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Friday, 14 June 2013

PO Arcadia Caribbean 2011

Arcadia J112 Cruise Review 

The Ship 
Arcadia was due a small refit, but due to overrunning work on Oriana, there will be no dry dock for her. However, at St Kitts ( I think that was that port ), they had a diver feeling her bottom all day, the Captain reported that evening, that this was a requirement by the insurance company etc, and she passed with flying colours. Other than that, beside the wifi being a bit hit and miss sometimes, the old lady looks in good fettle, which is good, as we are back on her on December for the Derren Brown weekender. 

Food 
We were on a table of eight on the lower tier of the Meridian Resturant, but for most nights we went down to four, as the buffet in the Belvedere was a great attraction to our fellow table guests. The food was to a good standard as always, but I am finding it a bit repetitive, and with less choice on the menu. As a vegetarian, Sue gets a choice from the main menus, the lunchtime menu, and a specific vegetarian menu, and even Sue has said the choice is getting smaller. I can only make the assumption that this is where P&O are trimming their costs. Also no flowers for the ladies, more cost cutting ? 
We did however eat in Arcadian Rhodes on two occasions, the quality (as always ) was a level above the MDR food, and the whole eating experience was excellent. I know the going of Rhodes from the fleet has been done to death on the forum, I even quizzed Carole Marlow about this when she was on Artemis. I'm sure it's just a commercial decision, and they feel they can make more money with MPW, but I still think it's a great loss. 
The Neptune grill, we used as an alternative for lunch sometimes, their cheese cake is well worth a try. I'm not sure how the staff work in there on the "hot days" as you could see how hot they were.  

The Belvedere we used for breakfast and lunch, ok for breakfast ( we are early risers, so no problems) . Lunch times, again, choice seemed to be less, and repetitive. Sue also struggled to find something she liked.  
We were going to try the Orchid Resturant, but there were only three  menus for the whole twenty three nights, therefore limited availability for a vegetarian choice, so we gave that a miss. 

Entertainment 

Headliners 
I have never seen a poor troupe onboard a P&O ship, and this troupe kept up the excellent standard. Polished performances all round, and it was nice to see a couple of shows we had not seen before.  One thing that did stand out for me, was how much more multi talented the troupe were. Normally singers sung, dancers danced etc. but this time, it was sometime difficult to know which was which.  

 Cabaret Singers 
Only went to see Gerard Kenny, and as you know, not my favourite form of entertainment, but Sue enjoyed the show, have had mixed reviews from other passengers. 

Lee Wilson 
we did not attend his shows, as we have seen him recently, reports from our table companions were good though.   

  
Matthew McGurk   
Both shows were highly professional, and well worth seeing if you like a bit of magic.  

The Sunshine Band 
Not my favourite band of the cruise. 

The Amethyst Duo 
Good duo for the Rising Sun, he certainly knew how to play a guitar 

Quizzes 
As you will have noticed from the blogs, we did our fair share of quizzes, in fact a lot more than we have done before. They have been varied in their subject matter, and well attended, but ( unusually for us ) we did not win one quiz. So I think the grey cells must have been on holiday also.  But excellent entertainment, if you like to pit your knowledge against others. 

Talks 
We did not attend any of the talks, as we preferred to take the air on the open decks.   

Crew 
For This section of my review, I could just copy and paste from previous reviews, as always the crew have been excellent, and it's this that make P&O cruises what they are. WELL DONE TO ALL THE CREW !!! 

Ports of call 
Besides Madiera, where the heavens opened, all of the ports have been new to us, as this has been our first Caribbean cruise, and having read and heard a lot about, "seen one Caribbean island, you have seen them all". I can honestly say that we didn't agree with this, as we have found each island different in its landscape, and in its maturity. One thing they all have in common is the warmth of the people. Never have we met people, who take out so much time to talk to you, it was so evident on the tours we did, as guides went around making sure they chatted with everyone who was on the tour, not something we have found on tours around Europe. 
Also the tours we did were varied, different from the norm, and we enjoyed them all. Can highly reccomend, the railway St. Kitts and the sub in Barbados. 


Conclusion 
This has been our longest cruise to date at 23 nights, and also our first to the Caribbean, and as such has been a totally different cruising experience, with lots of sea days, plus the new ports. It has certainly wetted our appetite for longer cruises, so we will have to see what we can do for 2013, but this has been a very enjoyable experience, and comes highly recommended. 

Thanks 
To everyone who has taken the time to read and comment on my blogs, I have to say a very big THANK YOU, as without you, my blogs would be meaningless ( some say they are anyway ) but thank you for your time, and sharing our cruise with us.  
To our table companions, June,  Marleen, Liz & John, and to Roger and Chris with whom we spent most time with at our table, and shared the most laughs with. Thank you all for sharing our cruise, and help making it such a delight. 
I also have to thank my blog Editor, Sue, for checking my speeeling and punctuation. 

And so it's the end of another cruise, but we are back in a few weeks for the Derren Brown weekend, but after that it's a long wait until next September for the USA and Canada cruise, so until then....... 

Bye bye