Thursday, February 3, 2011

"Which ship??"

This posting to our travel Blog is primarily aimed at the cruising enthusiasts following our progress. I was going to title the posting as "Ship comparison?" - but realised that, while it is possible to compare ships, it can only be truly fair if it is done within a definite defined context - as different ships are designed for different purposes and to use any ship for something that it was not really designed to do places it at a disadvantage when compared to another ship which is. Not being a Naval Architect, I can only guess at what the two ships we have been sailing on - Oriana and Arcadia - were designed for, but I believe that my guess agrees with many of my fellow passengers. This is that Arcadia is not as well suited for long passages as Oriana and perhaps it comes down to original design purpose. I have been told by longtime P&O passengers that both Oriana and sister ship Aurora were indeed designed for long distance passages - but don't know the truth of that assertion We have been in the company of up to around 300 Aussies on our trip across to the UK on Oriana and the return on Arcadia. Of these, we have conversed with a small percentage - and of these, we have had a regular association with an even smaller percentage. However, I would have to say that of these, the ship that will be remembered with the most affection and "preferred" is Oriana. We have definitely heard more praise of her positive aspects than we have of Arcadia's positives - and less criticism of her negative aspects than we have of Arcadia's negatives. Largely, I believe these have more to do with the basic design of the ships (for the purpose that we have experienced - long 42 day cruises across open oceans with longish periods of time at sea) than with other popularly discussed issues such as food, service, and ship decor.

Oriana's positives - her large Promenade, her unobstructed main Theatre, large cinema, tiered stern, internal access between public spaces,external access from lower decks to upper decks, forward facing external areas, access to external decks from cabin decks, large Pacific Lounge (additional to main theatre), large laundries, Al Fresco restaurant.

Arcadia's positives - very nice but underused Orchid Bar and Restaurant, lots of bars and lounges with contemporary decor, exterior lifts, indoor pool with roll-back roof. I am sure that others may see some of my "positives" as being a negative for them - for example, the matter of ship's decor. I am reluctant to quote "negatives" for the same reason. However, for me, the biggest "negative" of Arcadia is really a negative of the VISTA cruiseship class itself (of which there are many today and are obviously popular with the cruiselines). This comes from a basic "feature" of their design. There are internal and external public spaces on decks 1, 2 and 3, and then again on decks 9,10,11. Between these is a big "block of cabins/apartments" on decks 4-8. The only way to get from the upper public spaces to the lower ones and vice versa is via lifts or internal staircase through the 5 floors of cabins. The only way to also get from the lower outside deck areas to the upper outside deck areas is also via these. Hence, having a nice spacious and comfortable cabin on Deck 1, my most enduring memory of 42 days on Arcadia will be of waiting for and riding in lifts!! I have heard Arcadia's exterior lifts being praised - however even waiting for and riding in these wears thin after a while.

Last night we had an exceptionally good meal and most enjoyable time in the Orchid Restaurant (with drinks in the associated Orchid Bar) on Arcadia - possibly the best night we have had on our way around. So, you can see that this business of comparing ships is very difficult - it would probably be best for prospective passengers to ignore everything here and see for yourselves.

1 comment:

  1. Firstly thanks for taking the time to write this blog it has been great to follow. We would make the same comments as you have re the Oriana and the Arcadia about the Dawn Princess and the Aurora. Having done a world cruise on the Dawn and a half world cruise on the Aurora we prefer the Aurora because it seems to be better designed for long cruises. Mind you we like both and are going on both again next year. I'm interested to hear you use email to post to your blog. Is the connection on the ship too slow and expensive. I usually compose in Word and cut and paste to Blogger which seems to work.