Being a loyal
passenger of P&O Cruises, I wish to have the opportunity to board all seven
ships in the current fleet. As I had already travelled on Oriana and
Aurora in 2010 and 2011 respectively and visited Adonia in
2011, my targets this year are the four remaining members. This can be
achieved within my one-month travel to Europe in this summer. I sailed on
Azura for seven nights on 9th June, followed by day visits on Arcadia
and Ventura on 16th and 17th June. Finally there will be another
nine-night cruise on Oceana departing on 24th June.
Due to a change of port on the previous
day, Azura already arrived back in Southampton at midnight of 16th
June, six hours earlier than the original schedule. When I woke up at dawn,
I was able to witness four other vessels entering the harbour one by one,
including Independence of the Seas of Royal Caribbean International),
Arcadia and Oriana of P&O Cruises, as well as MSC Opera
of MSC Cruises. What a busy day here!
The tour on Arcadia was
scheduled at 11:00 for me and my friend. After disembarking Azura at
the Ocean Cruise Terminal, we had to first go to Southampton city centre and
drop our luggage at the hotel, and then rushed to Mayflower Cruise Terminal
at the other end of the port. It was our second time coming to this berth
since last year we also disembarked Aurora here. We received our
visitor passes at the Crew Pass Office and proceeded to the crew gangway for
embarkation. Just beyond the security check, we met one of the Entertainment
Officers and she would be our guide onboard.
Arcadia has called to Hong Kong
for several times in her previous years' world cruises, and I was delighted
to have the chance to visit her eventually. The first part of the tour was
going through the public areas from Deck 12 to Deck 9, including the open
decks, The Crow's Nest forward observation lounge, two swimming pools, the
Sports Court, The Orchid Restaurant and Bar, The Belvedere buffet
restaurant, as well as the spa, fitness and relaxation facilities.
Afterwards we had
the chance to take at glance at different categories of passenger cabins,
located between Deck 8 and Deck 4, from inside, outside and balcony cabins,
to Mini-Suites and even Suites. Since the 23 Suites on Arcadia are
named after big cities around the world, we particularly asked the crew to
bring us to the Hong Kong Suite (B59) on Deck 7. Although it has no
difference with the others, we felt so intimate as it represents our city!
If I travel on this ship in the future, I must try to book this Suite.
Next we went to the
lowest decks with some more amenities. The Palladium showlounge, the
Meridian Restaurant, Ocean Grill speciality dining room, a number of bars
and lounges, The Screening Room cinema, the Library, Monte Carlo Casino,
several shops, as well as the Atrium with passenger services desks could be
found from Deck 3 to Deck 1. Detailed descriptions of the Arcadia's
onboard facilities can be referred to the virtual ship tour in the previous
Through this visit,
I was able to find out more unique characteristics of Arcadia.
Comparing with other fleetmates, she is quite distinct in terms of
distribution of public rooms. This is probably not only because of her
adult-only nature, but due to a completely different source of design. Most
P&O ships are the sisters of Princess Cruises' vessels (Azura and
Ventura share the same layout as Grand Class, Oceana is a sister
to Sun Class, and Adonia's overall arrangement is the same as
Explorer Class). On the other hand, Arcadia looks more alike to
vessels of Holland America Line. As a result, her interior decorations are
less lively but more sophisticated. She is surely more suitable to mature
passengers and for sailing long voyages.
We would like to
thank Kate Rist, the Senior Public Relations Executive of P&O Cruises, for
arranging the tour for us. Until now I have already been onboard five P&O
vessels. I will have another visit on Ventura tomorrow in Southampton
again, and also my vacation on Oceana next week. The "Grand Slam" is
going to be completed very soon! Last but not least, I look forward to
welcoming Arcadia to Hong Kong again in the near future.