P&O Arcadia

Itinerary

Day 1 – Sail from Southampton

Day 2 – At Sea

Day 3 – At Anchor, St Peter Port, Guernsey

Day 4 – Disembark at Southampton

Parking at Southampton and Embarkation

With a planned sailing of 1700 and an embarkation time of 1430 we took our time to get to Southampton, finding our way to our pre-booked parking easily.

We booked with ‘Port Parking Deals’ with a company called ‘Dolphin Parking’. It was easy to find the car park with our Satnav directing us straight there! We were shuttled to Mayflower Cruise Terminal with ease, a really good experience.

Once dropped off at the Terminal, the usual checking in procedures commenced and it was made slightly quicker by pre-completion of documentation and downloading of boarding passes and luggage labels from the comfort of home.

Through security and before we knew it we were onboard and off to the muster station before proceeding to our cabin.

A quick unpack of the case that had already arrived at our cabin and it was off to the Belvedere Buffet for a late lunch.

Ship

One thing I always do prior to cruising is visit the Cruise Line’s website and have a read through the features and areas of the ship as well as checking out YouTube for any Vlogs of the ship.

P&O Arcadia has a stated capacity of 2094 guests with a crew of 866.

I would say the ship was proportionate in size to the amount of guests, although some areas (Main Dining Room, Belvedere Buffet, Pool areas) always seemed to be crowded; I will talk about this later.

Stateroom

We had an Inside stateroom for this cruise. This was our first cruise with this type of stateroom and as it was only a 3 -4 day cruise it seemed ok.

That said, I really missed waking in the morning to pull back the curtains to either a window to the outside world or balcony doors to take me out the fresh air.

I missed this, so it was probably going to be the one and only experience of sailing in an Inside stateroom for us.

P&O Arcadia, Inside Cabin
P&O Arcadia, Inside Cabin

It was however absolutely fine for our needs. We thought there was plenty of room for storage and the bed was comfortable.

The bathroom was on the small side, but we expected it to be and to be fair, the shower was ok and there was enough room not to have to stick to the shower curtain every time we used it as experienced on other cruises!

Our cabin steward was fine but we really didn’t have much interaction with him once he had given us the obligatory cabin safety brief.

This is not criticism of him, it is just on our previous cruises the cabin stewards had made real efforts to please and serve us and apart from bumping into him in the corridor occasionally, we didn’t see him.

Public Spaces

Although the ship had an atrium, I thought it was an atrium in name only, no where near the excellent space of the Atrium on Sky Princess for example.

This meant that it felt that there was no central point or core to the ship, which did take some getting used to.

Décor throughout the public spaces was good and there were pieces of wall art etc liberally placed around the ship.

The Spinnaker Bar
The Spinnaker Bar

We didn’t use the pool areas (internal and external) mainly due to the not great weather, what did we expect for very early June in the UK!

Food

We didn’t visit any of the speciality restaurants during our stay.

The Ocean Grill, a Marco Pierre White badged restaurant carried a good looking menu, reasonable priced but was already fully booked on embarkation. As was Sindhu, the Asian fusion restaurant.

Ocean Grill
Ocean Grill

As mentioned earlier, our first food port of call was the Belvedere Buffet. Every ship has one and generally they seem to be similar from line to line, ship to ship.

This buffet was ok, but always seemed to be busy and difficult to find a seat during peak hours.

The staff were fine, but I felt the food choice was at times limited and a bit samey.

The Main Dining Room was the Meridian Restaurant and we had booked for Freedom Dining. Set over two levels at Deck 2 and 3.

Food was great but with a 6.30 opening for the evening meal, there was a huge queue on all nights as it was non-bookable.

Once at the front of the queue and tables had been filled, we were sent away with a ‘buzzer’ that would go off when a table was free for us.

The longest this took to go off was 45 minutes on night 2.

Meridian Main Dining Room
Meridian Main Dining Room

The food itself was good, the menu’s were varied and we thoroughly enjoyed dining there.

We did note that on the first night, when customers had finished their meals and left, several tables around us were left for about 15 minutes before they were made ready for next customers.

In comparison, on our last night, everything happened ultra fast, courses came quickly and tables changed very quickly.

We wondered whether this was the result of onboard feedback, we’ll never know!

Meridian Main Dining Room
Meridian Main Dining Room

We did not use the Neptune bar on the pool deck or Room Service.

Bars

There were a good number of bars around the public areas of ship. Staff again were good but we found the prices to be not as good as we expected.

As there were no drink packages available due to the short nature of the cruise, we bought a bottle of wine each on the first night for our meal and subsequent drinks that cost £29 each.

I know that is not extortionate but after conversations with other customers we were led to believe that prices had risen a fair bit.

We enjoyed The Rising Sun, the onboard pub, that had an authentic atmosphere of a dark and moody pub where I partook of a few ‘Doombars’ over the course of the cruise!

The Rising Sun
The Rising Sun

It reinforced to us why we always take out a drinks package. Whilst not being massive drinkers, we enjoy a drink or two during the day and then with our meal and during the evening and it really does add up quickly when paying for them on the tab.

I tried not to, but I found myself checking my bill regularly, both to keep an eye on costs but also to make sure none had been added we had not taken.

Entertainment

As you would expect on a three day cruise, entertainment was limited.

There were the usual cruise type events during the day, quizzes, bingo. social gatherings etc but ‘The Headliners Theatre Company’ only had one night (two performances), and boy was that a good one!

The Palladium begins to fill
The Palladium begins to fill

The Palladium, set over 3 decks, provided home for ‘Mr Tickerton’s Clockwork Circus’ (day two), an excellent show with a mix of song and dance performed to a very high standard and was enjoyed by both myself and Mrs Mycruiseblog!

The stage is set for 'Mr Tickerton's Clockwork Circus'
The stage is set for ‘Mr Tickerton’s Clockwork Circus’

The other evenings were taken up by a comedy impressionist (day one), that we decided to miss, and an Irish vocal group (day three), ‘The Celtic Harps’ who were decent and played Irish songs, young and old.

The Palladium stage set for 'The Celtic Harps'
The Palladium stage set for ‘The Celtic Harps’

Staff

As on all our previous cruises, the stars of the show were the crew. This cruise was no different and we found this crew to be smart, friendly and approachable and we had no issues at all.

Ports / Excursions

We only had one Port on this itinerary and it was in St Peter Port. As we were at anchor, it was a tender transfer to shore.

P&O Arcadia from the tender
P&O Arcadia from the tender

Another small moan was the time it took to get ashore. We had a leisurely start to the day and picked up tender tickets mid morning and it was nearly 3 hours later until we stepped onto our tender to take us ashore.

This was far too long as we couldn’t really go back to our cabin and wait as we couldn’t hear main tannoy announcements for whose turn it was to go to the tenders and was a source of annoyment, and not just for us I hasten to add.

A view from a Tender
A view from a Tender

Summary

So how do we feel about this cruise?

We don’t think we would do another mini-cruise as it really was too short, feeling like we had only just unpacked when we were starting to pack again.

That said, surely any cruise is a good cruise, so it was great to try a new cruise line and ship out but I wouldn’t like to judge a ship or a fleet on such a short voyage.

There were a few niggles for us, as outlined above, and at times it did feel like the ship was going through its motions and preparing for its much bigger trip North once we had got back to Southampton.

Our conclusions were:

  • Probably a minimum of 7 days for a cruise would be better for us.
  • P&O need to have a phone app; was surprised that they didn’t have one as I understand all other cruise lines under the ‘Carnival’ flag have them. Being able to book a Main Dining Room time would have made life so much easier.
  • Get tender tickets early and plan to do something else while waiting to board the tender.
  • No-Fly is good option and Southampton was a very easy port to get to and navigate around.

P&O Cruises – My Cruise Blog

As always, I finish with a disclaimer. These are my thoughts and comments based on my experiences, they are not definitive and your experience could be completely different.


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