Life on Arcadia

I spent six and a half weeks on the Arcadia during my half world cruise – Southampton to Brisbane (disembarking in Sydney due to Cyclone Oma).

The days just go by. During the day, there is a schedule of activities going on around the ship in various bars, rooms and the theater. From Port lectures to guest speakers, there is so much to do!

I decided to go for a walk around the ship and photograph the spaces where the activities take place, along with what goes on where. I am still learning where everything is on the ship, so bear with me!

At the very top of the ship (Deck 11) towards the back (aft) there is a sports court where lots of activities take part like tennis, walking football and basketball. There is also a space to practice your swing for golf.

In the middle of the ship on deck 11 is the Sindhu and the East Bar. When I went there to take my photo there was a cribbage get together happening.
In the East Bar, there was people just relaxing having a drink.

I then proceeded to deck 10 which is the Sun Deck. Staying mid ship, there is the retreat is used for some classes.

In the retreat on the day of the photograph was dance lessons. It is quite a popular class.

If you then head towards the back of the ship, there is an area where deck quoits and shuffleboard are played.

If you head back towards the front of the ship, you pass the retractable roof for the Neptune Bar and pool area.

Heading back inside, you then come to the crows nest (which is right at the front (fwd) of the ship) and the viceroy room (a meeting room) which is usually used for get-togethers or classes. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos of the crows nest.

Heading down (at the front of the ship) to deck 9 is the Lido deck. The first place you come across is the Oasis spa and gym. In the spa, you can have lots of treatments (which you have to pay for). There is also the thermal and hydro pool which is an area that you pay extra for access to on a day or whole cruise basis. I’ve not been yet, so no photos of that, but I did manage to get some photos of the spa receptions, hair dressers and the gym (which is free).

There is a little know secret (probably more well known that I think!) that if you walk down the side of the gym, there is a door that leads to a small deck area that is right at the front of the ship and has no restriction on the views. Its a great place to go and take some photos of the sunset or when you are sailing in or out of a port. There is also a seat. I thought this would be a brilliant place to see the Panama Canal transit, but unfortunately P&O decided to make it an exclusive area and charge £75pp when transiting the canal.

After coming out of the spa, you head through a door that takes you to the Neptune pool and bar area. On hot sunny days the roof is open – it is a popular area and has always been busy when I have gone there. As well as the pool and bar, they also server lunch there (Neptune Grill).

After exiting the Neptune pool and bar (and heading towards the back of the ship, you come into the Belvedere restaurant. This is where you come for lunch when you embark and during the cruise you can have breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night snacks here. I’ve only eaten the odd lunch here (mainly salad) as there is very little to cater for my dietary needs.

Heading out of the back of The Belvedere, is the Aquarius pool and bar. This is where the sail away parties are held and late night stargazing. They also hold a party from 9.30pm til midnight where you can dance away under the stars. This area was also used for events such as ‘build a boat on a ship’ which is an activity where you use items only found on the ship to make you own boat which then has to be tested to see if it floats and can survive a big wave (the guy jumping into the pool!). They also held the crossing of the equator ceremony.

Decks 8, 7, 6, 5 and 4 are cabins and mid forward of deck 4,5 and 6 are laundrettes and there is also one on deck 4 forward (this is an additional one).

Staying at the front of the ship and heading down to deck 3, this is where you will find the top tier of the palladium theatre.

Then start heading towards the back, you come to the screening room which is where they show films. Space is limited so you have to get tickets from either the library or reception. They hold three or four screenings a day.

Continuing towards the back, there is some more meeting rooms where they hold classes. Bridge class was happening when I took my photos.

Next is the ‘essentials’ shop. Unless you class sweets and chocolates as essentials, there is not a very good stock of essentials.

There is then a little cafe where you can buy costa coffee and get free cake. I’m not sure if the free cake is restricted to certain times of the day or if it is just around 4pm for afternoon tea. On further investigation, it turned out that the drinks were complimentary to have with your costa coffee!! I still managed to get one though even though I didn’t buy a coffee or hot chocolate!!

The library is next door to the cafe. You can come here to access the internet (chargeable) on their computers, borrow a book, do a jigsaw or find a game, dvd or just sit quietly and read.

On leaving the library (continuing to the back of the ship), there is a shopping area with clothing, jewellery, bags, hats, sunglasses and sunscreen (to name a few). All the staff are lovely there. Always up for a chat!

After leaving the shops, you are then on the third floor of the atrium and head into the piano bar. Mostly a quiet place to come during the day where you can have a drink, read or play a board game.

On walking through the piano bar on the starboard side, you pass a small area where you can put in flower requests, then a gin tasting bar.

After the Gin tasting area, you enter the Photo Gallery. This is where all the photos taken by the ships photographers can be viewed and purchased.

The last place at the back on this ship is the top floor of the Meridian Restaurant. This is where the ‘freedom’ diners eat.

As this is the promenade deck, it would be wrong not to show you photos. I always found that there was a shady side to the ship (which was always the quieter side).

And, of course, a Sunny side (well, for the majority of our cruise!!).

Going down to Deck 2, (starting forward and heading towards the back). So, you have the second level of the theater. Coming out of the theater, leads you to the casino. They have tables where you can play roulette, blackjack and three card prime. They also sell the bingo tickets here.

Opposite the casino is the Rising Sun Pub. In here, they often held quizzes, football and rugby on the TV, karaoke, themed evening and lots more. It was a nice place to have a drink and watch the world go by!!

As you headed to the back of the ship after the casino and pub, you come to the Gallery. Here you can purchase prints and pictures that can be delivered to your home.

On leaving the Whitewall Gallery, you come into the Intermezzo Bar/Cafe which is also located in the middle floor of the Atrium. It is another area to just sit, play board games or read or meet up for a coffee. Opposite is the Ocean Grill restaurant which is a specialty restaurant. I had afternoon tea in there one afternoon with my friends Allan and John and they even managed to cater for my dietary needs.

Onwards then to The Spinnaker Bar. Another place to sit, relax or have a drink. Some of the quizzes are also held here. On this cruise in particular is the 9.45pm brain teaser quiz. There was also a pre dinner quiz at 5.45pm that was held here.

After the Spinnaker bar is the lower floor of the Meridian Restaurant. This is where the Club (or 6.30pm and 8.30pm) diners eat.

Deck 5 (mid ship) is where the main reception area is along with Future Cruise Sales and the excursions desk.

I really loved my time on Arcadia. The food was brilliant and I was well taken care of (Gluten/Lacose free vegetarian). I will post all of the photos I have from Arcadia on my Facebook page.

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Madeira 10th January 2019

We docked in Madeira at 10am on 10th January. Considering we had a 13 hour delay and a diversion to Vigo for the medical emergency evacuation, I am surprised it wasn’t later!

I had a trip booked for 12.30pm. I decided to go for a short walk and get some photos of Arcadia in Port. As well as Arcadia, Fred Olson’s Balmoral was also in port. The weather was looking good for the day.

The cruise excursion trip took us to a little fishing village Camara de Lobos. As we approached the village we saw many small colourful boats in the bay just waiting for fishermen to take them out to sea. The streets were narrow and the Christmas lights were still up (but not lit). we were told that the fishermen are sometimes out for days at a time. It was a beautiful little harbour.

Unfortunately we didn’t stop for a photo so this was taken through the coach window.

Viewpoint photos taken from a cliff and the cliff had a viewing platform made of glass. It was cracked on the edge, so I wasn’t going to risk standing on it.

We were then making our way to the second photo opportunity stop. The coach took us through twisting and winding roads to a look out but we were still in Camara de Lobos. The roads took us past a plethora of different fruits and vegetables that is grown in Madeira. The soil in madeira is volcanic rich. The different vegetables are grown at different altitudes throughout the island.

We saw so many things growing including bananas, mangos, papayas, avocados, sweet potato and grape vines. There was also a lot of sugar cane grown which is used mostly for molasses. The reason that Madeira is able to grow so much of a variation of fruit and vegetables is down to the volcanic soil and its richness of nutrients. These were what were growing at lower altitudes and as we went up further into the mountains, it all changed and we saw less of the lush green and it was mainly dominated by sweet chestnuts, walnuts and eucalyptus trees.

We then went on to Santo Antonio. It was a beautiful look out point where we could see Arcadia in port. in the distance of the second photo, you can see two more islands of the Madeira Archipelago.

We carried on our ascent up to ‘Nuns Valley’ which was 3,300ft above sea level.

Nuns Valley is a small parish nestling between almost perpendicular mountains in the heart of the island. Both Eira do Serrado and Paredão viewpoints are excellent locations to contemplate the magnificent views of this parish.

The huge cauldron in which Curral das Freiras is sitting was either formed by erosion, which is the more recent theory, or as many still believe, by volcanic activity.
In 1566 the nuns from the Santa Clara convent fled from pirates attacking Funchal and found seclusion here, where they also brought the convent treasure.

The parish is very isolated, and locals mainly live of what they grow. The local chestnuts are delicious and are used in everyday cooking.

Curral das Freiras was the property of a couple that sold this land to the captain of Funchal, João Gonçalves da Câmara. This captain gave the lands to his daughters when they entered the Santa Clara convent (also built by him). (info taken from here).

Again, apologies for some of the images – they were taken from the coach window. They shows the change in products that can be grown depending on altitude. There is a lot of Eucalyptus trees in Madeira, although a devastating fire wiped a lot of them out three years ago.

While we were up at the viewing point for Nuns Valley, we were ‘treated’ to some cake, tea, coffee or madeira wine. I had asked the tour guide for something suitable and he said there wasn’t, so I decided to just take a walk (after I got back to the coach some other passengers had said the guide was looking for me with a gluten free cake, but they said it didn’t look very nice. I did point out that Gluten free food is an acquired taste!), anyway – I had a good look around and it was a very pleasant view and I enjoyed it. After joining the coach, we made our way down the twisting and winding roads and back to our coach.

Sail away party started at 5.30 in the Aquarius pool and bar area. When I got there, it was well underway!

The sail away is great fun. The entertainment team try their hardest to get everyone up and dancing! Some do, but the majority don’t. They have ‘Great British’ songs playing like ‘I am sailing’, ‘reach for the sky’, ‘Agadoo’ and many more. Great fun watching everyone!

Just after 6pm, we enjoyed a lovely sunset. I thought it was beautiful how just as our ship started to turn, the sunset lit up the coast of madeira. Very beautiful and a lovely ending to a wonderful day in Madeira.

Thank you for reading. I have 5 days at sea now until St Lucia.

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