Cruise - Ocean Cruise
Arcadia Review - August 2011
121 people found this review helpful
P&O Arcadia – J108 – Around Britain – 8th August to 31st August 2011
Ports of call: Newcastle, Queensferry, Invergordon, Lerwick, Greenock, Liverpool, Belfast, Dublin, Cobh and St Peters Port Guernsey and our return to Southampton’s Ocean Terminal. A total of11 ports in 13 days.
We had a good journey to Southampton, until the heavens opened on the M27 and slowed the traffic down to 20 MPH and lengthening our journey from two hours to two hours and twenty five minutes.
We embarked Arcadia at the Mayflower terminal at 12.25, twenty minutes after arriving at the terminal, unfortunately for some, the terminal computers went down twenty five minutes after we boarded which resulted in a one and a half hour wait for all those waiting to board. There was also some talk of the gangway being insecure as well.
We were directed to the Belvedere restaurant on the 9th floor – now, I had read previously that the atrium on Arcadia wasn’t the most impressive afloat, so much so that we didn’t even know that we had walked through it, very disappointing. The Belvedere was well appointed, the food well prepared and displayed with a good variety available, we had a good lunch and went to our cabin D179 before being called, (the last one at the stern) starboard side of the ship – The room was ready so we moved in, plenty of room for two people, lots of hanging space but only two small draws in each of our bedside tables. Good sized balcony with two reclining chairs and a table of sorts. The bathroom was of a reasonable size, plenty of light and included a shaver socket, and the shower head was removable for those of you that prefer to wash your hair without having to be in the shower.
The ship sailed at 17.06 and we headed out into the Solent, it was grey and overcast at the time and not the best start to our cruise – we need not have worried, more on that later. Sail-away party on the prom deck with champagne (of sorts) flowing as usual on all P&O cruises.
We spent the next hour or so exploring the ship and I must say we found it easy to navigate our way around. Arcadia is not a glitzy ship, quite stylish with good quality furniture and fabrics throughout, probably because it was originally intended to be a Cunard Queen but that’s another story. What we found most amazing were the lifts… amazing lifts I hear you say… yes they were , this is the only ship we have been on that when in the lift the action is so smooth and quiet that you are unaware of any movement, and no, they were not the highlight of our cruise. We had chosen dinner in the MDR – The Meridian restaurant, (On two levels) table for eight at 8.30 the late sitting, five courses for me each night and all served piping hot by our two friendly waiters, and with an acceptable time between courses. If I were to have a complaint here it would be that the vegetables were too undercooked for me, and the roast potatoes too soggy. The fish was exceptional and the steaks, so I was told by our dining companions, was excellent as well. The Palladium theatre was our nightly visit after dinner, the late show began at 10.30. Most of the passengers had selected early dining which resulted in the theatre only being between half and three quarters full most evenings – comfortable seating and enough legroom for a six footer like me. The Headliners I thought were the best we had seen on a P&O ship. The Beatles tribute band played on two evenings, personally not a fan of the Beatles apart from a couple of numbers, but these boys actually appeared to be better than the Beatle’s, and the drummer was way better than Ringo ever was.
So, the other facilities on board in brief….
Monte Carlo Casino (Deck 2)….Only opened after we had left Belfast on the 27th due to gaming regulations – as far as I could see not used a great deal anyway. Cyber study (Deck 3) again hardly any users, nice room though with around twelve computers. Library (Deck 3) Good and varied collection of books with plenty of seating available. Photo gallery. (Deck 3) The usual….But I would add that this was our first cruise where we were not constantly plagued by photographers taking photo’s – a pleasant change. Emporium and Piccadilly shops… Usual overpriced goods, wait for the sale days towards the end of the cruise before buying, some items reduced by half in the ladies clothing range. Oasis & Spa… Not used myself but the OH had a package (£90) which gave her unlimited use of the Sauna and Spa facilities for the duration of our cruise. The Screening Room… (Deck 3) Nice room with about 35 red leather individual chairs. Good selection of films on show which included: Water for Elephants, The Kings Speech, West is West, Jane Eyre and The Conspirater. Electra…(Deck 2)..The Disco in the evenings, as you might imagine on an adults only ship it was not very well attended, at least not for disco dancing that is. The Rising Sun…(Deck 2) A good old English pub and usually 75% full every time I passed it in the evenings, Fitness Centre… (Deck 9) Hardly used but a good variety of equipment available should you wish to avail yourself of the facilities. Piano Bar… (Deck 3) Tony Kent played the Piano – He was pretty good as well. Crow’s Nest..(Deck 10).. Various artists performing which included pianists, keyboard players and guitarists, duo’s and trio’s. The Pools..(Deck 9) The Aquarius, outside at the aft end, and the Neptune (Deck 9 midships) with a sliding roof which we never saw open – both good sized pools and both with two ‘bubble pools’.
This is just a shortened version, there are many more rooms on Arcadia where quiz’s and games are the norm – too many to list
There were some very good speakers on board of which one was Richard Noble who spoke for an hour on his, and his competitors world land speed record attempts, and also his new venture to gain the record back for Britain in 2014 with his new car which is presently under construction.
Another talk was on the Three Centuries of Royal Yachts, 26 of them in total with the first in 1660 and ending with the Royal Yacht Britannia, removed from service in 1997. I could go on for another three pages but to sum up Arcadia is a fine ship and has been added to my list of favourite ships, I now have two on the list the other being Oriana. The weather on our cruise was ideal with calm seas and sunshine for the whole 13 nights so I am unable to comment on how she behaves in rough weather.
Entertainment was good all round and plenty to occupy the time on sea days should sunbathing or reading not be your forté. Food is available almost all the time somewhere on the ship, the only point I would mention is that if you are the sort that attends the late night buffet – get there early as the choice is not that good and if you are like me and turn up at midnight it’s not fresh either.
One other downside which I’m sure is not the norm, is that this cruise appeared to be a ‘Maintenance Cruise’ with work continually going on throughout the 12 days resulting in the Prom deck being partially closed almost every day, and one of the pools being emptied for painting four days before the end of the cruise, this along with other work going on took the edge off what would have been a great cruise, but still most enjoyable ……All this no doubt in preparation for her transatlantic leaving.
121 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.