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MS Arcadia

A British Cruise liner in the P&O Cruises Fleet

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Arcadia J502 Review

  • Feb 11, 2010

Orchid Restaurant
I liked it in here. Very nice airy restaurant overlooking the deck. Small intimate area’s and tables nicely laid out. Will definitely try this. 
Cover charge!
Orchid Bar
Again a really nice bar, overlooking sun deck area. Contempory wicker furniture.
The room dedicated to a new training method involving gliding cables – good for the fitness folk.
The Retreat
Bit of an empty sort of room used for relaxation and lectures.
Another one of those relaxing rooms!
Crows Nest
Couldn’t go in as it was being used for a function – it looked good to me despite others comments. Perhaps not as grand as Aurora or Oriana’s but I think it would still have a good atmosphere when full of people.
Oasis Spa & Gym
Avoided due to lack of time.
Hydro Pool
A lot of asked so here is the answer – yes you do pay to use the hydro pool. Its £10 per person for 20 minutes and you must book as they limit the amount of people using it at any one time. I’d say that’s a bit expensive - 10 people every 20 minutes = £300 per hour revenue!!!

Neptune Pool and Skydome
The skydome was open which made a very nice open deck area. Good sized pool and Jacuzzis.
The Belvedere
Equivalent of Orangery/Conservatory but loads better. A lot less canteen like. Different serving areas, including – Deli, Bistro, Oriental, and Indian buffet. Some people seemed confused how this can work with so much variety but I have seen it on a lot of other ships and it works very well. Mind you, as they often send out a ‘navigate you way around the Orangery’ flyer on Aurora, I dare say some will need the same guidance!
Aquarius Pool and Bar
Probably be my sunbathing spot. I liked it out here – a bit like Alice Springs on Canberra only nicer.
Closed due to function
Café Vivo
Stupid stools that even I would struggle to get my ass on! Could have been done a lot nicer as somewhere to stop by and have a coffee in comfy chairs and sofas – why choose high shopping mall stools?
Good variety of shops selling the usual stuff – didn’t have time to stand and peruse all its wears!
Piano Bar
Maybe I missed something here as on the map it shows as an actual room either side of atrium – but all I saw was a woman playing the piano at the top of the stairs?
Photo Gallery
This seemed to go on forever. Usual set up of display stands. They were making a killing today selling photos of Dame Kelly and the ship etc.
Spinnakers Bar
Probably the one bar I was not so keen on. Situated just outside main restaurant, but a bit too open plan for me.
The bar for the Arcadian Rose restaurant. Again, reminded me of a bar in the corridor. – described as an exclusive cocktail bar.
Arcadia Rhodes
Sumptuous surroundings? Mmm I thought it a bit plain and tables to near. I would want it to feel more intimate and exclusive.
Cover charge!
Heard lots of negative things about the nightclub. It has a separate bar to the dance floor. But, unlike Oosterdam it was constructed so that the bar and bar stools were at an angle to the room with the dance floor so I reckon if you were sat at the bar you could still see what was going on on the dance floor. I could be wrong and I will soon get to check it out, but it didn’t feel too much like two separate rooms to me.
Monte Carlo Casino
Mum will be in her element here. Larger than other P&O casino and it was situated just out side the pub, so nice and handy for us to keep an eye on mum.
Rising Sun
Very long bar. All looked a bit bare as bar wasn’t set up. Lots of sofas, comfy chairs at one end and plenty of standing room and barstools at the bar. Will be interesting to see if it is more like the ‘Rose & Crown’ on the High Street or ‘Andersons’ when it is in use. I’m guessing it will be open all day and become the hub of the ship.
The Globe
Again, I had heard negative comments about this being too small for an entertainment lounge. But I thought it was an ok size. As much as I love Carmen’s on Aurora – it is too big and can lack atmosphere later at night. I think the Globe could end up being the next Neptune’s.
Palladium Theatre
Great sight lines and you seemed nearer to the stage than other theatres. Le Cirque Arcadia are brilliant and a long awaited improvement for P&O entertainment. Let’s hope the other entertainers are equally as good.
Meridian Restaurant
A two tier restaurant with central spiral staircase and bandstand. Not too big like I have seen on other ships, which become noisy. I don’t think you could get a bad table in this restaurant as all seemed to be in good view of the windows. Central area was slightly raised, so again would still have a nice view. Tables for 4 seemed a little small, but I will test one soon – seemed strange to be a small oval shape.
Due to lack of time I only viewed the Venice suite and one of the midship ones.
Venice suite – overlooked the stern and I wasn’t impressed really. I was surprised that it was actually a ‘suite’ it seemed cramped and not much bigger than the stateroom. No separate dining area. The balcony was large – probably too large for 2. As the cabin is on the corner it has the balcony wrapping around the corner. Ok so you got table and chairs plus 2 sunloungers, but its very bare and stark. You get passengers above looking onto the balcony, and the bit around the side was just as covered as any other balcony. Could have done with a few palms or plants to liven it up abit. It had the benefit of full size Jacuzzi bath, DVD, Hi Fi and lots of other bits, but to me, not worth the extra, and not a patch on Aurora’s suites. Not that it matters to me, as I’ll never be able to afford one!
If I were to have a suite I would go for one of the more midship ones as they had more room in the cabin and the balcony was more than adequate.
Mini Suite
Again probably not as big as Aurora’s mini suites (I know I shouldn’t compare but I’m trying to paint a picture) but in my opinion, better value than a suite.
Yes they are smaller than Auroras staterooms but they are bigger than the Aurora outside will balcony. I thought these were a good size. Lovely furnishings (as in all the cabins) and a decent size balcony with chairs. I did note that the partitions can be opened by the steward, so we should be able to have an open balcony with Mum and Jack on our cruise. Mmmm ….. is that a good thing?
Standard inside and outside plus larger insides
Just didn’t have time to see these which I was bit miffed about so I would like to know if they are the same as Auroras please?

Other points
We managed to obtain the use of a wheelchair to get Mum around the ship and ensure she got to see as much as possible. Wheelchair access is excellent just about everywhere. Lots of automatic doors and ramps etc. Lifts were smaller though, which meant one wheelchair and it was full.
The Decks – who messed about with the deck numbers???? Prom deck – deck 3! No. its always been deck 7. All the main stuff on deck 2 and 3 weird! D deck is now deck 5? Noooo that’s F deck. Speaking of F deck where is it? Ooh don’t like change me!!
The Atrium area – this seemed really dark, mainly due to sheer drapes in deep violet colour hung top to bottom. Shame because it has a really nice seating area at the bottom by reception etc.
Sunloungers were cool. Lots of steamer chairs with lovely rich navy and lemon striped cushions. Also had logos on the headrests which I could quite make out. Another job for Miss Marples when I’m next onboard!
Public loos – They had those swanky wash hand basins that are shaped like a stone bowls and sensor taps which confused the hell out of the two old dears in the loos at the same time as me. They watched in dismay as I successfully washed my hands in the magically produced water but try as they might they could get water to appear. Also the flush button was different behind the loo, which obviously equally confused same old dear as she could flush either ‘I haven’t flushed dear, there doesn’t appear to be a handle!’
Gold Lunch
Again I have read negative reports but I though it wonderful. Yes it was plated on this occasion, but it was hot and cooked to perfection. I chose: Smoked Salmon, Seared medallions of Beef Tenderloin followed by Miniature Lemon Deserts – mmm scrummy a new P&O dish I think! Mum had asparagus and poached egg mille feuille with bacon lardoons ( another new dish?) followed by pan fried halibut. All served with red and white wines, and followed by coffee/tea and assorted truffles.
The Captain gave a speech and stated that Aurora was well on track and is almost ready. She will definitely be ready for the 22nd. He told us of his disappointment that the media had not picked up on a fantastic christening – they only report bad stuff about P&O, which seems to be true. He also said about the bottle getting smashed to bits which was a relief as his other ships hadn’t had the bottle break.
Complimentary drinks – I nearly got one! We had walked out onto the pool area where all the waiters were lined up ready to hand out drinks to the guests. One smiled and handed me a glass of champers but the Bar Manager pounced on him and told him off for giving a ‘Gold member’ drink and he took it from my hand!!! He went to great lengths to explain that we were getting fed later so we could have a drink as well! I found it all rather amusing and Jack played up to him but still no drinks. I was more concerned for the poor waiter getting a scalding and told the BM to leave him alone!
Gifts – We received a nice carrier bag containing a nice hardback book ‘Arcadia A World of New Sensation’ and on disembarkation were given two trendy paperweights with a blue swirl in engraved ‘Pearl of Arcadia 2005’

Cabins by outside lifts
Be warned – anybody on one of the cabin balconies adjoining the lifts will get no privacy at all with the lift constantly passing by your balcony!
I hope this doesn’t seem like I’m being very negative re the cabins etc. I’m not, I’m just trying to point out the differences. I really liked the ship. I had said I hoped it didn’t remind me too much of Oosterdam and it didn’t. Only the odd one or two things were the same. There are some rooms and areas I think might not work so well, but once its filled with passengers it will be a totally different story and places will come alive. I’m really, really looking forward to our cruise in a couple of weeks and getting to explore her properly. Remember I had less than an hour to gather an opinion on her before I went into lunch so its probably not a fair assessment.
She seems to have such a lot of new and well thought out features but I do have reservations about her attracting the right passenger profile for what she is aimed at. I just don’t think there are enough 40 - 50 year olds with a disposable income to cruise on her all the time. I do think she will fill up with the older passenger who may not use the facilities to their full potential. (Older people I’m not having a pop at any of you. My mums old and She’s great, plus of course I’ll be old too soon! Its just a general statement) Maybe she will lack a bit of something too with not having any smiley little kids about the place? We shall see.
So will she become my favourite ship instead of Aurora?? Probably not as she doesn’t welcome my 16 year old daughter so that cuts her from my options. Aurora was built for the British cruise market and I like that. I don’t think the same can be said about Arcadia as they have had to adapt what they were given.

Review by Jane in WLC

More from Jane at http://www.gocruisewithjane.co.uk/

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review by . February 13, 2010
Arcadia's in Oslo
   This was our third cruise aboard P&O's Arcadia which took place in December 2009.      Maybe not the most popular itinerary at this time of year, but certainly different.    It was a ten night cruise around North West Europe, sailing from & back to Southampton.       Our first port of call was Zeebruge for Bruge.    First tip, take the ship's shuttle bus into Blankenburg & then take the train into Bruges. It …
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MS Arcadia is a British cruise liner, the second largest in the P&O Cruises fleet. She was built by the Fincantieri company of Italy in a period of just twenty months. She was launched in April 2005 and named by Dame Kelly Holmes. An earlier ship of the same name is now operating as the Ocean Village.

Arcadia was ordered by Holland America Line in 2000 as their fifth Vista class vessel. In 2003 she was allocated to Cunard Line to become their MS Queen Victoria. Shortly before her launch the decision was made to transfer the ship to the P&O Cruises fleet. As a result, Arcadia has a Cunard style mast similar to those found on the QE2 and the QM2. She also sports a modified QE2 style funnel (with cowling removed) instead of the traditional P&O style funnel found on the purpose built MV Oriana (1995) and MV Aurora.


Arcadia uses the Azipod system which is an azimuthing electric propulsion drive where the propulsion motor is installed inside a submerged azimuthing (unlimited 360 degrees) pod and coupled directly to an extremely short propeller shaft. The variable speed electric (AC/AC) drive produces smooth torque over the entire speed range including zero speed. The Azipod propulsion system gives the ship outstanding manoeuvring capabilities. It allows full turns at high speed with a radius of less than a ship length. Almost equal speed can be achieved ahead and astern. Rudders as well as stern thrusters are obsolete if an Azipod propulsion is installed ...
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