P&O Arcadia – Ship Review

So I have finally managed to finish my review of P&O’s Arcadia…it’s a long one I’m afraid, but I hope it is comprehensive and helpful to fellow cruisers.

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As I mentioned in a previous post Embarkation was quick and efficient, our allocated check-in was not until 2pm. As we had a 3.5 hour drive and the fact that the 3 Cunard Queens were all in port we decided we would drive down early to beat the traffic, we were prepared to more waiting if they were strict on the check in times. This didn’t cause any problems at all as we arrived at approx. 11am and were onboard ship eating lunch by 12 Noon. We were sailing from Mayflower terminal which seems to be a smaller terminal than Ocean, we went into the building and were straight into a queue (not a problem for us, but there was no seating, which I could see being a problem for others), we were almost at the front of the queue and they stopped checking in, but this was due to an issue at security, one of the machines had stopped working so this was getting backed up. However, within a matter of 10 minutes this was sorted and check in resumed.

Cabin: C190
Location: Towards Aft, Port side  (back on the left)

The cabin was a good size, it had a queen size bed (you can have 2 singles if you prefer), 2 seater sofa, table, Vanity Unit/Desk and Chair. The balcony, again was a good size with 2 chairs, foot stool and table. The balcony was not overlooked or obstructed.

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The location of the cabin was OK, deck wise it was excellent as we were only ever a few decks up or down from everything. It was excellent for the Main Dining room, Belvedere Buffet & Aquarius Pool (just 3 decks down or up and you were there).

It was less OK for the Neptune pool as you either had to walk through the buffet or walk to midship on your deck first, but again it was only 3 decks up.

It wasn’t great…and it was a longer walk that’s all, if you wanted to go to the Palladium Theatre, Crows Nest, Spa, shops and some bars – this wasn’t really a problem for us, however if you left something in your cabin and you were at the front of the ship it felt like every such a long way back!!

Cabin Facilities

There was lots of wardrobe space, but not really any drawers, although in the wardrobes there were shelves and you could also make extra shelves if required. There were plenty of coats hangers, however none with clips on, you know the ones I mean…ones you can hang up a skirt which has no hangy things in it!!

There was a nice big flat screen TV on the wall so it didn’t take up any desk/vanity space. There were quite a few channels showing a variety of programmes, although I did find they got repeated…then again we were on holiday so TV wasn’t the reason we were there!! We did suffer from satellite…or lack of a few times.

There was a small fridge, it took a while to cool stuff down but it was a welcome addition to the cabin. Unusual for cruises, but a standard on P&O, being British were kettle and Tea/Coffee making facilities, there were decent size mugs too.

A hairdryer was provided. Also Binoculars and a World Map were provided which is a nice touch.

The bathroom wasn’t a bad size, plenty of hanging places and also a retractable line over the bath…yes we had a bath. Well not something you could soak a few hours away in, but it made the showering experiencing a bit more comfortable…not sure if anyone has been on a cruise before but the showers tend to be rather small with a clingy shower curtain!! Shower was excellent, it was a pretty good height, although anyone over 5 and half ft would struggle to get under it. The towels were very good quality…in fact they were sheets so were nice and big. The White Company toiletries also provided in the bathroom.

Our cabin steward was Tom Cruise…not really obviously but he was called Tomas Cruz. He was very good and whenever we left the Make Up Room note on our door he soon went in and cleaned our cabin, most days this was done as we had gone for breakfast. He did not make any towel animals, not sure if this is the norm on P&O these days?

Pool towels are provided in your cabin. This does mean that you cannot pick them up at the pool, although there are bins to put used towels in

Only 1 English plug socket and 2/3 US and European ones…if I had known I would have taken adapters!! Although it wasn’t a problem in the end. Sockets are quite close to the desk so you would struggle if it was an over sized plug

The bed was very comfortable – we had the 2 singles converted into one, making a decent size, its states King in the brochure but I would definitely say it was a Queen size. Pillows not great, although I always struggle with pillows, 2 is too high and 1 is to high enough!! Duvet rather than sheets which I much prefer, less to get tangled up in!!

Suitcases fit under the bed – you can take as much luggage as you want although they should weigh less than about 23/20kg (our documentation said 20kg, the sign at the port said 23kg). A note for disembarkation, if you want to opt for self Help, you will be first off the ship (we were allowed off at 7.15am) but you do need to carry off ALL your own luggage to take advantage of this…I would definitely recommend if you have driven your self down.

Pools, Restaurants and Bars

Aquarius Pool & Bar – This is the outdoor pool right at the back of the ship, it was a much smaller pool than Neptune, there were also 2 spa pools. There were plenty of sunbeds too. I only managed to use this pool twice due to the weather being too cold. It was also closed for the last 2 days of our cruise which I was quite disappointed about.

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Neptune Pool & Bar – I spent a lot of time here, it has a retractable roof which was unfortunately closed for the duration of our cruise. It was nice to be able to sit around the pool without being cold!! The pool was a decent length for swimming, although if there was more than 4 people in at a time it got a bit crowded…especially when people decided to do widths instead of lengths! There were also 3 spa pools, I was a bit disappointed with these as they weren’t always very hot not did they bubble much. The bar service in this area was a bit hit and miss, but then again it didn’t feel like you were constantly being asked if you wanted a drink. There is also a Grill which served Burgers/Hot Dogs/Sandwiches, I never tried anything from here so cannot really comment, although it was handy for if you wanted a snack by the pool.

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We did not visit the Main dining room for dinner as we were allocated second seating and it was just too late so I cannot review this. We did visit both the specialty restaurants; Marco Pierre White’s Ocean Grill, we dined early and had a great table by the window. The service and ambiance of the restaurant was very nice, it was lovely and quiet too. The food was good, I especially enjoyed the Chocolate dessert. We also enjoyed a bottle of Champagne 🙂

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Atul Kochhar’s East, again we had a window seat with excellent views as we sailed along. Although we enjoyed the food I wouldn’t say it was outstanding (although we have an excellent local Indian so it had a lot to live up to!)

As a buffet goes the Belvedere Buffet was very good. Food was always hot and there was a very good bar service. We dined here for all 3 (and the rest) meals of the day. For Breakfast you could have pastries, full English (although they did not have Black Pudding!), cheese & ham, Waffles and pancakes…

Lunch had a variety of pastas, fish, pies, fries…

For Dinner each evening there was a different theme and unlike during the day the tables were set up, this made it feel a bit more formal; Indian, Italian, Country & Western (?!)…There was always salad and fruit available as well as lots of yummy looking desserts.

My favourite bar was the Crow’s Nest as it was on deck 10 and had amazing all round views. Spinnakers and the Piano Bar were also nice but were more people watching locations. The Rising Sun pub was good for quizzes, but I found it quite cold…

I also loved the fact that they serve Costa Coffee on board (for an additional fee of course), this was available in either Cafe Vivo or Spinnakers. My only criticism of Cafe Vivo was that there were no windows and the seating wasn’t that comfortable for relaxing. I usually got a coffee to take away and sat in the piano bar or up at the pool.

There is quite a big shop selling jewelry, watches, clothes, souvenirs but i found that most things were very expensive so I did not buy anything, they also had an ‘Essentials’ shop which sold chocolate, medicines and toiletries, ship branded souvenirs, very useful if you have forgotten anything.

There seemed to be lots of elevators on the ship (although we rarely used them as we vowed to take the stairs for the duration of of vacation). Midship there are elevators on the edge of the ship, which were pretty cool as you could see out as you ascended/descended!

I didn’t use the Spa, although I had a tour on the first day and there were lots of facilities, including a thermal suite and hydrotherapy pool. It cost £100 for the week for one person to use all the facilities. They also had some offers on the treatments if you purchased more than one. Overall I feel this was quite overpriced which was the main reason for not using it.

Overall Arcadia is a great ship, not too big, but not too small, however being an adult only ship we did feel a little young!!!

I hope you enjoyed my review and found it useful. If you have any more questions I would be happy to answer them 🙂

Happy Cruising!

Emma x

Norway Cruise – Stavanger & Flåm

We have been back from our cruise just over a week now, it seems such a long time ago. I won’t bore you with a day by day account of what we did but I wanted to show you some of the places we visited on our travels. This was the second cruise we have been on to Norway and we visited the same ports which gave us the freedom to do our own thing rather than going on official excursions.

Stavanger

Stavanger is the gateway to the spectacularly scenic Fjordland of Norway.  The ship docks right in the town, it was Sunday, so everything was closed!! Last time we were here it was May Day…everything was closed!! Oh well at least we didn’t spend any money.

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We had a walk around the town, along the port past the Petroleum Museum and the Greenpeace boat, then through Gamle Stavanger, the old town which has pretty 200 year old white wooden houses. It is also home to the Norwegian Canning museum.

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Emma’s Tip: If you need Wifi head over to Burger King which is only a short walk from the port, or McDonalds which is just around the corner!

Flåm (little place between steep mountains), Sognefjord

Sognefjord is the world’s longest (204km) and deepest (1308m) fjord. It is overlooked by snow capped mountains and surrounded by cascading waterfalls. Flåm is nestled in the innermost part of Sognefjord. The extraordinary Flåm railway (the Flåmsbana) rises more than 2845ft above sea level in just 12 miles.

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We did not go on any organised excursions as this is the second time we have been here, however I would definitely recommend the railway. The first time we were here we took the train up the mountain and on the way back were dropped off and rode the rest of the way down on bicycles…this was fantastic.

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This time we took a walk up the road for about 3 miles then walked back to the ship, a nice 6 mile walk in before lunch 🙂 The scenery is absolutely awesome, snow capped mountains against a lovely blue sky.

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Some Mountain Goats, mmmmeeehhhhh, mmmmeeehhhhh…

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Flåms lovely little church

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This sign made me chuckle :0)

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Before we could sail off back down the Fjord the ship had to turnaround…hmmm…this could be tricky. It is difficult to show on pictures how the ship turned around in such a narrow space. It is a surreal experience, sitting up on deck watching the scenery move as the captain slowly but surely turned the ship 180 degrees.

Once we had made it safely round it was time to get dressed for dinner.
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Whilst sailing past stunning scenery
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I hope you enjoy my photos of Stavanger and the stunning Flåm.
Until next time.
Emma x

Norway Cruise – Part One

Hallo!

I am currently sat in the Spinnaker Bar aboard the mv Arcadia. I am enjoying a Costa Gingerbread Latte (my favourite!!) whilst looking out on spectacular views of the Fjords of Norway and listening to classical music (how very refined!!).

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This is the first chance I have had to write my blog since my brief post from Southampton on Friday, there is so much to tell but I won’t bore you with all the details right away!!

We arrived at the Port at approx. 11am, we dropped off our car at the terminal, our luggage was whisked away and off we went to check in – so far this is a breeze! There was a fairly big queue but it moved pretty quickly, we checked in and received our ‘Cruise Cards’, went through security and were sitting in the Belvedere buffet by 12 noon. All in all it was an extremely quick and easy check in, a fabulous start to our cruise vacation.

After we had eaten (the first if many many meals) we had to wait for about an hour and a half until our cabin was ready, we passed the time relaxing by the Neptune pool, this pool has a retractable roof which is really good as it means you can still enjoy the pool even if the weather isn’t great…we are expecting it to be closed for the majority of this cruise!!

Once our cabin was ready off we went, our luggage hadn’t yet been delivered however we could see our suitcases so the other half went and snaffled them (naughty, naughty), but it meant we could unpack and get everything tided away. We had a deluxe balcony cabin, right at the aft (aka back for non sailors!) end of the ship. The cabin had a nice big bed (queen size in English terms I reckon), small sofa, big flat screen TV (this was a surprise to me as all the photos I had seen they had been tiny, not that we’re on holiday to watch TV), we even had a bath (not really long even to enjoy a soak in, but it did mean that having a shower was much easier and obviously a balcony!! I will be doing a full review of the ship when we return home so if you would like more info on the cabin and its facilities come back then!!

We were due to sail at about 4.30pm, so we got wrapped up (it was a bit windy up on deck) and went to the Sun Deck (Deck 10), the Entertainment team were hosting the Sail Away party. As I mentioned in my previous post it was a special day for Southampton as the three Cunard Queens (Mary 2, Victoria and Elizabeth)had sailed in together in the morning and were due to sail out together later that night – all in celebration of Queen Mary 2’s 10th Anniversary. We were lucky enough to sail out past all three. Although windy the weather was glorious as we sailed out, we even got sun (or maybe wind) burn!!

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If you have ever been on a cruise you will know that there are 2 sittings for dining, we usually opt for first sitting as we don’t like to eat late, however as we booked this last minute we we not given a choice and had been allocated the 2nd sitting which wasn’t until 8.45pm!!! We had been up since 5am and there was no way we could stay up that later to eat dinner, I would be asleep in my Soup!! So we opted to go to the Belvedere Buffet, it was very good, we had a table by the window and it was very quiet, big thumbs so far. Even better you can jsut keep going back for more…I can us taking a few extra pounds home with us!! After dinner we went and had a drink in the Crows Nest, a lovely bar at the front of the Ship on deck 10, it offers some great views.

We only made it till 8.30 and off to bed we went.

Farvel!

Emma x

 

 

My Week

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I’ve not been up to much this last week, we have however booked our next vacation…yippeee!! We are off on a P&O Cruise to Norway…next week. Now I don’t think I am going to be doing much sunbathing 😦 I have been keeping and eye on the weather and although it is sunny it isn’t much much warmer than 10 degrees…oh well I will keep my fingers and toes crossed.

We are going on Arcadia, an adult only ship…hmm I am hoping me and the hubby are not the youngest on the ship!! We are super excited though to have some a chance to relax and enjoy great food, wine, cocktails and some stunning scenery. Look out for Ship and Port reviews over the next few weeks. Anybody have any experiences of P&O’s Arcadia ship?

So what else have I been up to…well I told you about starting the 30 day shred, I am still keeping it up, I managed to progress to Level 2 a week or so ago and last night I even tried Level 3!! I am definitely feeling it today! I must say I feel the difference between levels 1 and 2 was much more difficult than 2 and 3, anyone out there tried it ? What do you think?

I also went to the hairdressers to get my holiday ‘do’, I have been thinking about it for a while and finally got round to it. I had blonde highlights and loads chopped off…I love it, although it won’t look anything like this when I try and do it!!

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I inherited a new FABULOUS bag from my friend Amy at work…I can’t wait to show it off.

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Until next time. Goodnight

Emma x