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Friday, 14 June 2013

Arcadia Cruise Review USA and Canada

Arcadia J213 Cruise Review 

USA and Canada 19th September to 13th October 2012 

The Ship 
Launched in 2005, already one major refit and another planned for the end of 2013, is she showing signs of wear ? Yes of course. Is the layout of the Piano bar in a major thoroughfare  not the best, Yes. But do we still like Arcadia ? Yes !! 

The Cabin 
We had an inside cabin in the aft section of C deck, as I said in the blog, very spacious, plenty of storage space, what more could you ask for ? Besides a window :-) it did exacerbate the movement when it got lumpy, but it must have been worse in the Suites on the stern.  

Weather  
It has been exceptional weather, there was no way I expected to be able to sit out on deck on the way over to New York, and to get sunburnt as well. New York was warm, bordering on hot sometimes. Quebec was the worst with really grey skies and rain, but the weather picked up again for our last port Charlottetown. The Atlantic on our return journey, has been a tad lumpy so far. 

Ports Of Call 
Every single port was new to us, and what a variety, from the madness of NYC to the sleeplyness of Newport or Charlottetown and everything in between. It's hard to pick a favourite as they all had something different to offer. So if you have never cruised to this part of the world, then this is really one to add to your bucket list. 

Entertainment 

Entertainments Team 
Very visible around the ship, with some extended hours especially on sea days. But if you get a chance, you must see the radio shows they do, plus they did a "variety show", well it shows Leon in a different  light, I will say no more :-) 

Headliners 
Have not been to as many shows as we would normally do, as they are getting repetitive, and I said in my blog, I don't think this troupe are the strongest we have seen, but the shows we have seen have been OK.  
As a bit of a post script ( you should never write these reviews too early ) we went to see "Killer Queen" last night, a show we have seen before, but this one seemed new somehow. I have to take my hat off to the  Headliners, this was their best show by far, and their rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, was the best I have heard, bar the original of course, so well done to them.  

Amethyst Duo 
OK for the Rising Sun 

Sunshine Band 
Ditto  

Bruce Morrison 
The only show we went to see him in was Les Mis, which we thought was good. Again third hand reports of other shows have been not so glowing 

Bobby Crush 
We had seen Bobby before, and a repeat performance did not appeal to us, so we did not go to see him. A bit like Marmite, you either love him or hate him. 

Lee Wilson 
Again, had seen Lee before on Artemis, so we did not goto see him again 

Quizzes 
It's strange sometimes the things you do on a cruise, and I know I have bored you all in my blogs in our efforts in the various quizzes we have taken part in. But onshore, we never partake in quizzes, so what drives when on board, who knows. Still, we won 5 quizzes, which I think is something of a record for us. Having said that, we did not do very well in the progressive quiz. But thanks go to Suzanne, for the quizzes  

Crew 
As always, the stars of the show, and if anything, I think they have improved the level of service they provide. With special thanks to our cabin steward  Julmax. 

Food 
MDR, we had a table of 8, and the more the cruise went on the better it got. I know lots of people say they have to change tables etc. but we have been very lucky with our table companions, and this cruise is no exception. So thanks goto Heather and Laurie, Maggie and Ken and Bridget and Margo for their excellent company. The food has been of acceptable quality considering the number they have to cater for. The menus have not been that inspiring, and are repetitive. Even with Sues extra vegetarian menu ( which does not change a lot) she has struggled to find something she likes at times. 
The Belvedere for breakfast and lunch was what you would expect from a buffet 
The Ocean Grill, I have never been a major fan of the MPW venues, and have always thought the food was not on par with the GR offerings, but I can honestly say the food this time was Excellent, so well done to the team there. 
It was also our first time in the Orchid, wonderful surroundings and excellent food, both well worth the small supplement charged, £12.95pp & £10pp respectively. 
The thing that lets everything down, IMHO, is the coffee. I manage a cup of instant in the morning, but the coffee on tap, and in the MDR is appalling and I refuse to drink it. So come on P&O, let's have something decent to drink. 

Port Presentations 
As these were all new ports to us, we decided to attend a few, and the port lecturer Graham was very knowledgable, and has an "easy" presenting style.  

Special Lectures 
We did not attend any of these, so could not make any comment, but third hand reports were positive.  

Photos 
Once home, I will sort out the many photos I have taken, and post a link, so you can have a look. 

Conclusion 
I have read many times, reports from people who do a world cruise, who then say that they are travellers rather than cruisers. Well having done this cruise, I feel a bit more like a traveller. As I said at the beginning of my blogs, this one was on my bucket list. Did it meet all expectations ? Yes, would I want to do this cruise again ? Yes 

Mel also asked the question on one of the blogs "what was the highlight(s)". That's a very difficult question to answer as there have been so many. But the sail into NYC at 4am is something not to be missed and well worth getting up early for. Our Boston sunset cruise, and watching the sky line light up as the high rise buildings switched on their lights. And of course, the fall colours, which were most prevalent in  Quebec 
But most of all, this cruise has been so,so different to anywhere else we have cruised, and so varied in the ports of call. 

Thanks as always to Sue as my editor and proof reader, as without her, my blogs would be unreadable.