated by the viewing public.
The ship needs an overhaul not just an engine refit. Extremely dated.
Too many quizzes, day and night. Cheap and cheerful? No, just cheap!
If we want a quiz we go to our local. Not what we hoped for on a world tour.
The Meridian Restaurant delivered a good (not great) selection of food served warm (rarely if ever hot). The levels of service were influenced by variables such as the waiting team, distance of your table from the galley, dramas in the kitchen etc. Comparable with banquet catering served at say, a family wedding rather than a fine dining experience. None the less, the Meridian (main dining room) would score 4/5.
The Belvedere buffet was another story. The choice, quality and presentation of food was mediocre to poor. Even by P&O's moderate standards this 'restaurant' left a lot to be desired. With the possible exception of Curry Night, this place should be avoided if possible. Score 2/5. Hence the overall dining score of 3/5.
Sindhu, P&O's Asian fine dining restaurant seemed to attract mixed views; rather like Marmite! We don't like Marmite so 2/5. The Ocean Grill (by day the ship's officers mess, by night Marco Pierre White's fine dining experience) was incredibly popular, with generally good to excellent reviews. Whether this popularity was due to the need to utilise the copious on-board spending money to be found on a World Cruise or, truly reflected the quality of food and service on offer might be debated. In our opinion, it is not as good as say The Epicurean Restaurant on Azura/Ventura where the extra charge is double that for The Ocean Grill. None the less, in terms of food quality, service and value for money it rates 4/5.
Room Service was generally good to excellent. Of course it was somewhat limited in choice when compared to the restaurant however it was cooked to order, often hot and for the most part, delivered on time. Please note, some items were chargeable. In our experience, this is probably the only way to get warmish toast on board. 4/5.
Cafe Vivo, tucked away in the dark, no doubt as an afterthought of the ship's architect; was illuminated by excellent staff who brought sunshine to it's customers. Much too small and poorly positioned. 4/5.
P&O offers a largely British cruising experience. None the less, on this a World cruise, the passenger profile was truly mixed and included Brits, Australians, New Zealanders, Americans, amongst many others.
Given the above passenger profile, the entertainment was not surprisingly geared towards British Commonwealth tastes.
It is not so long since P&O Cruise Directors proudly introduced their entertainment team of sixteen staff. On this cruise (a world cruise) the now Entertainment Manager introduced his team of six. A sign of the times?
Headliners Theatre personnel were excellent on this cruise. From memory, they presented nine different shows all of which we had seen on previous cruises; these were repeating for the third time during our 82 days on board Arcadia. Some might call this repetitive.
Guest entertainers (the usual suspects) were largely flown out to join the ship and varied in standard. For example, an “alternative comedian" who normally performs in a late night show lounge / night club venues on Arcadia’s sister ships found himself starring at Arcadia's theatre. A poor fit, but little choice really since there is no alternative showroom / cabaret venue (see Cinema notes below). Local entertainers / cultural performers were also engaged as the ship moved from continent to continent
The Globe, a 200 seater utility room is used for dancing (users complain that the floor is much too small with tensions often mounting between sequence and ballroom dancers as they vie for space), classical recitals, occasional musical 'jams' featuring the ships orchestra and other in-house musicians.
Bars/Lounges. There is music of some description in each of the bars and lounges as the in-house musicians play their own brand of musical chairs and rotate venues each evening. No criticism of the musicians; however extensive their repertoire, some performances became tedious and repetitive over our twelve weeks on board.
The Retreat, another small, utilitarian facility is primarily used for ballroom, sequence or line dancing, either for lessons during the day, or, as an alternative to The Globe during the evening. The Retreat is much smaller than The Globe, therefore far from ideal.
Guest speakers were shipped out (from the UK) on a regular basis and once again varied in attractiveness dependent on your taste. Most notably, Eric (Knocker) Knowles, Wayne Sleep and Lord Michael Howard offered lectures on their chosen subjects and life in general. Listed like this it sounds varied and interesting however in reality, the overall quality of the speakers lacked sparkle. As an aside, does Mr Knowles reside permanently on cruise ships? We have seen him perform on four previous cruises in the past couple of years.
The Ocean Room is a multi-purpose facility busy delivering art, crafts and card lessons by day but, idle at night. Could be better utilised as a revenue earning second venue after dark.
The service throughout the ship was uniformly excellent, particularly the reception. Often receiving the brunt of complaints from frustrated passengers we witnessed the reception staff defuse potentially difficult circumstances. Dragana and Sandra were outstanding. 5/5.
The deluxe balcony cabin on D deck was both comfortable and serviceable, if a little tired in places. Previous cruiser's mishaps on the room carpets and soft furnishings were permanent and there for all to see. The decor and layout is now dated with the ludicrously positioned bed lamps the butt of many visiting comedians. Constant warnings about the frailties of the toilet system seemed to be heeded by the guests. Our cabin's w.c. backed up only once during the nearly three month cruise. The balcony and balcony furniture (2 x deck chairs, 1 x leg stool, 1 x service table) were also a little tired. The cabin stewards worked extremely hard to keep the room in good order and they are to be commended. The air-conditioning, whilst in theory adjustable, was fierce. Anecdotally, several passengers we met claimed to seek medical advice for sore throat/chest infections citing the air-con.
Shore Excursions 4/5
Normally we steer clear of these due to overpricing and generally being poor value for money. Somewhat different on the World Cruise it seems, with P&O upping their game considerably...on most occasions. Interesting itineraries, informative tour guides, great lunches when included, bottled water available on many tours etc. Even allowing for the exotic nature of the ports of call; in our opinion and to our surprise, most tours genuinely rated 4/5.
What a waste of space with only thirty seats some of which remained not serviceable and unavailable throughout the cruise. Previewing at the cinema tonight - shown in the cabin tomorrow night. The cinema, Cafe Vivo, Ocean room should be converted as one to a much bigger day time craft/arts/card room but convertible to a second venue/showroom at night. Cafe Vivo could be easily moved further aft where coffee is already served.
Travel operator: iglu
Other then this the cruise could not be faulted. If I didn't enjoy it then that was my own fault and no one elses.
We had an inside cabin and when we got there 1 case was already waiting for us. The other I had to pick up from security as their X ray had spotted my Swiss Army knife in it!
We had an inside cabin which had planty of apce for us. Enough wardrobes and cupboards for everything and the empty cases slid under the bed.
The cabin maid worked very hard. After the first few days we had a short questionaire to fill in. My wife mentioned that she had been looking forward to having towel animals but none seemed to be appearing. 2 days later and there was a rabbit waiting for her followed next day by swans etc!
The food was excellent. There was a wide choice at breakfast. We normally grabbed a snack at lunchtimes in the Belvedere or Heptunes. It was 'cafeteria' food but of good quality and with a huge choice. Evening meals we took in the Meridian. Four courses each night with a big selection. The waiting staff could not have been more attentive or responsive. The food was so good we saw no need to pay extra to eat at the premium restaurants.
The entrtainments in the evenings were very good. The Headliners music and dance team worked extremely hard and put on 8 different shows during the fortnight. One or two of these were as good as anything you would get in he West End and most of the rest were also very good. They had a female singer, Eleanor Shirley, who was billed as coming from the West end. Pleasant enough but I thought her voice was a bit weak and her repertoire limited. The cellist was the star of the cruise, his shows received a standing ovation. The comedian was a disappointment. Lee Wilson. His first show was funny with a lot of quick fire gags but he also insisted on singing! Now he has a good voice but we get music every night and using 20 minutes of a 40 minute act on singing is too much. His second show was pretty dire. Again too many songs (trying to flog his CD) and too few jokes and those he told were so ancient. Half of his gags I have heard Ken Dodd tell!
The ports were interesting if expensive. We didn't take any of the P&O trips instead wanderering around on our own except in St Petersburg where we used a local company for a 2 day tour.
All in all a very good trip.
Travel operator: P&O
To keep you entertained even walking around the prom deck was good exercise. Use the glass lifts for a view over the sea. Booking in was easy went very smoothly did not have to queue for too long. Used CPS for cruise parking very efficient service.
Cabin - mini suite - very pleasant indeed - only negative is bed was rather a cheap hard mattress.
The main restaurant was utterly DIRE - staff extremely pleasant but I should have known that feeding up to 1200 odd people in one go seldom works! The quality of the food itself was therefore of a rather poor standard - at best could be described as very second rate .
The Orchid restaurant was pretty good - once again - Super staff and food MUCH better but there is a £20.00 per couple supplement here.
Arcadian Rhodes restaurant - as per Orchid but £30.00 supplement .
Belvedere Cafe / Self serve . AVOID AT ALL COSTS! Somewhat like a 3rd rate Motorway service station . I only tried to eat there once as an "all night service" - there is NO all night service - just a few VERY tired leftover sandwiches ! Furthermore there was nobody on duty - a cook had to be called up from the depths of the ship to serve you!
Neptune Burger Bar. Fine - similar to a Wimpy joint but fresh cooked and quite adequate if you like "fast food"
Breakfasts in our cabin . Absolutely splendid and always brought fresh by our wonderful Butler , Anil. Great choice of pretty good fresh food. This was THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY!!
All the staff were really super without exception and special thanks to the Passenger services manager, Ian who made the voyage bearable by supplying a Personal Butler - this really did make the difference - without this I would have CERTAINLY left the ship early!
All bars were fine - drink prices fine and once again all staff were super - in fact a lot more interesting than the passengers! The only negative factor here was that the bars shut ridiculously early - in fact one night I had to get a bar reopened at just 1.30am!
ZERO nightlife on this ship - after 1.00am you might as well be in a mortuary!
Not really great! The Tate art talks were slanted towards people with little or no knowledge of the arts at all . The music / shows were insufferable! The in cabin TV was just a loop of about 8 films going round and round - only really about 3 channels available all the other channels were just advertising Ships beauty parlours etc!
The Ports & excursions .
The liason between the head office & the ship is appalling - I had asked to book a car hire for Zeebrugge but alas noone had told the ship! After several phone calls I did at least manage to get my fishing trip in!
I wanted to visit Norway & Iceland and this cruise delivered that package. However when on board please be aware that the included food package is pretty poor , the entertainment is probably ok if you are a stayed old codger , there is absolutely ZERO life in the early hours - however all the staff were super . This was my first cruise and , sadly probably my last with P&O unless I can be assured of better standards .
Travel operator: P&O
we went to norway in 2008 on the oceana a ship we like & evarything is excelent on that ship and is very lively day & night with lots of things to do .
we booked the 15 night cruise to norway / iceland as we liked the itinary but have never been on a child free ship before like the arcadia and never will again most of the passangers was late 70s plus & it was geard up for them
as we are and a fair few passangers was between 40 & 60 there wasnt much to do entertainment wise infact it was abismal .
not 1 deck party not 1 band on deck & on day 2 the music outside was bing crosby singing white christmas n it was june for gods sake .
at nite they turned the lights down low outside on dec 9 (the only place to smoke near a bar that closed at 11 0 clock not very good p&o the entertainment team was non existant unless u wanted to do ballroom dancing or listen " classical music sorry anchent music .
went through the disco at 11pm 2 people in it thats all listening to old music .
midnight feasts forget it buffet closed at 9.30 & the only food after that was 10 muffins but when they were gone thats it other than cheese n biscuits unless u cud find the chef at the hot serving counter that had a choice of 5 things but u cud never find the chef to cook them. evarything else on the ship was fine very clean & u could find your way around very easaly but unless you are old grey bald & over 80 go on another p&o ship as we will never ever set foot on that thing again hope this helps & you read this before you booked to go on it a coupe of things i missed out sorry to go on we got kicked out of the casino at 12.20 as we & other passengers was told it was closing that was outragous & the 2 sail aways we had only lasted 30 mins max not like other p&o ships we have been on i dont know if it was the ressesion or just cut back by p&o but this cruise was very dissapointing unless u was very old went to bed at 10.30 & didnt want to eat or dance or gamble the night away stay clear & go on anoyher p&o ship.
Travel operator: p&o
Boarding Arcadia was really smooth. Someone arrived to take our luggage and park the car. A bit of queuing to embark but not too bad. Luggage was outside of cabin within half an hour tops. Cabin was fantastic. This was my second cruise on Arcadia - last time I had an inside cabin (no window) which was ok but strange in the mornings as it was dark - also it was noisy with a tannoy just outside the and opposite the cabin stewards cupboard and being at the front of the ship was a bit more bouncy and miles from anywhere! This time I had an outside cabin with an 'obstructed view' which means with a lifeboat in the view. But I had daylight and blue sky and if I stood on my bed had a superb view. Cabin was midships - which is the best area to be in as you are in easy reach of everything. E deck was above the Promenade deck - which is a lovely deck and favoured by people walking - it is the most pleasant deck in my opinion - a mixture of people walking, sitting on chairs - not crowded at all. I had a cabin to myself - and unfortunately had to pay a single supplement - so take that into account if you are a single traveller. My friends had a cabin with balcony on A deck - unfortunately smoke from next doors balcony used to drift into theirs. This is the deck under the Belvedere - but they did not find it over noisy. It was handy to be able to pop up to the Belvedere in the mornings.
The cleanliness of the ship was faultless - I believe our hospitals could learn a lot from P&O!!
Mainly all the staff were very friendly and helpful. My cabin steward was unobtrusive and did a good job. The waiters in the Meridian were fantastic. Generally I get the feeling that all the staff are worked very hard.
The food was good - although not as good as my last cruise to Norway. However the ship was very full and the waiters did a tremendous job in the Meridian. Some nights the food was better than others - and sometimes it seemed like canteen food - but the waiter service was fantastic. The Belevedere was a bit like a bun fight - but the advantage being that you can plan your own time to eat. In the Meridian there were 2 evening meal sittings - either 6.30 (too early) or 8.30 (a bit late) - but rather this than 6.30. The Meridian is very busy, not relaxing and has the sound of engines. Arcadian Rhodes was a very relaxing dining experience. We dined there on 3 evenings - 2 out of the 3 the food was excellent, but on one occasion the food was terrible - I think there had been a chef change. We ate once in the Orchid - lovely views - but the food was disappointing on the evening we chose - although we were told by fellow diners that it was usually fantastic.
The thing about the Meridian that we didn't like was the fact that the idea is that you sit with other people. However there were 3 of us and we didn't want to sit with other people - so after lengthy discussions we secured a table for 3 each night - but it was in a bad position - next to the waiters workstations. We were advised by the head waiter to look around at different tables and identify tables we liked - then if we cruised again we could indicate our preferences - worth bearing in mind! At lunchtimes we always managed to get a table for 3 - we just had to specify that we wanted to sit on our own - the waiters were very accommodating.
Room service was ok - although breakfasts tended to be delivered earlier than requested and not always what requested. Ordering anything late at night took a long time to come - but the range of things you could order was very good.
The entertainment on board was fair - but I did get fed up with it after the first couple of nights.
I found the swimming pools off putting as they have people draped all around them. The Sun Deck became a place for people to cook their bodies!!
Pleasant bars on the decks with attentive staff. Did not like the atmosphere of the Rising Sun - too much smoke!
The Reception Staff very efficient and friendly. The shore excursion staff very good. However I feel that too much emphasis is put on shore excursions - I only went on 1 and felt herded. I feel that they are expensive and vastly overrated. Much more enjoyable to do your own thing at your own pace.
One thing I was a bit uncomfortable with was the tipping. It took me a long time to save for the cruise and I did not have a lot of surplus left. It was difficult to know who to tip - as all the service I received was first class - inevitably I could not tip all those I wished to. I feel that P&O should pay their staff more - as they all work so tremendously hard and on the whole are really nice people doing a really hard job.
I was definitely one of the younger ones on the cruise - but that was not a problem at all. You can join in as much as you want or do your own thing entirely.
I am saving for my next cruse with Arcadia!
Travel operator: P&O
The Cruise was an 'anniversary cruise' so everyone on board who had an anniversary was invited to a lovely cocktail party, which was fabulous! We loved everything about the holiday and could not understand why some people were moaning about what seemed to b nothing to us!!!!!!. In fact we were told (by a seasoned cruiser) that if we complained to customer services we would get money off our next cruise!! that is terrible! The food 99.9% of the time was great the company on our table was great, I can not fault it all and cannot wait to do it all again.
The staff could not of been more helpful, if you asked it was done!
The entertainment was mainly good, the shows were very good, only one entertainer was disappointing so that is good for 3 weeks away!
Travel operator: P & O
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