Winter no-fly cruises to the Caribbean are very good value and its not surprising that we meet up with the same people nearly every time we sail - particularly the friendly shuffle boarders. This one included Bermuda, the Bahamas and Grand Turk which made it even more popular than usual. All good ports, particularly for impressing American passengers off the ships we met who were astounded to learn that we were out for 28 nights! Mind you, judging by the fun and games aboard all the ships we met, they pack as much as we do in 28 nights into a 4 night cruise from Miami! Our taxi got us to Arcadia in good time for an early embarkation. In fact having got our luggage into the system at 1145 we had no time for coffee in the lounge and were directed straight onto Arcadia - far too early for lunch! However we learnt from our table companions later that the air bridge failed mid-afternoon and they were delayed and had to embark via the crew gangway. Captain Martin Allen was apparently first time in command and proved a steady and informative captain throughout.
The ship was a year out of refit and was in good order. We didn't really like the new seating in the Intermezzo bar as most of the comfy seating had been replaced by chairs but no doubt this practice helps accommodate the ever-increasing passenger numbers that cruise companies shoe-horn onto their vessels. Our cabin was clean and comfortable and our steward Christopher was a real gem. Always friendly, willing to meet our every request - and always had our cabin cleaned by the time we returned from breakfast. We noticed a couple of changes in the catering. At lunchtime in the Meridian restaurant the delicious curries no longer made a daily appearance sadly, particularly as P&O say they are so proud of the curry tradition on aboard their ships. More strange was the appearance of sharing plates. These don't really work if you are seated on one of the many tables for 6/8 as you may well be a fair distance from your partner! 'Company policy'. But the ever obliging crew always made a sharing plate available for one.
The other issue we had was that P&O now require their Entertainment Managers to move the time of activities on a daily basis - 'to be fair to everyone'. But no-one has ever been able to do everything they want aboard and changing the times around merely frustrated everyone wanting to get into a pattern of speakers, deck games, choir and quizzes. However full marks to EM Alex Percival (also on his first cruise 'in command') - when I commented on the 'How are Doing?' survey early in the cruise, he called me up and we met for a talk about it. The changes were 'Company policy' again.
Clean, tidy and very well looked after. We had a sliding balcony door that is unusual on cruise ships in general in our experience, and on Arcadia in particular. Apparently they are slowly replacing all the swing doors over time. It made for a very quiet (and well sound-proofed) cabin
We are lucky to live within reasonable distance of Dover, Tilbury and Southampton but the latter is always the best for managing the boarding and leaving processes - and is very good for shelter form bad weather
Very pretty, very wealthy, very clean - and very expensive! But if you can afford to eat ashore in Norway you'll be OK here. The local buses are very efficient and a good and cheap way of getting around.
We visited here 10 years ago and it has now become 'America at sea' sadly. All noise and fun, fun fun. But excellent swimming
We shared a taxi to Cane Garden Bay, once a lovely beach but now quite dirty and badly damaged by last year's hurricane unfortunately. But lovely islanders and they obviously getting back on their feet as quickly as they can
We used not to like Philipsburg as it can be very congested but we were the only (big) ship in port. The shopping is very good and the beach front is clean and well managed with lots of good bars selling excellent food and drink at good prices. We particularly enjoyed the cheap water bus from the ship to the town. Recommended. Particularly because of the jolly crew dancing to reggae tracks throughout the run. And their lovely selling refrain - 'The wind and waves may rock the ship but only you can tip the crew!' Worth a couple of dollars on its own!
Good shopping and so pleased the lovely cathedral is being so well restored. We were in with Azura and the joint sailaway was great fun
Our first time berthed at the Pointe Seraphine terminal across the bay form Castries. But the 20' walk was no problem and the ferry back worked well. The terminal itself had a host of good value shops and eating places and was very pretty
We always enjoy Bridgetown - the most sensible shopping in the eastern Caribbean. We bought what we wanted to do, going into town in a shared taxi and coming back independently - $2pp out and $4pp back! It was a very wet day here unfortunately which rather dampened everyone's enjoyment