P&O Arcadia

P&O Arcadia Adults Only Cruise Ship

cruise ship New Zealand

P&O Arcadia in Auckland, New Zealand

P&O UK has a fleet of 8 ships. Their homeport is in Southhampton, England. P&O also has an Australian division sailing out of Sydney with 5 different ships. Of P&O’s eight British ships, 3 are for adults only including the Arcadia on which we joined one leg of a world cruise. People taking the full cruise round trip from Southhampton had a voyage of about 4 months crossing the Pacific and Atlantic oceans twice each. Our leg of the cruise lasted three weeks from Valparaiso, Chile to Sydney, Australia. About half the passengers on the ship changed over in Chile, with the majority of those disembarking in Sydney. Along the way some who had boarded prior to Chile disembarked in Auckland, New Zealand and new passengers boarded there. Unlike shorter cruises where everyone embarks and disembarks at the same place, on world cruises different people are aboard for all sorts of different durations.

cruise line information

History of P&O

cruise ship info

P&O Fleet from wall poster on Arcadia

The ship had a display with info about the history of P&O and information about each of their 8 UK ships. On this sign it said the ship holds 2094 passengers and 866 crew. Of the crew about half work in food, whether cooking it, serving it, or making sure it all gets done. A quarter of the others take care of the cleaning end of things, both staterooms and public areas. Which leaves a quarter of the crew for all the other jobs combined.

man overboard ring

Arcadia life ring on the promenade deck

Arcadia is a midsize ship, the largest of P&O’s ships classified as midsize and 4th largest in their fleet of 8. It is one of 3 ships they have designated for adults only along with the Oriana and Adonia. Arcadia began service in 2005. The ship is 951.1 feet long, 105.6 feet wide, and powered by 6 diesel engines. It has 11 passenger decks, most with cabins, but several with public areas only. Commissioned originally for Holland America, during the building process it was switched first to Cunard and then to P&O so the ship has same hull design as some Holland America ships and same style funnel as Cunard.

cruise ship art

Arcadia Spa Sculpture

cruise ship art

Atrium Sculpture, Holland America Veendam









Some things about the Arcadia remind me of Holland America’s Veendam, like the small atrium that only opens up 3 stories. The glass elevators on the outsides of the ship and the hydrotherapy pool look just like the Westerdam, which is the same ship class as the Arcadia. The cabin was also just like what we had on Westerdam. Funny that it reminds me of Veendam as well since they are not same class of ship as each other. Perhaps Veendam comes to mind because the sculpture in the hydrotherapy pool area looks something like a miniature of Veendam’s atrium sculpture.

full tea service in every cabin

The cabins have an electric teapot and a wooden box with tea bags, instant coffee, milk, sugar, and biscuits (which in the USA would be called cookies)

We were quite impressed when we first walked into our cabin and saw a full tea service sitting on the desk. Each stateroom on all their ships has an electric tea pot and a container of tea bags, instant coffee, sweetener packets, biscuits (cookies) and some little sealed containers of milk for people to put in their coffee or tea. Because that’s what the English and Australians use – milk, not cream. The box had just one flavor of tea, but that was easily remedied by bringing back a selection from the Lido deck where they had a better selection, all Twinings brand. There was no hot chocolate in the room or available at breakfast or during the daytime, but they had hot chocolate packets on the Lido with their late night snacks, which could be brought to the cabin for later use. Funny thing about the outlets, they had just one British style outlet, but three American ones. There was also one other with a different voltage than either the one with the teapot or the American type.

cruise ship decor

Atrium ceiling looking up from 3 stories below

The ship never seemed crowded until I tried to go to the gym one morning. That’s when I found out where all the people went. I could hardly walk through it, heading to the one open treadmill, which I soon found out was open only because it didn’t work. I never tried using the gym again other than attending a couple of their free exercise classes.

cruise ship captain

Captain Trevor Lane on Black & White Black Tie Night

I went down to the promenade deck instead, which circles around the outside of the ship on deck 3 and joined in with the people walking or jogging around the ship most mornings. Literally walking or jogging around the ship. A sign said 3 laps = 1 mile. It’s a British ship so I’m not sure why it gave the distance in miles rather than kilometers. (Apparently learning new things can come from blogging as well as traveling. A British commenter said they use miles there.) Another sign said Walk This Way, with an arrow. I couldn’t help but think of Aerosmith and their song Walk This Way whenever I saw that sign.

Arcadia cruise ship

Promenade Deck

They had deck chairs around the inner edge in some of the wider areas and in one section on each side, tables and chairs. My first morning jogging there I saw a crew guy at the starboard tables and didn’t think much of it until the next lap around when suddenly there were ash trays on the tables and people smoking. Having a smoking area where people are trying to exercise seems counterproductive. Work out or die trying? After that I tried to get out there early enough to get finished before anyone started smoking so I wouldn’t have to leave before I was done to avoid going past them. Arcadia allows outside smoking in designated areas on several outside decks and no indoor smoking.

free laundry on a cruise

Arcadia launderette

Arcadia has launderetts on 3 floors, with a row of 3 stacking washers & dryers and one ironing board in each. Unlike any other ship I’ve been on that had self-serve passenger laundries, these machines don’t take coins or cards – they are free to use. They did not have soap vending machines in the laundries so anyone not bringing their own soap had to go buy some from the ship’s shops. Launderettes are a bonus on any ship, and especially nice on one which generally takes long cruises as this one does. Though it can sometimes be a challenge to find an open machine, it sure beats paying the price of having the crew do your laundry for you. It’s also far more convenient than trying to hand wash things in the cabin and then find enough space for them to dry on the tiny clothesline in the shower.

British cruise ship games

people playing deck quoits

The ship has a number of places people can go to entertain themselves. It has a couple pools, several hot tubs, and plenty of deck chairs. There’s a small movie theater inside that changes movies daily and has quite a few showtimes throughout the day. Shuffleboard and deck quoits games are painted on the deck, and the equipment to play them provided. Most of the day they are open to play as you wish, but there are daily scheduled game times for official competition. Other competitions included Wii bowling, trivia games, and bingo. The ship provides other entertainment too including shows in the main theater each night and a couple lectures on a variety of subjects each seaday.

cruise bar

Piano Bar

Music plays in different venues throughout the day and each night brings entertainment in the main theater. The entertainment staff had dance lessons and Spanish classes as well as bridge lessons each day. The gym offered fitness classes, some free and some with an extra charge. The ship also had plenty of bars and shops so people could always find something to do.

cruise food

dining room on formal night

Food is almost always available somewhere. The buffet is open most of the time, the grill from late morning to early evening, the dining room at meal and tea time. Two specialty restaurants open for dinner, and a coffee shop is open most of the day where the sweets come free with purchase of tea or coffee. Of course passengers could also order room service whenever they wished, with some room service menu items offered free.

how to get unlost

navigational aids for lost cruise ship passengers

To help people find their way around each elevator bay has a you-are-here diagram of the ship and deck plan for the particular deck you are on. The carpeting is a different color on the front, mid, and aft stairways. Each stairway has a different style artwork between levels as well. The deck numbers are too small for a lot of people to see from the stairway, but if you remember which artwork hangs by the elevator on your floor or on the stairways near it then you can find your deck without needing to go look at the tiny number on the diagrams.

cruise ship swimming pool

Lido pool has sliding cover for cold or rainy days

Most of the ship’s 11 passenger decks are named for places around the world, which is probably fitting for a ship that sails around the world.

cruise ship art

picture of waterfall in Dominica from the hallway on Dominica deck

Deck 11 at the top of the ship is called the Sky deck. Deck 10 is the sun deck and deck 9 the Lido. Below that you find the ones named after places with Deck 8 called Australia, deck 7 Bermuda, deck 6 Canada, deck 5 Dominica, deck 4 Egypt, deck 3 Promenade (which is not a place, but there is an outside promenade running around the entire deck), deck 2 Florida, deck 1 Grenada, and the A deck, where passengers would go only for the medical facility or tender disembark is called Antigua.

Tahiti cruise port

Arcadia in Papeete, Tahiti

Out of all those places the only ones we haven’t been to are Egypt and Bermuda, and we do have a cruise booked that stops in Bermuda. Most of the decks named for places had hallway art from the place they were named for. There was a photo from Alaska on Canada deck though. My daughter who lives in Australia said many Aussies don’t think of Alaska as part of the USA, so perhaps the Brits don’t think so either.

Copyright My Cruise Stories 2016

About LBcruiseshipblogger

MyCruiseStories blog tells stories about adventures in cruising on ships big and small. Things to do onboard and in port. Anything connected to cruising. Also food, travel, recipes, towel animals, and the occasional random blog.
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10 Responses to P&O Arcadia

  1. cindy knoke says:

    Very thorough reveiw. Thank you! Did you enjoy your cruise?

    • We had a great time. We love sea days and this cruise had lots of them. It was fun being the foreigners for a change. There were just a handful of Americans on the ship. Lots of people from UK and Australia, a fair amount from New Zealand and Chile, and others from different places.

  2. Jamie Bradley says:

    It’s in miles as we use miles in Britain.

  3. ProsperityAndCalamities says:

    I also thought of the song when you said walk this way! Was the ship still fun even though there weren’t any kids or was it more serious than other cruise lines?

    • I think all ships are fun. We learned a new game on this ship – we had never even heard of deck quoits before. We also enjoyed the wii bowling and other than the first time did not embarrass ourselves with bad scores even though we don’t have a wii and had never played before. This ship did not have waterslides like some of the ones that cater more to families, but they all have pools and hot tubs and plenty of things to do.

  4. aFrankAngle says:

    I’ve seen P&O ships, but have never cruised on one … so thanks for the info!

  5. chris says:

    The atrium ceiling looks like a colorful eye of Sauron is staring down at everyone below. It doesn’t look so menacing with the flames replaced with bright colors though.

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