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Review: Arcadia

Cruise - Ocean Cruise

Spitzbergen and the Fjords

  • By SilverTraveller freddyboy

    2 reviews

  • Jul 2012
  • Wife
  • Regular holiday
  • Balcony

142 people found this review helpful

Our cruise on P&O Arcadia was an exception to the family friendly cruise as it is a contemporary adults only ship. This is the first time we have cruised on a child free ship and we loved it. On our previous cruise there were over 500 children on board some of whom thought the ship was their playground in the sea. We all have our own expectations when cruising and without unruly children on board ours were met more fully. It also helped that we had an excellent itinerary and were blessed with exceptional table companions

Everyone has a different idea of what luxury means to them. It might be the impressive service, the outstanding levels of comfort, the fine dining with elegant formal evenings, the range of facilities available, or simply the time to relax. For us the itinerary provided the luxury.

A summer cruise to the Arctic Circle sounds like a contradiction in terms. However, it provided breathtaking scenery with twenty four hour daylight for three days which was certainly out of the ordinary. . The magnificence of the ship was certainly shown off in the beauty of the fjords of Norway.

The Ship

At 83,500 tonnes, Arcadia is the third largest of the seven ships under the P&O brand. It was built by Fincantieri in Marghera, Italy, it has eleven decks, with 1008 cabins and has a maximum passenger capacity of 2388. The ship officially entered service with the company in April 2005 and was named by Dame Kelly Holmes. Arcadia had a major refit at Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven, Germany, when 34 cabins were added to the stern. It has a three tier restaurant, a “west end” Palladium Theatre, casino, a 30 seat cinema, an Oasis Spa with hydro pool and thermal suite. Also for the fitness freaks there is an ocean view gymnasium, a poolside grill and for that relaxing drink the Crows nest.


The embarkation was trouble free and most efficient. We arrived at the terminal at around 12 noon, dropped our cases at the luggage point, our car was then taken to the car park. A friendly welcome at check-in, then straight through security and we were on the ship.


We were advised on arrival that cabins were not available until 14:00, so whilst waiting we had lunch in the Belvedere restaurant. Our roomy balcony cabin was on the Arcadia deck, it was spotlessly clean and well designed and had a small fridge, TV, settee and a small but adequate en suite bathroom, also there are tea and coffee facilities provided.

Food and Beverages

Sadly this was not as good as on the other P&O ships, although the food in Arcadian Rhodes was superb, as it was in Orchid Restaurant. In the main restaurant we felt that standards had generally dropped and whilst the food was of a fair standard, it was often only luke warm when reaching the table. It was really no better than any local restaurant back home and that's not what we have come to expect of P&O ships. The Belvedere self-service restaurant is available twenty four hours a day and ideal for cruisers who don’t wish to use the more formal dining areas. The food was very uninspiring, poor quality pub food but this may have been exactly what some passengers prefer. After around 10pm the service here is very minimal along with the food offering. Many staff in the self-service restaurant looked bored and listless but after being on the ship for many months the motivation must be difficult, but not impressive for a new intake of passengers. Drinks were very reasonable and compared favourably with UK pub prices.

Scooters and Wheelchairs

The large number of scooter users/wheelchair users was unavoidable, but made worse by poor and even rude attitudes towards more able bodied passengers; this left a lot to be desired. However I was indeed privileged to meet Mavis A who has disabilities and is a motorised wheelchair user. Mavis explained some of the difficulties she has had whilst cruising and it did open one’s eyes to daily occurrences that the able-bodied take for granted. – She said that her communications with P&O were excellent and that they went out of their way to help with any problems.


Our Itinerary included Stavanger, Alesund, Bergen, Trondheim, Tromsø, Ny Alesund and Eidfjord The jewel for us was Ny-Ålesund; it is situated on the south side of the deep and sheltered Kongs Fjord on the west coast of Spitsbergen. It is one of the world’s most northerly settlements, a centre for international Arctic research and environmental monitoring. We also enjoyed the beauty and tranquillity of Eidfjord, the inner most municipality on the Hardanger Fjord in the south-western Norwegian county of Hordaland, with steep mountains surrounding a beautiful fjord, a mighty powerful waterfall, majestic glaciers and a mountain plateau


The evening entertainment on board was wide and varied, trying to cater for all tastes. The shows from the Headliners Theatre Company were excellent, a group of multi-talented singers, actors and dancers who performed three shows.

Thank you P&O Cruises

This was a thoroughly enjoyable cruise, with good ports of call and excellent table companions. Let’s hope that P&O maintain standards and keep the British traditions for which it is renowned.

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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