Welcome to our P&O Arcadia cruise diary – something we like to put together after a cruise to remind us what we got up to each day. We do post these on our Facebook page, but like to put them all in one place when back and tidy them up a little.
We plan to do more in depth posts about what we got up to and where we went (along with videos/vlogs), so make sure you keep an eye out for them. We’ve included some prices of excursions (and links if they were not by P&O), this cruise was wholly paid for by ourselves – I have no shame to admit it, i’m tight (Gav) so you can be sure we will honestly let you know if they were worth the cost and if they were value for money.
So, let’s go and join P&O Arcadia…
Day 1 – Embarking P&O Arcadia
We arrived at QE2 terminal and were checked-in and through security within 30 minutes, which was very efficient.
Once on board we went straight to our room. An inside on deck C forward – C28. Clean and comfortable we were very happy. Some of our luggage was already there and by the time we unpacked that, the rest arrived.
As soon as we were unpacked, we went off to explore. First the Oasis Salon and Spa area before then making our way to Intermezzo to purchase the ultimate drinks package. Not for everyone but definitely something worth our while – with a have a post that explains the drinks package here if you want more information on that.
Muster was at 4:30 which was quick and painless. It seems P&O have done away with the need to bring your life jacket to the drill, which is great! It’s still in your cabin.
Once muster was over, we had a few cocktails and chatted to other guests while sailing away.
We had Freedom Dining and when we arrived about 8pm we were given a pager. About 30 minutes later we were buzzed. The food was top notch, Luke had the prawn cocktail starter and salmon main while I had the chicken pate and cannon of lamb! We enjoyed it so much we had another main each! Luke had the sticky toffee pudding and I the cheese board. Very tasty meal which we really enjoyed.
One thing to note, the wine service was very slow – I did make this known to our waiters. Hopefully it will improve in the next day or so, but if not it’s something I’ll raise with the restaurant manager.
No time for a show so we made our way to the Crows Nest. Very quiet here and the live music actually made us feel quite sleepy, so by 11:30 we were back in our cabin ready for bed.
Breakfast ordered for 8:30, so goodnight for now!
Day 2 – At Sea
We left the cabin tv on the webcam channel so as sun rose, we woke up (having an inside, this is something we always do, might change habit later in the cruise when the days are longer).
Showered and ready by 8:30, our breakfast arrived promptly which was juices, tea, coffee a fruit platter each and a panini to share.
Suitably nourished and hydrated we did a 30-minute gym session just to show willing – doubt it will make dent but we swear we were sweating gin by the end of it!
Back to the cabin to freshen up and get on with our day exploring!
In our drunken state it looks like we may have been charged for a couple of drinks last night so off to reception to get them refunded, no bother.
There was a Facebook meet-up at 10, but we didn’t notice it until after (we were still at the gym), so not sure how well attended it was.
We strolled around a little and tried to book Ocean Grill for tonight as it was 1/3 off the price, but it was fully booked.
For lunch we went to Sindhu where they had an Asian buffet (Tiffin). It was 3 small plates for just under £6, very tasty and well worth the cover charge!
Doing Sindhu tomorrow evening and the tasting menu on the 29th as we’ll be celebrating Luke’s birthday.
We spent the afternoon at the indoor pool and had an afternoon nap! We woke up around 4pm so had a coffee – the bar was closing up ready for the captain’s cocktail party so we made our way to the buffet for afternoon tea.
After some sandwiches, cakes and scones we explored the promenade before making our way up to the Crows Nest. We arrived around 5pm and the area was deserted!
After a couple of cocktails, we went back to our cabin to get ready and put our tux’s on!
Captains welcome was at 8pm, very well attended. We quite liked it was around the pool. Free drinks were readily available – not that we needed to worry with the package. We made a quick exit and headed to the main dining room for dinner before everyone else did.
A fantastic meal and the wine service tonight was much better! Comparing this to our last cruise on MSC, P&O MDR is much better! We both had the beef wellington which was delicious – we resisted a second helping tonight!
After dinner we had a stroll before having a cocktail in a hot but quiet East bar.
After that it was time to get a bottle of water and head to bed. It’s now midnight and we lose an hour – no room service for the morning, we’ll see what time we wake up!
Day 3 – Still at sea
Woke up about 9.00, so I went to the Neptune pool to grab a coffee leaving Luke to sleep. After my coffee I returned to the room with one for Luke too.
Another token gym session before heading to the buffet for breakfast! A couple of bacon and egg rolls washed down with a coffee. Yum.
Everywhere around the ship is quite busy today due to the rain. So, we popped in to the Rising Sun pub for a lunchtime beer – battle of the sexes had just started.
After our pint it was off to the shore excursions desk as we are looking at doing the Sky lift tomorrow in Olden – there was a long wait, but once at the front we managed to book the Loen Skylift on a DIY basis.
A buffet was on offer at the Neptune Pool: Sausage rolls, pasties, scotch eggs and the likes, so we had to sample some of them – nothing fabulous at all but it filled us back up!
Visibility was very poor – hoping the weather improves for tomorrow.
Luke was craving ice cream so he had one from Neptune’s Pool. We knew they were not included in the drinks package but what we didn’t realise was you do get 20% off because of the package. Nice bonus.
After a lazy afternoon of napping, we decided to give afternoon tea a miss as we were still full, loads more days left to try it. Luke had a float around in the pool which was quiet as I guess everyone had gone for tea or a nap.
This evening we had booked Sindhu – the meal was fabulous. Highly recommend this speciality restaurant and we can’t wait to return later in the cruise!
Tonight, was the first night of Astonishing – something we’ve been looking forward to since hearing it would be on board and it certainly didn’t disappoint, fabulous.
After the late show we made our way to the Crows Nest for a nightcap before bed. Early start tomorrow as we arrive in Olden.
Day 4 – Olden
Schoolboy error, we thought our clocks needed to go forward an hour so we’re up at 5am! Oh well, may as well get out and watch the stunning sail in to Olden.
The sail in was beautiful – thankfully it’s dry today and the temperature around 15 degrees and going up to around 22.
The buffet was very busy with most people up early. We’re doing the Loen Sky Lift (https://www.loenskylift.com/) but as there is no set time we will let the crowds get off first.
Around 10 o clock we decided to go to the Sky Lift. The prices on the ship were slightly cheaper than booking directly with the tourist information centre. We paid £64 per person, the price in the Tourist office was £75 for the Sky Lift and shuttle – also note if you have Peninsular discount, it works out even cheaper again!
We got back on the ship around lunch time so decided to pop to the grill in Neptune’s Pool area for a burger – which was very tasty (Mexican burger!)
After that we got back off the ship and we took the road train from Olden Sightseeing which was 200nok for a 70min drive around the countryside with commentary.
We were dropped off near the shops and after taking some photos walked back via the new cruise berth area and car park which looks very nice, not sure if that’s for tendering ships only? Possibly ready for Iona?
Once back on board we had a little sleep next to the pool to recharge.
We went back to shower and change early so that we could be on deck for the 6:30/7 departure. The views as we left Olden and the fjord were stunning – after several GT&E’s we made our way down to the MDR.
It was around 8:30 and it seemed much quieter than previous night. Straight to a table, a table for 6 set up for 2 next to the window so we got to see the views.
Luke has the prawn cocktail while I had the tuna to start. Then we both had the Lamb leg. It was ok, nothing spectacular on this occasion. Luke did have a sweet but I opted for the cheeses again.
After dinner we went to a very quiet Crows Nest to watch us completely leave the fjord, I think the captain said it wouldn’t be long and we’d be going in to another.
It was a little too quiet in the Crows Nest and the music too subdued so we thought we’d try the Pub, but that too was very quiet. The Globe was also empty – it seemed everybody must have decided to have an early night! P&O Arcadia is definitely a quiet slow-paced ship.
In search of entertainment paid a visit to the casino to try our luck on the slots (again, empty) – not a clue what we were doing but we started with 10 and ended with 30, so called it a night while the going was good.
Bed around half midnight, alarm set for 6.00.
Day 5 Åndalsnes
We were up at 6 to watch another stunning sail in. The sun was shining and you could feel the warmth.
We went down to breakfast about 8, kept it light today, slices of water melon and scrambled egg and bacon.
We were off the ship by 9.00/9:30 and made our way to the start of our hike up to Rampestreken viewpoint! A steel cantilevered platform 550m above sea level – the views were great but even early it was busy.
We continued further up to around 700m and the views were simply stunning and far quieter. If you want to do this bring some good walking boots and plenty of water. You need to be physically fit to do this.
Coming down was more of a challenge on the legs – the whole thing took us around 3 hours and that was with time spent admiring the view at the top. Clocked up about 15k steps on this!
It’s a fabulous day in Andalsnes – highs of 27 so as I write this, we are at the pool have a well-deserved relax and I think we deserve afternoon tea too! Nothing planned tonight, just the usual MDR – it’s casual evening and it is themed 60/70’s – but I don’t think we’ll be partaking in any dressing up.
We made our way to afternoon tea at 4, and after our fill of scones we wandered the deck until sail away. A quick shower and change and we were ready for dinner. We shared a table with lovely couple that we met earlier in the cruise.
I had the potted shrimp, rare steak and cheese board and Luke had the prawn cocktail, a steak and salmon (served on one plate) and the cheese board.
After dinner we had a beer flight (included on the ultimate drinks package) and managed to lose £10 on the slots.
Upset and annoyed we called it a night haha.
Entertainment was again a bit quiet – there we’re more people in the card room than the pub…
Anyhow, a lie in as it’s a sea day tomorrow.
Day 6 – Sea day
Alarm set for 9, we also gained an hour sleep with the clock change. We grabbed a coffee at Caffe Vivo before registering for Trek the deck. To participate you pledge a £10 donation towards Teenage Cancer Trust and in return get to a T-shirt and trek the deck for 9 laps (3 miles). It was fabulous to see such a great turn out. £1,980 was raised.
It took us about 50 minutes at a good pace overtaking others and at the end made our way to the rising sun for a well-deserved pint!
The lunch menu at Sindhu has changed so we went there for a Tiffin lunch, 3 small plates for just under £6 and again it was very good indeed. It’s apparently quite new so hope they are rolling this out.
Once we’d finished there, we hit Intermezzo and Spiniker bar for a cocktail. Both bars were quiet with many just reading or sleeping. It’s such a shame there we no background music or entertainment at the bars to add some atmosphere (and drown out the snoring).
Feeling a little merry we decided to go to MDR for afternoon tea followed by a much-needed sleep back in the cabin.
Tonight, was the second formal night and after a few drinks in the Crows Nest we made our way to the dining room around 9pm.
Luke had the gravlax salmon, onion soup, goose breast and I had the game terrine, tomato soup, guinea fowl and then we both had cheeses.
Tonight, it was Josh Adams in theatre – great mix of music and comedy with several laugh out loud moments. Someone we spoke to said his first show was even better, another person we spoke to thought it was rubbish and offensive which goes to show you can’t please everyone.
After the show we had a few more drinks, and before we knew it the pub was closing, so we made our way to bed, a late one with it being 1:30! It wasn’t completely dark which threw us!
We sailed in to the arctic circle around 2:30 but the clocks also went back so we didn’t stay up for that! Alarm set for 6 as tomorrow we sail in to Akureyri.
Day 7 – Akureyri
We had a trip booked with IGT/FAB (https://www.igtours.is) so we’re off the ship as soon as possible and at the meeting point for our tour to which took us around various sites in the north, including Godafoss and Mvatn.
It was pouring with rain for our first stop but the rain thankfully eased off and it was a great tour!
After a fabulous excursion, we were back on the ship around 4:30 to 5pm.
We dropped our wet stuff off at the room and went to Neptune’s Pool for a burger and a pint. We got talking to some new friends about their day and before we knew it was pushing on to 7pm so it was time for a quick change and up to the Crows Nest for a pre-dinner drink. Thomas, our favourite barman was there.
The dinner in the MDR was fab and happy to say the wine service has been fine every night after the first night.
We left the MDR around 10:30 – exhausted we called it a night and made our way to bed (not via the pub or buffet for a change). Tomorrow is Isafjordur.
Day 8 – Isafjordur
Woke up early so we were out on deck taking in the views – quite cloudy but this seemed to clear. As it’s a tender port we waited for the first tenders to go as it’s always busy and our whale watching trip wasn’t until midday.
We got our tender about 10:30 with very little waiting, basically we collected our raffle ticket and were sent straight down.
We had a wonder around, found the 3D crossing and bought some chocolate (3 large bars about £7 in Netto, other sops was that just for 1).
We went to find our boat Olver, which is run by Amazing Westfjords (https://amazing-westfjords.is/) – we’d booked online, I think it was £70pp for a 3 hour trip and refreshments.
When we left it was drizzling but it soon brightened up. Our guide on the boat was a marine biologist and was pointing out wildlife to us. The big question, did we see any whales?! YES! We saw a few and one seemed to be playing with us coming up at different points, also loads of puffins and a porpoise.
It was a brilliant trip and we highly recommend them if you are looking for something to do in port. Speaking with others who went whale watching yesterday in Akureyri – they hadn’t seen any.
After a fantastic day whale watching we were back onboard for some light tea time snacks. We changed and got out on deck early as we knew we’d be sailing somewhere nearby where we went today. The captain announced during the first hour we’d have a chance to see some whales and true to his word, we did!
Everyone on the aft pool deck shot over to one side to catch a glimpse and the staff were there taking it in also.
After that excitement it was off to the Crows Nest and before we knew it was dinner time.
Tonight, Luke had a prawn cocktail, salad and the lamb shank. I had the sea bream, lamb bisque and steak.
Either the pre-dinner cocktails or the sea sickness kicked in and once dinner was done I was straight to bed.
Luke went back up to the Crows Nest for a drink before walking around the deck, still daylight at around 11pm.
Day 9 – Reykjavik
Started the day with a lemon and ginger tea from cafe vivo which is included in our package. Think we need the detox after the amount we’ve been consuming over the last week – a rest day now we are half way.
Docked at 9 – today we had a Golden Circle tour from the same company that we’d done the Akureyri tour with – FAB Tacel / IGTours.
The first stop was the Faxi waterfall and salmon ladder. We then made our way to Gullfoss, a spectacular waterfall.
Our 3rd stop was at Strokkur Geysir. This was our lunch stop so we shared a burger and chips (£11) as we’d already picked up a pizza and cake at an earlier bakery to share.
The fourth and final stop was the Þingvellir National Park.
Back at the ship for 4:30 – fantastic day and would really recommend FAB/IGT Iceland Guided Tours
Now time for soak in the hot tubs in Neptune pool and a little time in the sauna.
The night started off in the Crows Nest (so much for Detox day!), a favourite of ours. After a couple of wines, we made our way to dinner – we bumped in to our friends who were in the piano bar about to go to dinner, so we shared a table.
After dinner, our friends wanted to see the ABBA show in The Globe, there were some people there but we think it was basically a cd playing ABBA songs so we made a quick getaway to the Crows Nest.
The singer there took a couple of requests as we’d requested something a bit more uplifting.
Once done there we went to the pub but that had closed as it had gone midnight and the only place open was The Globe, which was empty. Thankfully the bar was still open so we had a couple of drinks but that also closed shortly after.
So, it was time to call it a night
Today was Luke’s birthday, so I decorated the cabin with a few banners and he got to open his cards.
We had a trip booked to the Blue Lagoon (https://www.bluelagoon.com/) via P&O, and once again by the time the peninsular discount was applied it was cheaper than doing it independently by a handful of pounds and far more convenient.
Amazing day there. An hour or so in the baths and you get a free face mask and a drink. We then had a bite to eat (shared salmon and a salad) which was £16 but so tasty before making our way back to the ship – where I knew a cake would be waiting in our room, so no afternoon tea today! The ‘naked chocolate cake’ was very tasty but way too much for the of us to share!
We watched the British sail away and are while waiting to depart were advised of a slight delay due to technical issues, but within 30 minutes or so, we were on our way!
Luke had a massage booked so while he was having that I plonked myself down at a bar.
For dinner, we had the Sindhu tasting menu which is done once per cruise (£19.50 so slightly more than normal). It was a stunning meal and we left feeling very stuffed!
After a couple of post dinner drink, we decided to have an early night.
Day 11 – At Sea
Started the morning with a Costa coffee before heading to the buffet for breakfast.
Bars and lounges were busy with people chilling as the weather was not too good outside.
We went to the Crows nest for few Gin cocktails as they are on the package and were lucky enough to spot something out the window that everyone seemed to think was a whale.
We’ve never played bingo, but as we were down the pub when they started the game, we thought we’d give it a try – so we did get one strip for £6… but no wins!
Tonight’s meal was in Ocean Grill, which was really nice and we were lucky enough to get a window table. The only downside to this meal was the fact the two tables around us were constantly complaining about everything, we must have very low standards as we thought everything was perfect?! It was another night where we’d eaten far far too much. We popped our head in to the Palladium Theatre and lurked at the back so we could make a quick exit.
Tonight the pub had a lock in and karaoke – it was good to see quite a few taking part and when we left around 1am people we’re still there chatting and enjoying.
Day 12 – At Sea
Got up and straight to the gym. When on the cross training or running machines, you get a great view out to sea and we we’re lucky and got to see a pod of dolphins. Apparently many more had been spotted earlier in the morning.
After the gym we went to the free sauna just by Neptune’s Pool for 15 mins. We’ve used it a few times and most of the time has just been us there.
We spent an hour or two filming areas for our ship tour video before heading to the outside Aquarius pool bar to relax. The weather was definitely better than yesterday – not sun bathing weather but warm enough to sit there in jeans and a jumper and enjoy the view as we sailed between Scotland and Ireland.
We joined friends for a pre-dinner drink in the Crows Nest before heading down to dinner together.
It was another fantastic meal and great service from our waiters. We are freedom dining and sometimes go with friends or just dine the two of us at various times, so our table is in different sections every night so we’ve worked our way around many of the staff and have to say they are all fantastic. Have to say the MDR experience has been spot on!
After dinner it was off for a walk around the ship before then making our way to the Globe for the tropical party. Great to see a number of people there and it wasn’t long before a couple of people were up dancing.
They seemed to be winding down coming up to midnight, starting to remove some of the tropical decorations – talk about party poopers! I spoke to one of the entertainment team who said the decorations had to be removed before the end of the shift at midnight and that it wouldn’t impact on our enjoyment. Unfortunately, people took it as the place was closing so started leaving, pointing this out the member of staff, he told us ‘make your comments known on the feedback form’… Great, no wonder this ship has no night life as even the entertainment team can’t be bothered! Thankfully the music kept playing and there were about a dozen of us there until the bitter end at 1:30 (when the DJ’s shift came to an end).
As the buffet closed at 1:30 and by the time we’d said our good nights it was pushing on 2am, so room service for a couple of beef baguettes to keep the hang over away!
Day 13 – Dublin
The port we were least looking forward to, so we didn’t bother setting an alarm and instead just woke up whenever, which was around 9:30.
After breakfast at the buffet we made our way to the shuttle buses – £5pp single but free for select fare.
Once dropped off we walked around for an hour, headed to Temple Bar and back to the bus.
Not sure why, but Dublin just wasn’t doing it for us – I think after some of the places we’d visited on this cruise it was a comedown. A few tours on offer but the Guinness and Whiskey factory just didn’t appeal, so it was back to the ship in time for a burger at the Neptune Pool Bar.
Tonight, is our final formal night, with a departure time of around 9:30pm. We’ve a sea day tomorrow and then it will be all over. Until then, there’s a few more meals and several drinks to get through!
Day 14 – P&O Arcadia now heading towards Southampton
Our final sea day and what a beautiful day!
First up we got most of our cases packed so that we could make the most of the day.
We had a Sindhu lunch once again as we love them so much, followed by a very relaxing day in and around the pools.
The pools and hot tubs always have room which is great and something we’re not used to, usually they are crammed full.
More dolphin sightings today.
After a lazy day we got changed for our final evening and put our cases out, being near the lift lobby we wheeled them there to save our cabin steward.
We watched the sun set from the Aquarius pool and then made our way to dinner. Luke had Garlic Mushrooms for starter and Salmon and steak from the always available menu. I went for the Asparagus ravioli which was a main as my starter and the sirloin steak.
Once we’d eaten, we took a look at killer Queen which had already started – we’ve seen this show before and it wasn’t as good this time so left not long after. We also got told off by a passenger due to us talking…
So, it’s bed time and tomorrow we leave P&O Arcadia.
Thank you all for reading along, we hope it’s been enjoyable. We do it as a reminder of what we got up to (the drink makes us forget haha). Also thanks to those that have come up and spoken to us, we hope you’ve had an amazing cruise.
We have to say the ship, bar and restaurant staff and food have been spot on! The only big let-down being the entertainment which we found quite poor and the lack of atmosphere around the ship which we can only put down to the entertainment team also.
We’ve got 1000’s of videos and photos so will pop up some videos over the coming months.
Now the countdown begins for the P&O Britannia mini cruise in October post refit.