Number of Cruises: 18
Cruise Line: P & O Cruises
Sailing Date: July 30th, 2006
Review of P&O Arcadia 7-night
Fjord’s Adventure Cruise 30 July 2006
This was a cruise from Southampton to Eidfjord, Flam, Olden and Bergen with a day at sea on the first and last days. It was our second cruise with P&O, our previous one two years ago was on Oceana to the Canary Islands. Arcadia seems to have had some very mixed reviews from P&O regulars but we went with an open mind as we have so far enjoyed experiencing nine different cruise lines and eighteen ships. Arcadia was our second adults-only ship, the first being Saga Ruby earlier this year. Ruby’s passengers probably averaged over 70 years of age and we decided after that we prefer a more mixed age group. Arcadia had a really good spread of ages from a group on the next table at dinner celebrating a 21st birthday, and many others in their 20’s and upwards. We were in an OE grade inside cabin number B10 on Bermuda Deck number 7 and paid £770 each ($1,463 at 1.90).
The décor of our cabin was beige walls with green furnishings and looked rather luxurious with its LCD flat screen TV. It was also one of the quietest cabins we have ever had.
The public room décor primarily in beige, brown and other earth tones with 3,000 pieces of artwork and sculptures commissioned from British artists made for a very stylish ship in a contemporary way, somewhat similar to some of Celebrity’s Millennium Class ships.
With only 1,950 passengers on this 83,000-ton Vista Class ship it is very spacious and lots of windows make the public areas very light.
Captain Steve Burgoine, the Cruise Director Neil Oliver, and the officers and crew was happy, smiling, efficient and willing to oblige at all times. Our cabin stewardess was Bernadeth from the Philippines and our waiter Alberto and his assistant Joaquim were from India.
The Belvedere buffet selection for breakfast and lunch was better than we had experienced on Oceana but still not up to the standard of US lines such as Celebrity and Holland America. We had some delightful companions on our first sitting dinner table. The choice of food at dinner was better on the first few nights than on the last few, just as we had found on Oceana. On three occasions my wife and I had the alternative option of steak and it was exceptionally tender. Salmon or chicken was also available every night. Overall quality was good rather than outstanding.
The Lido pool has a retractable glass roof that is very useful if the weather isn’t kind however the non-adjustable sun loungers around the pool were very uncomfortable. Those by the other pool and on the higher deck were adjustable.
Some drink prices were lower than on US cruise lines. For example Beringer White Zinfandel that was £18 ($34.20) on Legend of the Seas earlier this year was £15.75 ($29.92) on Arcadia. A glass of house wine is £2.55 ($4.85), half a liter carafe £7.15 ($13.58) and a liter carafe £14 ($26.60). A 330ml can of coke was £1.10 (2.09), Whisky and Gin started at £ 2 ($3.80) the cocktail of the day was £2.50 ($4.75), draught beer £2.25 ($4.27), lager £1.85 ($3.51) and specialty coffees such as a Latte £1.45 ($2.75). These prices include gratuities, unlike US lines that add 15%. Moreover if you have sailed with P&O before and are a member of the Portunus Club you get 5% or more off all on board spend, reducing drinks prices even further.
While we didn’t use it, internet pricing is quite low starting at 30 pence ($0.57) per minute for ad-hoc use reducing to 16 pence ($0.30) if you buy 100 minutes. Most public lounges are wireless access zones.
The shows were of a good standard. The three production shows were Best of the West End, The Knights of Rock and Roll and Le Cirque Arcadia. Bobby Knutt was a very popular comedian who did two shows, and the other two shows were singer Carlo Paul Santana and illusionists The Twins.
The port presentations were
excellent and not exclusively shopping talks as on many US cruise lines.
Embarkation and disembarkation were very efficient. We embarked within 15 minutes of arriving at the check in desk line and were disembarked and in our car in the car park only 25 minutes after we were called at 8.35am.
Minus Points: - So few they seem very minor:
The three-level Atrium seems poorly decorated making it seem even smaller than it is. In particular a curtain blocks the view from one side of the piano bar to the other which is annoying when people enjoying the music quiz from the non-smoking starboard side of the ship can’t see the pianist. We felt that the other musicians on board were not very well balanced, and never found one to our tastes but that is a personal thing.