Arcadia. Sept-Oct 2017. J715. USA/Canada
‘Sod’s Law’……..If things were going to go ‘pear-shaped’ on this cruise, it did. In isolation, some of the issues are not too serious, but collectively, it turned into a nightmare cruise. It was a nightmare cruise for P&O, the crew and staff (majority did well), and obviously and in particularly the passengers.
I will try and be brief….Up to force 9 gales all the way across the Atlantic, so a ‘rock n rollin’ start. Instead of two full days in New York. For us it was one evening and one full day. American immigration (I don’t know what communication P&O have with the Authorities??) but they do not seem to take into account the 2000 passengers plus crew to process. After docking at 9am. It was 3pm before we/our allotted group got through immigration. Newport Rhode Island cancelled (weather), Bar Harbor Maine cancelled (weather). Informed of extra (day) time in Boston. Although the ship was docked in Boston longer, in reality we still only had one full itinerary day. And again American immigration coming on board at breakfast time, causing chaos behind the scenes, making it very difficult for the staff and ultimately for the passengers. Halifax Nova Scotia, we had to be bussed/shuttled into the port terminal (200m’s away). Making it busy queuing, also sharing shuttle with another cruise ship, and also time consuming. Had to back on ship by 3pm, last shuttle 2,30pm. The Arcadia picked up a fishing line which caused damage to one of the pods. The Captain said the damage hadn’t been repaired, and we will be Halifax overnight. And we were allowed off again, but had to be shuttled again. Not enough buses initially, long queue’s, only one gangway back on, long queue’s again. Plus the neighbouring cruise ship had been to Bar Harbor the day before and had no problems (the day we should have been there??) Set sail 24 hours late. Missed Saguenay, went straight onto Quebec. Should have had two full days there, but didn’t arrive until 9pm, so only one full day. Sydney Nova Scotia cancelled. Went to Saguenay instead. The river Saguenay has the fourth largest Fjord in the northern hemisphere (I think), and on the original itinerary we would have seen it on the sail up the river in the morning. However, we sailed up at night and back at night, so never saw it. The return Atlantic crossing improved in the last 2/3 days.
The Ship……is in desperate need of fixing, updating and refurbishing. Cabin toilets not always working correctly, public toilets continually out of use (passengers regularly got reminders about what not to put down the loo’s, but I’m not sure this is all the passengers fault!!). Pipes leaking, buckets everywhere to catch the drips, wet carpets, drying machines all over. Fusty smells. Excessive loud noises from sections of the ship, inside and out, which disturbed a large number of passenger sleep. There seemed less staff?? than previous cruises. Making service and food levels not up to normal P&O expectations and standards. This is not knocking the majority of staff who were excellent. The cabin and some public areas require replacing/upgrading.
Good bits…The entertainment was good, The Headliners very good. Sindhu/Ocean Grill very good in all areas. On board bar prices reasonable and good choice of drinks. Majority of Staff and Crew (not all!!) very good.
Cost of cruise 4/5* prices. Actual value of the P&O cruise only 1/2*. I felt sorrow for some of the issues faced by P&O. But at the end of the day we pay a lot of dosh. And it’s P&O who themselves set the high expectations and standards.
To give you some context regarding this cruise, this was our third time on Arcadia (last one 5 years ago) and our 11th cruise with P&O on all the ships, except the Brittania, and this is the first major issue/problem.