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P&O Cruises: Arcadia

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Arcadia Review

Love it or hate it. The Arcadia is a larger ship showing her age while offering traditional cruise cuisine, facilities, and entertainment that may keep passengers smiling or grimacing. At the end of 2013 the ship will go into dry dock, nearly five years after its last

multimillion-dollar refurbishment. When it returns, its updated features will include 10 single cabins using reconfigured space from the disco and casino, updated rooms with softer furnishings, a new soundproof nightclub, and rehauled interior design for Marco Pierre White’s Ocean Grill restaurant. The Arcadia transformation will be completed before her 2014 world cruise.

Exclusively for adults, the Arcadia is a mid-size ship carrying 2,388 passengers at full capacity. Her understated elegance is highlighted by an extensive art collection of nearly 3,000 works that showcases modern British artists. A three-tier theater, two-deck fine dining restaurant, and luxurious spa outfitted with a thermal suite and hydrotherapy pool distinguish this ship from others in the P&O fleet. The New Horizons activity program utilizes the services of leading specialists and offers such classes as tai chi, painting, Reiki, and garden design.

P&O's first new ship Arcadia was built on Holland America Line's Vista-class platform (indeed, she was destined to be a Holland America Ship until Carnival acquired P&O in 2003), but the new owners made modifications to suit British tastes. She offers a relaxed pace and stylish accommodations. Her signature features include exterior glass-fronted elevators, a celebrity chef restaurant, and expansive panoramic views from the Sky Deck. A refined yet lively British Victorian–style pub is a favorite of repeat cruisers. Special attention is paid to daily activities, entertainment, and recreation to ensure relaxation of mind, body, and spirit.

Since 1937, P&O Cruises (originally the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company) has been a force in passenger shipping. Although the company's suggestion that they invented leisure cruising cannot be proven, P&O is assuredly a pioneer of modern cruising. The company acquired Princess Cruises in 1974. P&O then purchased Sitmar Cruises and merged it with Princess in 1988, and the passenger-cruise business—known as P&O Princess—was spun off in 2000.

P&O Cruises is the oldest cruise in the world and remains Britain's leading cruise line, sailing the U.K.'s largest and most modern fleet. The ships are equipped with every traditional big-ship amenity, including swimming pools, stylish restaurants, spas, bars, casinos, theaters, and show rooms.

Seven ships in the P&O fleet offer a diverse range of venues for relaxation and entertainment, including cocktail bars, nightclubs, cinemas, games rooms, and cabaret lounges. Enjoy live bands, dramatic musicals, and deck parties, cabaret singers, comedians, specialty acts, classical recitals, and concerts. Theme evenings include tropical, 1960s and '70s, or Black and White Ball. Other activities include quizzes and panel games, with prizes awarded to winning teams. A select number of itineraries offer the opportunity to spend the evening, or even overnight, in port.

An abundance of balcony and outside cabins on P&O ships ensures that a view to the sea is never far away. Accommodations, from inside cabins to lavish suites, cater to a wide cross section of budgets and tastes. In the interest of passenger health and safety, smoking has been prohibited indoors, including in all cabins and suites and on private balconies. Outdoor smoking venues are published on board.

To offer passengers a variety of choices, P&O has adapted their fleet to match the preferences of their primary markets. Although most of the ships cater to families as well as couples and singles of all ages, Arcadia, Adonia, andOriana are adults-only ships. The Aurora, Azura, Oceana, and Ventura complete the P&O armada and welcome both adults and children. Following customer feedback, P&O announced major refurbishments for the Ventura, Oceana, and Arcadia in 2013.

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What You Should Know


  • New Horizons adult education program has been a popular addition
  • The ship offers fine international dining with a celebrity chef restaurant
  • The Palladium Theater is a grand space for evening production shows


  • The educational enrichment program and workshops have an extra fee
  • Exterior glass-front elevators may not be suitable for passengers suffering seasickness, claustrophobia, or fear of heights
  • There's an extra charge to use the thalassotherapy pool and thermal suite
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 880
  • Entered Service 2005
  • Gross Tons 83,500
  • Length 936 feet
  • Number of Cabins 1,008
  • Passenger Capacity 2,388
  • Width 96 feet

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