By Maria Harding, Cruise Critic contributor; Updated by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor (4.0)
10 single cabins, which will take over the floor space of Electra, the night club onboard, plus part of the current casino.
The Globe, a secondary lounge, will become the new night club and it will receive a facelift and a glass wall to improve soundproofing.
Ocean Grill, the Marco Pierre White restaurant on the ship, will also receive 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 XE.com.
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.
September 2013 Aslaw1
Really enjoyed the cruise to the Black Sea on Arcadia though nigglying irritations could so easily have limited that pleasure.
The vessel, wisely, is about to go in for a refit. It's a little tired and there are some improvements ...continue
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August 2013 conkerer
Parking in Southampton..smooth and troublefree with ACP. Embarkation comfortable and quick. Dumped hand luggage in cabin early and joined bunfight in buffet.
The cabin was comfortable even though showing signs of wear. Cabin staff were ...continue
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July 2013 custard75
ARRIVAL - Hectic journey to the port with at least 3 ships departing today. Normally we drive down overnight but this time we made the mistake of thinking it would be quiet on a Sunday and spent quite some time in queues on the motorways. Never ...continue
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