Arcadia Review

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66% of cruisers loved it
  • Adults-only vessel great for couples
  • Massive refit in late 2008
  • Majority of ship's staterooms feature verandahs

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Arcadia Overview

(4.0) 4.0 out of 5+ star rating
Editor's Note: Arcadia went into drydock in December 2013, some five years after it underwent a multimillion pound refit at the Lloydwerft shipyard in Bremerhaven, Germany. Some of the new features include:

10 single cabins, which take over the floor space of Electra, the night club onboard, plus part of the current casino.

The Globe, a secondary lounge, became the new night club and received a facelift and a glass wall to improve soundproofing.

Ocean Grill, the Marco Pierre White restaurant on the ship, received a new look.

Arcadia once sailed as the largest custom-built ship for the British market -- that was until P&O Cruises' Ventura joined the fleet in April 2008. However, Arcadia wasn't always destined to sail under the P&O Cruises flag. Carnival Corp. actually intended this ship to be Cunard's Queen Victoria, but later decided to allocate it to whichever one of its multifarious brands that could make best use of it.

Because of this, P&O Cruises diehards may find Arcadia's international style less to their taste than that of more traditionally British P&O-style vessels like Oriana; though like all the company's ships, Arcadia scores highly on cleanliness and the kind of smooth running operation that results from the deployment of top notch organizational skills.

And the ship proved to be a bit of a ground-breaker for P&O Cruises. Together with Artemis (Princess Cruises' former Royal Princess which was subsequently replaced by Adonia), Arcadia is both an adults-only vessel and one of the first in the P&O Cruises fleet on which -- thanks to its Bermudian registry -- the captain can marry couples while the ship is actually at sea.

The first weddings were conducted in May 2006 in the ship's Viceroy Room, which can be adapted as a wedding chapel, and a variety of wedding packages are available comprising the ceremony, photography, flowers (from the ship's own florist's shop) and a range of celebrations from a simple Champagne reception to lunch or dinner in the ship's top restaurant, Marco Pierre White's Ocean Grill.

The upshot of all these innovations has been the creation of a stylish ship in tune with 21st-century middle class tastes and with enough distinctive features to hold its own in an increasingly competitive cruise market. Arcadia has a few weak spots -- notably the lack of private dining arrangements during breakfast and lunch -- but overall it is an elegant, good quality ship with plenty of facilities and varied activities to keep passengers amused. As always, P&O Cruises' British officers score highly on sociability, and the multinational crewmembers, which includes a large proportion of folks from Goa (in the P&O Cruises tradition), provide very friendly and efficient service.

In 2008 it underwent a refurbishment, which saw a number of major changes including 34 new cabins at the aft of the ship -- most outside, with a few inside cabins; a new bar in the aft area; a revamped photo gallery with more space and privacy given for portrait sittings and the addition of equipment for passengers to download; and a boutique cinema with a raised floor and reclining chairs, which replaced the Cyber Study.

Editor's Note: Prices for various and sundry -- from restaurant service fees to spa treatments -- are in British pounds (GBP). For current exchange rates, please visit
Arcadia Fellow Passengers
The majority of passengers are British and you can expect to find everybody from cafe owners to physicians enjoying a cruise. As always with the British en masse, there is a certain amount of subdued - and rather entertaining - social oneupsmanship, but the atmosphere is largely relaxed and friendly.
Arcadia Dress Code
P&O Cruises still attracts enough middle-class British passengers to make dressing up a competitive sport, for the women at least (some brought along five suitcases crammed with clothes for a fortnight's cruise).

That said, nobody is forced to participate in the fashion-plate stakes, and while most people enjoy dressing up for Captain's welcome and farewell formal nights, on other evenings anything reasonably smart is perfectly acceptable.
Arcadia Gratuity
The going rate is 3.95 GBP per person, per diem on tips for cabin steward and waiter, which is automatically added to your bill. Other tips are at your discretion.

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Arcadia Member Reviews 174 Reviews
   Sadly disappointing
December 2014

This cruise took place over New Year, we went in order to get a bit of sunshine. It was not Arcadia's fault sunshine was at a minimum.

So we got to Southampton slightly earlier than our check in time but that was not a problem. Checking ...continue

   Great value
December 2014

This was our second cruise, the first being on the Carnival Spirit to Alaska 2 years ago. I had read quite a few negative comments about P&O in general and the Arcadia in particular on this site so I was slightly cautious about the whole ...continue

   Iberian Coast; Arcadia J421; December 9th 2014
December 2014

Arcadia cruise 9-20 December 2014 cruise J421

Our first impression was a good one as we arrived at the new Mayflower Teminal. It is very well designed and set out, much improved on the "shed" we were in in 2008.

We had to wait two ...continue

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Arcadia Ratings
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Baltic & Northern Europe
Caribbean - All
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Ship Stats
Crew: 880
Launched: 2005
Decks: 11
Tonnage: 83,781
Passengers: 1,950
Registry: Bemuda
CDC Score: 87
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