Lovely but needs some work
Just back from Arcadias 24 night transatlantic Caribbean trip in November 2016. Overall, a good holiday but Arcadia is in need of some work. From the start of the trip she was plagued by toilet smells on decks 2 and 3 and blockages around the ship. Several times the main toilets outside Meridien restaurant were flooded with buckets and dehumidifiers in much evidence. The accompanying smells were very off-putting. The Neptune pool area was fine but again a persistent leak of dirty brown fluid from the pool was quite worrying. The pool was drained after we left the Azores but began to leak again the following day. The staff tried to block the leak with towels without success and the fluid drained across the deck. Aquarius pool area was lovely but the pool here was roped off and out of use for most of the cruise. Staff were giving several different reasons for this ranging from chemical imbalance to leaks. The unidentified problem was eventually rectified and the pool was useable. My cabin was a pleasant surprise as I had been upgraded which was lovely but I later found out that I was upgraded so that a member of crew could have my original cabin. The crew member proceeded to tell me that the door doesn't lock properly so perhaps I had a lucky escape? Cleanliness was a issue with my cabin, there was what appeared to be a growth of some sort around the telephone cord and thick dust on the carpet behind the main cabin door where it had not been hoovered for some considerable time. The air conditioning never worked throughout the cruise and on requesting a fan for my cabin I was informed that they do not have them. My cabin was like an oven for two out of three weeks. Another problem was the shower. Great pressure but no temperature control. The shower operated at luke warm only. No amount of turning the control would cause it to run hotter or colder and when I asked for an engineer to look at it he responded that it was fine??? The public areas of the ship were disappointing as that they are not to the standard of other P&O ships. Arcadia appears a tired and in need of a major refurbishment. Cabin windows are dirty, flooring is patched. Carpets have been leaked upon and dried out but the odour still remains. Wooden trims are in a poor state of repair. The staff worked tirelessly to make our holiday enjoyable for us although I think they must have had a large intake of new crew on the day we left Southampton as they were all running around like headless chickens with no rhyme or reason. Embarkation day appeared disorganised for P&O who are normally very slick with these things but luggage was still occupying lifts and travelling companionways well into the evening of the first day causing a lot of congestion around the lifts. Disembarkation was even worse. The leaflets asking what time we would like to disembark at the end of our holiday were sent to our cabins over a week before we arrived in Southampton. It felt very much as though they couldn't wait to get rid of us. We still had one port of call but all the talk was of getting us off the ship! At the last port in Ponta Delgada the ship had an engine failure which meant that we were on back up power only. No lifts, no lights in cabins or in pubic areas, emergency lighting only. The problem was rectified but we were left without access to food or drink during the power outages. The Captaine (he pronounced it Cap-taine) sent everyone a glass of house wine as an apology during dinner but frankly it was undrinkable. The ports we visited were lovely and well worth the trip except Martinique. Grubby, expensive and nothing to do or see. Antigua was fabulous but the contrast between the visitors and residents is shocking. Its only an island paradise if you have money. St Maarten was beautiful, as were St Kitts, Tortola and St Lucia. The Azores were also worth the visit. The entertainment was reasonable but obviously aimed at the over 70's. Being somewhat younger I did feel that I was in a minority. The celebrities onboard were okay but I wouldn't go to see them elsewhere and the Headliners theatre group need more rehearsal. Their leading lady lacks allure and another one of the female dancers gurns constantly while dancing which became annoying. The food in the Belvedere 'bun run' buffet was lacklustre and not always as advertised. The menu would be put up listing all the available dishes for the evenings dinner but it was not always possible to find all of the items listed as being available. The decor was dated and there were signs that a deep clean was required. Simple things like fingerprints on lamps and glass panels were clearly visible and tables were not always wiped between diners. In the Meridien restaurant the food was much better, well cooked and presented. Here we enjoyed some excellent food and wines although the menu became a little repetitive towards the end of the cruise. Broad beans featured heavily on the menus for some reason and appeared on starters and main courses with monotonous regularity. Overall I enjoyed the trip but feel that it was overpriced especially for a single traveller. I love cruising as a way to see the world in small bites but wish that cruise companies would recognise that single travellers are a growing demographic and then cater to them accordingly with sensible pricing options. I had to pay nearly twice as much for an inside cabin (prior to free upgrade) than my parents paid each for their deluxe balcony cabin!!! How do they justify this?
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