Baltic Cruise Arcadia

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 6th September 2009


The cruise got off to a great start from the moment we  boarded and heard that our Cruise Director was Sally Sagoe - she was the CD on my first cruise with P & O last year on the last leg of a world cruise from Capetown to Southampton.  She's a hard act to beat not only professional but great fun as well.  Sally has a great team around her - all lovely in different ways - Helen, Elaine (who was on the Aurora on my Caribbean cruise at Christmas)  Rich and Millie.

We've also scored the most senior man in the whole Fleet - the delightful and very drole Commodore Steve Burgoine - he is the equivalent to the Admiral of the Fleet (Navy) and we felt very honoured when he invited us to join him for dinner.

Jonathan watched a presentation on the workings of the Arcadia and commented that the bridge resembled the Star Ship Enterprise.  Arcadia is the only one of the P & O Fleet which is propelled by Azipods  - a revolutionary system which enables the propellers to be rotated 360 degrees thus giving the ship amazing control over its manoeuvres (I do hope I've got this correct but if you look up Azipods on the Internet you'll know what I mean.

I've enjoyed all my cruises for different reasons but this one has to be one of the best.  I'm fortunate to have my son with me - we get on very well and it's lovely to be able to share this adventure with him - and adventure it is - visiting such interesting places on a lovely and happy ship.  I've now done four P & O Cruises and have always found the staff to be friendly and of the highest standard. 

It must be a nightmare organizing the various activities - there's always something going on every hour of the day - something for everyone whether it be a sedentary activity, learning a new skill i.e. dance or computer studies - or toning the muscles in the superbly equipped gym. 

The Spa offers the highest standard in beauty treatments.  And you can relax in the Hydropool and then lounge on Ceramic heated beds - difficult to describe but absolutely yummy.

When you think that the ship carries just under 2,000 passengers who are catered for from morning till night, it is staggering what a high standard of cuisine is achieved.  The waiting staff, also, are efficient and friendly and nothing seems to be too much bother for them.  If you want an extra special treat there is a small supplement to dine in the Gary Rhodes or the Orchid Restaurants - fine dining at London Standards.  Gary Rhodes himself was on the ship for a couple of days and staged cookery  demonstrations in the Palladium Theatre.  Jonathan went to one of the demos and was very impressed (J likes good food and is taking an increasing interest in cooking his own 'fine cuisine').  We tried to book for the Rhodes Restaurant whilst Gary was on board but they were full.

As for Entertainment - well it is of the highest standard from singers to magicians to comics.  My preference on all the cruises has been the Headliners - singers and dancers of a very high standard - some have come from the West End and some will definitely end up in the West End.  They are employed on a six month contract and initially meet for six weeks of rehearsal in London.  They have to learn upwards of 17 shows and on our two week cruise we were treated to eight completely different shows throughout the voyage and these they have to perform twice in a night to encompass the passengers who go for First and Second Sitting Dinner. All their shows have different themes and, consequently, they have innumerable changes.  The costumes are stunning and I was particularly taken with the outfits for the Race Scene from 'My Fair Lady'.  (Couldn't believe it when I went to Cambridge for a meeting - possible Panto - and the Costume designer was the self same accomplished lady who designs the clothes for the Headliners - a lovely, glamorous lady called Sue Simmerling)

The Theatre on the Arcadia is the best I've encountered on my five cruises - it's even got a Circle upstairs.  The seats are more comfortable than you would get in any West End Theatre and the Stage is enormous.  There are different sets for every musical evening and I take my hat off to them all, the Performers, the Stage Crew and the Production Staff - especially the lovely Chris who coaxed my Keynote presentation out of the computer.  (And unlike most West End theatres, you don't have to queue for the loo)

Cruising can become an addiction and most of the passengers are seasoned cruisers - all having their favourite ships.  I've enjoyed all my cruises but so far my favourites are the Oriana and this one - the Arcadia.  I like them because they are designed without the central Atrium.  This is only a very personal preference.  The Atria on other ships are stunningly attractive but people congregate around them and there is always a sense of 'crowd'.   This is not the case on Oriana and Arcadia and because of this it's difficult to believe there are so many people on the vessel.  There is always a sense of space and you wonder how the ship is hiding almost 2000 passengers and not far short of a 1000 crew.

This is the Arcadia docked in Oslo.


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