Arcadia 2007
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The New Arcadia in Southampton in April 2006.

The New Arcadia entered service in April 2005. At nearly 83,000 tons, she's the largest ship we have travelled on so far (though not for long).

Read the full Ship Report Here >>

There were 8 of us this time; John had his own cabin as usual while the rest of us were in mini-suites. With 3 in one suite, the main concern was would there be enough wardrobe space?!
Itinerary Show Map & Group Photo
= ports at anchor
Tuesday 2nd October-Southampton, UK
Wednesday-at sea
Thursday-at sea
Friday-Malaga, Spain
Saturday-at sea
Sunday-at sea
Monday-Katakolon, Greece
Tuesday-Dubrovnik, Croatia
Wednesday-Venice, Italy
Thursday-Korcula, Croatia
Friday-at sea
Saturday-Naples, Italy
Sunday-Cagliari, Sardinia
Monday-Palma, Majorca
Tuesday-at sea
Wednesday-at sea
Thursday-at sea
Friday 19th October-Southampton, UK


But it was me who turned up with 3 suitcases and a laptop! I am not know for travelling light but this was my first cruise after the "Grand Voyage" of 11 weeks on Black Watch and with no flight restrictions to worry about, it appears that I had not re-adjusted. That's my excuse anyway!

Tuesday 2nd October
Embarkation in Southampton
Embarkation was painless, particularly being in suites, and we were given a special invitation to sandwiches and drinks in the Crows Nest. However, when we got there it was all closed and we were unceremoniously pointed in the direction of the self-service restaurant! The "Traditional Sailaway" was also a let-down by comparison with past experiences on P&O; no streamers (environmental reasons), no-one cheering us off (security reasons) and you could barely see the band (they were under cover); and the champagne we were invited to enjoy - was 2.90 a glass!

Still, our cabins were wonderful; comfortable and well-equipped; and with plenty of storage space!

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Mini-Suite B098 Mini-Suite B098 Jacuzzi Bath Our Balcony What a view!

Wednesday 3rd - Thursday 4th October
2 Days at Sea
The Bay of Biscay was flat calm all the way - just as well because the Captain's Welcome Party was held around the Neptune Pool See Photo >>. I suppose it's the only place on the ship big enough but it proved totally unsuitable; hardly anywhere to sit, poor lighting and it was the Devil's own job to get a drink! With over 1,000 people there, needless to say there was no "Receiving Line" and you could barely hear or see the Captain when he made his speech.


"Service Not Included"
The following day I made the mistake of trying to order some canapes for drinks in our suite - only to discover that (a) canapes do not come under the heading of "Room Service" as you might expect (they are in the "Gifts" catalogue!) and (b) that you are supposed to give 72 hrs notice for them! The altercation that followed will be one of those pre-dinner cocktail-stories re-told for many years - and the Reception Manager "Kylie" doesn't come out of it with a glowing report!

Friday 5th October
Malaga, Spain
By the time we reached the Costa del Sol and our first stop, at least the weather was perfect and Sally was excited because she had made arrangements to meet and spend the day with a friend who was going to be in Malaga at the same time as our ship.


Dad & I get a dowsing!
After a brief walk along the quay to take some pictures of the ship, Dad & I were having coffee on our balcony and enjoying the view of Malaga when we were abruptly showered with water from the adjoining balcony by a thoughtless deck-hand with a hose! I was furious of course, and complained to Reception but it was made worse by the fact that no-one apologised and it wasn't until I had made another visit in person to Reception the following day that we received an apologetic visit from the Deck Supervisor. Yet another tale enters the cocktail storybook!


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Arcadia in Malaga Alcazaba Palace Me & Dad
(Photo by Stella)

Dating back to the Phoenecians, Malaga is rich in history, so while Sally went off to meet her friend, the rest of us joined an excursion to the Alcazaba, the fortress-palace below Gibralfaro Castle and the last Spanish stronghold of the Moors. From the nearby Mirador, there is a terrific view of the mountains and the coast (See picture right). Show Picture Full Size

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The Bull Ring from
the Mirador
Bull Ring Museum In the Bull Ring A Matador A Matador
(pictures by Andrew)

Our tour also took us to the Bull Ring where there is a curious little museum including costumes, photos of bull-fights and even a bull's head! See photo >> Out in the Ring, we were given a demonstration by a "live" matador - though not, thankfully, a live bull! Mind you, it was difficult to concentrate on the demonstration because our attention was somewhat distrated! See why >>

Saturday 6th - Sunday 7th October
2 More Days at Sea

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The Orchid Restaurant
The next 2 days at sea gave us all the opportunity to establish our new routines. Mine involved a swim before breakfast, coffee on the balcony with Dad, lunch with John in the main restaurant and dance lessons with Stella in the afternoon, tea at 4pm (of course!), then drinks with everyone at 7.30 before Dinner and the Show. Some people think you can get bored!
The Orchid Restaurant
We had high expectations of this "alternative dining experience" and the decor and location high atop the ship are both impressive. The cuisine is "contemporary oriential fusion" and there is a 10 surcharge for dining here. However, our experience proved disappointing and we ended up having to argue to get our money back!
(Read the full report of The Orchid Restaurant in the report of the ship) Here >>

Monday 8th October
Katakolon, Greece (for Olympia & the Olympia Museum)
Until recently a tiny fishing village, Katakolon has been developed specifically to receive the big cruise ships bringing passengers to visit the museum & site of the original Olympic Games. However, it is a pretty little place in its own right and along the harbour, there are the usual tourist shops, bars and restaurants. (right) Dad's photo from one of the pretty quayside cafes Show Picture Full Size

The main point of interest though, is at Olympia and the site which was re-discovered in the 18th century has been successively excavated to the extensive point it is today.

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Palaistra Colonnade Entrance to the
Olympic Stadium
Bronze Helmet Temple of Zeus
(east pediment)
Hermes of Praxiteles

Show Picture Full Size Show Picture Full Size The modern Olympic Games were established in 1896, but the ancient Games began in 776 BC and continued for over a thousand years until they died out in 393 AD. Today you can walk within the ruins of the Temple of Zeus (left) and there is even a representation of what it must have looked like.

At the Temple of Hera, you can see where the Olympic flame was lit Photo >>, a tradition revived in 1896 and which continues today.

There is also a small but excellent museum where many excavated artefacts are now beautifully displayed, including much of the original pediments of the Temple of Zeus, which are very impressive up close. Another stunning exhibit is the statue of Hermes by Praxiteles. Discovered in 1877, this damaged statue dates from the 4th century BC and is considered to be Praxiteles' finest work. It depicts Hermes carrying to safety the baby Dionysus (son of Zeus and later the God of Festivals). The similarity to Michelangelo's "David" is quite striking Photo of "David" >>. Show Picture Full Size

Tuesday 9th October
Dubrovnik, Croatia
We were warned it would be busy in Dubrovnik with 4 cruise ships in, so we set off at 8.30 to get the first shuttle-bus into the city from the port of Gruz for our self-guided tour of the city walls.

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"Praca"
the Main Street
Battlements
Legend of the Seas
The Harbour The Harbour Rooftops of Dubrovnik

The 2km-long city walls that completely enclose Dubrovnik are its most striking feature. Built between the 13th & 16th centuries and still intact today, these powerful walls are the finest in the Mediterranean and the city's main claim to fame.

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The Minceta Tower Clock Tower
Bell-striking figures Maro & Baro
From the Minceta Tower Our Tour Group Orlando's Pillar & Franciscan Church

Fearing attack from the land, in the 15th century the walls were made stronger to the landward side and they survived intact for five hundred years before being bombarded during the war in 1991. Fortunately, the damage has been repaired and you can now see them in all their glory, including the famous Minceta Tower which I was left to climb on my own! Me in the Tower >> (photo by Andrew).

Dubrovnik - "Pearl of the Adriatic"
One of the most beautiful and intact medieval walled cities in the World, Dubrovnik fell within a federation of states called "Yugoslavia" following the Second World War. But a long history of regional and ethnic tensions came to a head in 1991 when Croatia declared independence. Long considered part of Croatia, the city was claimed by Serbia-Montenegro and in October 1991, it came under a seige which lasted 7 months, during which the city was bombarded with artillery, causing a number of deaths and considerable damage to buildings. The seige was eventually lifted and the city returned to Croatian control. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and by 2005, most of the physical damage inflicted on the city during the war had been repaired.

My afternoon trip with Dad took us to the village of Cavtat 12 miles down the coast. On the way, we were given the opportunity of a rather splendid view of Dubrovnik from the mountain road.

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View of Dubrovnik Cavtat Captains Cemetery Cavtat Carnival Freedom & Wind Surf

Cavtat is a little picture postcard town set on a charming bay. Becoming popular as a holiday resort, there are a number of shops and restaurants but it has avoided many of the trappings of mass tourism and retains its quaint quietness. On the hill above the town is a family mausoleum desgined by Ivan Mestrovic and beside it, with great views of the sea, is the Captains' Cemetery.

Picture from P&O's 2009 Brochure! Wednesday 10th October
Venice, Italy
This was always going to be the high point of this holiday for me but today the temperature had fallen considerably and our arrival at dawn proved a chilly affair. However, a sunny day was promised and we were not to be disappointed.
Arrival in Venice - passing Piazza San Marco

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Entering the Lagoon Santa Maria della Vigna Santa Maria della Salute San Giorgio Maggiore Royal Clipper
(& Oceania's Regatta)

Today we split into 2 groups; four of us took a morning tour entitled "Hidden Venice", a delightful walking tour through the back streets of Venice, discovering some lovely squares in out-of-the-way places. Our excellent guide gave us just enough historical detail to keep it interesting and it was a tantalising introduction to this fascinating city.

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Hidden Venice Gondola The Grand Canal Campo Santi Giovanni
& Paolo
Scuola Grande di San Marco

Crossing the Grand Canal at the Rialto Bridge, our tour finished at Campo di Santi Giovanni e Paolo where we had coffee in an uncrowded Piazza with a view to die for - the amazing frontage of the Scuola Grande di San Marco, built in 1591 and now the hospital, together with the enormous gothic church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, built by Dominican Friars in the 13th & 14th centuries.

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Santi Giovanni & Paolo
(left) Statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni and
(right) The interior of the church
Lesley & Peter
Stella & Me
Torre dell'Orologio
Piazza San Marco

The Statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni
Bartolomeo Colleoni left his fortune to the Republic in 1481 on condition his statue was erected outside San Marco. But he didn't say which "San Marco", and the city didn't think him important enough for the great Piazza, so they had it put here!


The focal point of Venice is of course Piazza San Marco. The Torre dell'Orologio is an elaborate clock tower displaying the phases of the moon and zodiac; built in the 15th century, it draws crowds in Ascension week when clockwork figures of the Magi emerge to pay homage to the Virgin Mary.

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Bridge of Sighs Loggia of
Basilica San Marco
The Campanile Piazza San Marco
(the columns of San Marco
& San Teodoro)
Piazza San Marco
Connecting the Doge's Palace to the New Prisons is the famous Bridge of Sighs, built in 1600. Unfortunately, the Doge's Palace was closed for restoration, so I was unable to see inside but I did get inside the Basilica San Marco, itself surprisingly dark and mysterious. Interior Picture >>.

The great Campanile (see above) is the most iconic image of Venice. In fact, the 16th century tower collapsed dramatically in 1902, luckily killing no-one but the caretaker's cat! 1902 Picture >> What you see today is a replica completed in 1912. Needless to say, I had to go up for the spectacular view!

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Show Picture Full Size (Above) An evocative view of San Giorgio Maggiore from Piazza San Marco

(left) A view from above the Loggia of the Basilica of San Marco, looking between the two Columns of San Marco and San Teodoro, the historical entrance to Venice from the sea.

The Grand Canal
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Palazzos Francetti Cavalli & Barbaro The wooden Accademia Bridge Palazzo Barbarigo The Rialto Bridge Dogs go free!

Undoubtedly the best way to see the architecture of this the main thoroughfare of Venice is from one of the many "vaporetti" or water-buses; the No.1 line stops all the way up the canal and it costs only 6 Euros for a trip that lasts over an hour. Passing under the wooden Accademia Bridge (built in 1932 as a temporary replacement for a previous 19th century cast-iron one), you pass literally dozens of palaces, once the homes of the Venetian aristocracy. Many of these houses are still resting on their original wooden piles. The Rialto Bridge at the heart of Venice, was built in 1591 and remained the only place to cross the canal until the first Accademia Bridge was built.

The others preferred to return to the ship on foot, in some cases probably as an excuse to see more shops - and Venice does have a tempting abundance. But judging by the lively conversation that evening, as well as the array of purchases made, this was a great day for everyone.

Thursday 11th October
Korcula, Croatia
The Old Town of Korcula


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Lowering the boats City Gate Medieval Walls Church on the bay Arcadia at anchor

Next day we were back in Croatia again and here we dropped anchor off the island of Korcula and went ashore in the boats. The old town of Korcula is built on a peninsular fortified behind medieval walls. But it's so tiny that you can walk round the town in just a few minutes. It is claimed that the famous explorer Marco Polo was born here, although there is no actual evidence to support this.

The tour to Vela Luka on the other side of the island took us through the "maquis" landscape, 15 mins of which would have been enough! Vela Luka itself, while situated on a pleasant bay, proved to be rather less interesting than the town we left behind and the afternoon was rounded-off by an almost surreal experience of a cheese & wine tasting at a winery where we were led out onto a small flat rooftop, with no handrails, surrounded by treacherous-looking agricultural implements!

Sunday 14th October
A Day at Sea
Another day at sea was well-deserved! At drinks in Lesley & Peter's suite that evening, rather than booking hors d'oevres 72 hrs in advance, Peter was sent out by Lesley on an expedition to the Belvedere - which proved considerably more successful! Aided by a bottle of champagne, we played "Heroes & Heroines" but with 5 men to 3 women, the result was bound to be peculiar! See the Results! (right)
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Saturday 13th October
Naples, Italy
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Dawn over Vesuvius Climbing Vesuvius The Crater The Crater Stella, Lesley & Peter
Bay of Naples

Naples is a sprawling (and rather dilapidated) metropolis and most visitors prefer to head for the beautiful Amalfi coast (which is what John & Dad chose) or to the ruins of Pompeii but I chose the walk up to the crater of Vesuvius this time. Not only did I persuade Peter, Lesley & Stella to join me but I also persuaded the ladies to wear sensible shoes for once! See photo >>

Even though you only have to climb the last 1,000ft, it is still quite a climb to the 4,200ft peak but the weather was brilliant and the views were worth it! After a really nice lunch at a hotel on the slopes of Vesuvius, we headed for Herculaneum.

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Herculaneum
Above the excavated Town
A Villa Atrium Villa wall decoration The Baths
(Changing Room)
The Baths
(Wall decoration)

When Vesuvius erupted so spectacularly in 79AD, it buried Pompeii in ash but at Herculaneum, the town was consumed by mud. As a result, the ruins are said to be better preserved although they continue to be more difficult to excavate.

While we were trudging up volcanoes and around excavations, Andrew & Sally had chosen the trip to the beautiful Isle of Capri, where they "enjoyed" a rather scary ride on the chair-lift! (Photo by Andrew)

Sunday 14th October
Cagliari, Sardinia
A "cinerama" view of Cagliari from the ship


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The Cathedral Cathedral Interior Sally, Lesley, Peter
& Stella
(Andrews Photo)
St Pancras Tower The Elephant Tower & Arcadia in the harbour
A symbol of Sardinia's past glories, the entrance to the old town through the city walls is at the Elephant Tower dating from 1307. See photo >> I was expected to climb it, of course - although no-one else did! The similar St Pancras Tower is also part of the preserved walls. The baroque interior of the Santa-Maria Cathedral is also worth a visit.

Monday 15th October
Palma, Majorca

Andrew & Sally went off sampling the local wines (again!), but I took Dad's advice to visit the Caves of Drac. They're about an hour's drive from Palma and well worth the visit early in the day, before they get crowded. Everything is well-organised and the classical concert given by musicians from the boats as they glide through the illuminated caverns is very tastefully done and really quite beautiful.
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The Caves of Drac
(brochure photo)
Medieval Gate Cathedral Interior The Cathedral
from the waterfront Promenade

Show Picture Full Size Back in Palma for the afternoon, and there was time to explore the cathedral and part of this attractive old city. Along the coast to the west of the city overlooking the bay is the 700-year old Belver Castle (see left) from where there is great view of the Bay of Palma. Another Photo by Dad >>
(left) Dad's photo of the 700 year-old Belver Castle


Tuesday 16th - Thursday 18th October
Homeward bound - 3 Days at Sea
On our relaxing journey home, the Radio Arcadia Quiz was won for the 9th time by "The Egg-Heads in B111" (aka: Andrew, Stella & Sally!) and at the "Chocaholics Buffet", I took this compromising picture of Andrew & Sally!
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In the Crows Nest
(Photo c/o Peter's camera)
Happy Un-Birthday!
(Photo by Peter)
Andrew's Birthday Cake
(Photo by Andrew)
Arcadian Rhodes

On our last night in the main restaurant, we decided to give Andrew an "Un-Birthday" surprise a day early, which caught him off-guard but for his real Birthday, we had our own Champagne Party in B111 followed by dinner in Arcadian Rhodes, the ship's other "alternative dining experience". After the disappointment of The Orchid earlier in the cruise, we were pleasantly surprised with what turned out to be a fantastic meal and a brilliant way to end the cruise on a high note.

(Read the full report on Arcadian Rhodes) Here >>


See Detailed Mileage Log for this cruise >>

Cruise Mileage: 6,344 nautical miles
Total Mileage to date: 132,795 n miles

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