What's good about Arcadia
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Surely entertainment is not a ship specific issue, but rather a fleet wide one?
Of course it is. However Arcadia and that class of ship only has one large entertainment venue, the theatre. The globe is quite small and there is some small scale entertainment in the bar. If someone likes a lot to choose from and are used to Azura etc or indeed Oriana they will find that Arcadia is lacking in that respect.
Otherwise we think she is a lovely ship, having spent a number of cruises on her.
Aurora R418 Aurora R419
Adonia F507 Adonia F508
Aurora R525 Arcadia J625
Oceana E721 Oriana X718
Arcadia J813 Oriana X820
Ventura N902 Aurora R913
Arcadia J004 Oceana E021
Ventura N110 Azura A121
Aurora R119 Ventura N210
Arcadia J217 Oriana X302
Oriana X312 Aurora R315
Oceana E402 Azura A409
Azura A410 Oceana E425
Oceana E426 Arcadia J510
Britannia B522 Britannia B523
Ventura N603 Azura A616
Arcadia J615 Arcadia J616
Crown Princess 17
Deluxe Cabins are a lot smaller than on Aurora who we are used to. If you're used to Aurora Deluxe balconies, Arcadia's are a lot smaller. Only cupboard space was two very small 2 drawer bedside cabinets. We used our suitcases under the beds as drawers. We did prefer the wardrobe space. Air con in cabin was far noisier than we've had before, but I used ear plugs so it was okay. We have a longer cruise booked on her in 18 months time and luckily we have a larger cabin booked.
The buffet was dire for seating space. I'd never understood complaints from other forum members previously, but now I understand. I am not sure if it's Arcadia or the demographic of the passengers (a lot of foreigners on this cruise which is unusual) but I dreaded the 'finding space to sit' debacle for breakfast and lunch. Once, our food was cold by the time someone deigned to share their table with us, and we are friendly! A LOT of table hogging was going on. We've never seen this on Aurora, where we never had an issue with finding a table. The tables on Arcadia are in the main arranged in groups of 4 or 6. It meant couples were taking up more spaces and despite us holding a tray and asking if they'd share, mostly the answer was 'no' someone else was coming... and most of the time we saw no one else ever sat there... I really hope in the refit, p&o put in more tables for 2, as per Aurora. I have never dreaded the buffet before
I heard the headliner entertainment ground to a halt because of illness (one had tonsillitis apparently, not sure on another) but sea day entertainment was not as good as Aurora, comprising in the main of sales/spa talks, paid for exercise classes and quiz after quiz. My husband enjoyed the guest speaker, but he was crammed into the Globe with standing room only for many who went along. We spoke to many who said it put them off longer cruises with more sea days. We told them this wasn't normal from our experience
We were assigned 2nd sitting (as we'd booked late) and we were happy to accept whatever we were assigned. We were shocked to be assigned a table for 2, but our table and the neighbouring table were so close, we acted as a table for 4 with regards to talking and catching up. BUT both tables were served by different waiters, so our starters and mains came at different times which was disruptive (sometimes we'd even be on different courses!). ALSO our waiter was very cold and surly. (Theirs was great) Ours Only spoke to us once (even writing down our orders he tried not to speak!) as we were leaving after the first meal, when he deigned to tell us his name!!! I resented having to pay him a so called gratuity.
Cabin was clean, and well serviced, Stewardess was friendly and always smiling. Buffet staff were friendly and helpful. Food in MDR was a bit 'samey' but I always asked for an extra vegetable side dish, and this always had a good mix of veg in it. And why do the MDR menus have a lack of hot desserts???!!! Buffet food was generally good, but their scones for afternoon tea were 1cm high... maybe they're trying to get us to pay £15per head now for the paid for afternoon tea? Umm, no!). On the Aurora Indian buffet night, the queues would be huge and unending. On Arcadia it was almost deserted. Bizarre! Not sure on other nights as we only used it the once (as the Indian nights are good).
I agree it didn't seem such a happy ship of staff, but the only really unhappy person we came across seemed to be our waiter...
Ports were excellent, Bar, Reception, Excursion and Future Sales staff were all friendly and helpful.
We'll be back on her again, as we have the cruise booked for its timing and itinerary... but my, I really really hope they've sorted out the buffet seating in the refit...
I wouldn't say that its an Arcadia only issue, I had the same thing on the Oceana. The only advice I'd give is to just adjust the timing so you don't go at peak time.
I wonder where they could add extra seats in the Belvadere? If you take away one of the drinks stations, then the other will be chaos.
Perhaps they could do something with the aft pool area? Then again, the bar is not going anywhere, so that leaves the smokers hideout - which could be moved (but probably prove unpopular).
Sadly, the only time seats were slightly easier to find were just before 7:30 am and after 3pm... we tried early and late lunches to no avail...
It's a shame some people were so thoughtless at times. Some of us ate, got up and moved on...
I agree about the smoking area just outside, this stopped us and others taking food outside to eat, which was a great shame.
Our next two cruises are back on Aurora. (Booked whilst on board this week) and we'll see if Arcadia is modified in her refit, before our next cruise on her in 18 months time! It won't stop us enjoying that cruise as (for our probably one and only time) we've booked an aft suite with large balcony for my 50th birthday year. We can eat some breakfasts and lunch on our balcony if necessary!
Our only negative observation is the noise and vibration we experienced last year at the very rear of the ship. Tis was apparently caused by a problem with 1 of the propulsion pods which one would hope has now been rectified. To summarize: a great ship.Last month I sailed on the Arcadia. We occupied a rear facing balcony cabin next door to a suite. There was absolutely no vibration in the cabin although in the nearest lift area vibration was noticeable on a few occasions. I was informed the propeller on the Arcadia faces in the reverse direction and sucks the ship forward rather than the usual push if that makes sense. That design is intended to reduce vibration and as far as I'm concerned it works.
Having said that we would not hesitate in booking the same suite again.
We've not been on the Arcadia before and loved it. To describe it in one word would be, 'unpretentious' Loved it!
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I've seen what HAL has done with the Arcadia's Dutch cousin, the Westerdam in her recent refit, and there are somethings that P&O should really consider. Some others, not so much - like converting the Crows Nest into an oversized ShoreEx desk.
Logistically tricky, but it appears that their version of the Ocean Grill changes between 'Celeb Chefs' on a rotation. Given P&O have this Food Heros thing going on, they ought to consider it (once the current Ocean Grill contract expires).
I've still not heard what they're doing to the Arcadia, so I think its fair to say, its just a freshen up rather than any major changes.