P&O Arcadia Cruise Ship Review

P&O Arcadia Cruise Ship Review: A Voyage of Disenchantment

Having embarked on numerous voyages with P&O Cruises, accumulating over 115 nights at sea, our latest journey aboard the Arcadia was one we had eagerly anticipated. Our experiences with P&O had always set the benchmark for what we considered exemplary cruising—until now. This review reflects on a voyage that transformed anticipation into disappointment, challenging our loyalty to a once-favoured cruise line.

P&O Arcadia at Mayflower Cruise Terminal, Southampton - Sail Away Magazine
Credit: P&O Arcadia at Mayflower Cruise Terminal, Southampton / Sail Away Magazine

Embarkation: A Prelude to Disappointment

The embarkation process in Southampton, notorious for its inefficiency, was an unwelcome introduction to our cruise. The long, disorganized queues and the seemingly arbitrary boarding call order contrast starkly with the streamlined processes of other lines such as Royal Caribbean and MSC. This chaotic start, unfortunately, foreshadowed the myriad issues we would encounter aboard the Arcadia.

Cabin Cleanliness: A Concerning Oversight

Our accommodation aboard Arcadia, while expectedly dated, was marred by a lack of cleanliness that was frankly unacceptable. The discovery of long black hairs scattered across our balcony and deck furniture necessitated multiple complaints before resolution, with the hotel manager’s explanation attributing the issue to rain rather than acknowledging a failure in housekeeping standards.

Deluxe Balcony Cabin aboard P&O Arcadia - P&O Cruises
Credit: Deluxe Balcony Cabin aboard P&O Arcadia / P&O Cruises

Service Shortcomings: The Vanishing Turndown

The omission of the nightly turndown service, a longstanding hallmark of the cruise experience, was a notable departure from the quality service we had come to associate with P&O. The expectation that we would attend to our own bedding arrangements was both surprising and disappointing, indicative of broader issues with service and staffing aboard the Arcadia.

Dining Disappointments: A Culinary Letdown

The dining experience aboard Arcadia fell drastically short of expectations. The inability to secure reservations at specialty restaurants Sindhu and Ocean Grill, coupled with the underwhelming offerings at the buffet, underscored a significant decline in dining standards. Dishes that were once highlights of the cruising experience were now sources of frustration, with the quality and variety of food failing to meet even the most basic standards.

Amenities and Facilities: Missed Opportunities

The unavailability of key amenities, such as the spa and thermal suite, further detracted from our cruise experience. Additionally, the closure of the poolside grill and the indoor pool’s lackluster condition highlighted a broader issue of neglected facilities and amenities aboard the Arcadia, detracting from the ship’s appeal and undermining the value of the cruising experience.

Oasis Spa aboard P&O Arcadia - P&O Cruises
Credit: Oasis Spa aboard P&O Arcadia / P&O Cruises

Ship’s Condition: Signs of Neglect

Arcadia’s dated appearance and maintenance issues were evident throughout the vessel. Leaks, worn furnishings, and a general sense of wear and tear were disappointingly common, suggesting a lack of investment in the ship’s upkeep. This neglect not only impacted the aesthetic appeal of the Arcadia but also raised concerns about the commitment to passenger comfort and safety.

Hygiene and Cleanliness: A Questionable Priority

Encounters with cleanliness issues extended beyond our cabin, with observations of poor hygiene standards in dining areas and public spaces aboard the ship. The apparent disregard for thorough cleaning and sanitation, especially in the context of dining, was both concerning and indicative of a broader lapse in operational standards.

Palladium Theatre aboard P&O Arcadia - P&O Cruises
Credit: Palladium Theatre aboard P&O Arcadia / P&O Cruises

Dining Variety and Quality: A Stark Decline

The limited variety and diminished quality of dining options aboard Arcadia were stark departures from previous experiences. The repetitive and uninspired menu offerings, coupled with a noticeable reduction in the quality of ingredients and preparation, reflected a cost-cutting approach that compromised the dining experience.

Service and Staffing: An Evident Strain

The impact of staffing shortages and the apparent misallocation of crew members were acutely felt in all areas of service aboard Arcadia. The diminished presence and attentiveness of staff, from dining to cabin service, highlighted a significant operational challenge, contributing to a sense of neglect and diminishing the overall cruise experience.

Concluding Reflections: A Farewell to P&O

The culmination of these issues aboard the Arcadia has prompted a reevaluation of our loyalty to P&O Cruises. The decline in standards, from service and dining to maintenance and amenities, contrasts sharply with the quality once synonymous with the brand. This cruise not only fell short of expectations but also marked a turning point in our cruising preferences.

P&O Arcadia Docked in Rotterdam - Sail Away Magazine
P&O Arcadia Docked in Rotterdam – Sail Away Magazine

Looking Forward: A Search for Alternatives

As we reflect on this experience, the decision to explore other cruise lines becomes not just a consideration but a necessity. The cruise industry offers a plethora of options, and our future voyages will seek out those that uphold the standards of excellence and value that P&O once embodied for us. The journey aboard Arcadia was a lesson in how quickly and significantly a cruise line’s standards can shift, underscoring the importance of continuous evaluation and adaptation in the pursuit of quality cruising experiences.

Find Out Why We Would Never Sail On P&O Arcadia Again!

P&O Arcadia Ship Review - Sail Away with Dan & Jay
Credit: P&O Arcadia Ship Review / Sail Away with Dan & Jay