We cruised on Arcadia in September 2010. This was just a short cruise, three nights around the English Channel, with calls at Zeebrugge and Le Havre. The purpose of the cruise was to try Arcadia, and we came home very impressed.
I posted these blog entries:
- First there was an entry covering embarkation
- then another one about the first night’s meal
- then there were a couple of posts for the first full day: the first about the day, and the second for the evening (which was formal evening).
- for the second full day, in Le Havre (although we actually stayed on board and explored the ship) I did just one post.
- Another post covered the last evening and disembarkation.
- Finally, here’s a link to the pictures I took while we were on Arcadia.
Now for the review:
We really enjoyed this short cruise. This was definitely thanks to the ship, not the itinerary. Of course, we always knew the itinerary was less than sparkling; indeed, we booked the cruise specifically to try Arcadia. We’re glad we did, we liked her very much indeed.
If I had to summarise it, I would say that I preferred Arcadia’s interiors but I still prefer Ventura’s exterior. We definitely liked the indoor bars on Arcadia – the Spinnaker, Intermezzo, the Piano Bar, and the Crows Nest. We even enjoyed the Rising Sun; we found the range of small spaces with dividing walls much more cosy than the big single space of The Exchange on Ventura, which has always seemed to us like a big barn. We enjoyed the Crows nest – we spent a wonderfully relaxing few hours there on Sunday afternoon – but we thought it was better during the daytime than in the evening. During the day it’s relaxing, spacious and light, but as an evening venue I think it’s too big. We felt that the acts that were performing there were really nightclub acts trying to create a nightclub atmosphere in too big a space. Ventura’s Metropolis is the opposite: less good during the day (it just seems like a closed nightclub) but much better in the evening when it is a nightclub. I can even see the point of its video wall, now. Back to the comparisons, we also preferred the Meridian restaurant to Ventura’s three separate restaurants, but that’s not a surprise: we also preferred Le Grand Epernay on Solstice to the Ventura restaurants. We enjoyed the short time we spent in the Globe; again, more alive than the equivalent space on Ventura. (Havana?). Let’s finish this review of indoor facilities with a couple of examples where Ventura wins. These would include the atrium area and the buffet. We thought the Belvedere was OK, but not handily laid-out; on reflection we (or at least I) preferred Ventura’s Waterside and Beach House buffets. We both though the coffee shop on Arcadia was awful – small, dingy and unattractive – and not a patch on Tazzine. This latter benefits from being at the centre of things in Ventura’s atrium, of course.
What about outdoor spaces? Well, with a short cruise in northern waters we didn’t use the open decks much (though we did have 45 minutes on a lounger at one point) but i would have to say that while the open deck near the Aquarius bar is good, it’s not as good as Ventura’s Terrace area. That remains our favourite spot.
We thought Arcadia was very uncrowded – the lifts were always empty, for example. And I loved the artwork around the ship.
The bottom line is that we’ll definitely like to cruise on Arcadia at some future date; but it looks as if it will have to wait until 2012 at the earliest.