Arvia Christmas/New Year Cruise. K204
Dennis Terrett | January 17, 2023 | P&O Cruises | Arvia
We had a very enjoyable cruise on the Iona late January 2022. As a result we booked for the Christmas and New Year cruise 2022 on the Arvia. It became the maiden voyage and that enhanced our expectations for a happy and memorable event.
We chose freedom dinning, why change when it always worked well previously? We found that a system of ‘Book by App’ was being used, to which we do not subscribe. It resulted in large queues for everything including meals and theatre. Previously on ships a first come worked well. Prior to joining the ship we were sent an e-mail asking our choice of time and preferred restaurant for the Christmas and New Year Dinner. Although we were not familiar with the ship we completed the request, only to find on board that P&O had none of the replies, which resulted in queues greater than an hour to be seated for the Christmas meal. Not very jolly. Following that, we were then asked to queue for over an hour to book a table and time for the New Year Dinner. The only choice available was not in a main dining room, but in the Horizon Café with extra decoration and waiters, but normally the self-service buffet. It should be noted that the food on all occasions was excellent, both in choice and quality.
We appreciate that it was the first cruise for the ship, but not for P&O. The waiting staff required training. There were often long waits between courses, sometimes in excess of thirty minutes, left with empty plates from the previous course. In the Crows Nest we ordered coffee and waited thirty minutes, after which we went to the bar to check why there was a delay, to then find that one coffee was waiting on the bar and having asked about the other decaf coffee was told that it would be taken to our table. After ten minutes and still no coffee it was necessary to return to the bar to have the coffee produced, by which time the first coffee had been consumed. The bar was NOT busy at that time, mid-morning with few passengers.
We returned to our cabin to find that most of the lights were not working. An electrician was sent and the problem was resolved. However, a few days later an identical fault occurred and after various inspections into the electrics, it was found the fridge was the cause and for the rest of the cruise we had none. Our excellent cabin steward brought us ice, but it was not as convenient. Surely the ship had spare fridges.
The lifts were unbelievable. We spent with the other passengers so much time waiting for lifts, some of which were out of order. Together with others, we found that there were times when they arrived full after long wait that it paid to go up in a lift, to then finally go down to get to a lower deck and vice versa. The controlling software allowed most to be parked on the lower decks while we waited on the upper decks for a long time. We never saw anyone working to repair them.
When in port there was lack of signage to know which deck to choose to go ashore.
The disembarkation was a shambles. We had papers to direct us to the Headliners Theatre for 8-55 and there were queues everywhere, with staircases blocked with people, even into the Casino. There were no announcements to help and no staff to sort anything out or make a difference. When we eventually pushed our way into the theatre nearly an hour later we found that the theatre was almost empty. We finally were ushered through the passages and off the shop into the building with the cases. Another free for all then occurred, with inadequate exits for the volume of people with their cases. Once outside and we found that our pre booked taxi could not wait as we were well over an hour and a half late.
As a plus, the ship staff were cheerful and our cabin steward excellent. In the theatre Tom Ball and Ronan Keating were excellent, but some of the others were not so good. The choice of films was good. We liked the festive decorations.
During the last few days £150 on board spending was given to each person up to two per cabin as compensation for the problems, with about two days left to spend it and so the early general problems were known. We are in our eighties and have been cruising regularly for thirty years, but have never experienced these horrendous happenings. We are booked to be on the Aurora R320 next October and have considered cancelling. However as we know P&O can do better than that we hope that they can prove it to us, otherwise it is the end.
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