During our visit to Southampton last month to see Cunard Line's Three Queens during the special celebrations for Queen Mary 2's 10th Anniversary on May 9th 2014, we were lucky enough to also enjoy a visit aboard P&O Cruises' Arcadia.
Unfortunately is was not possible to visit Queen Mary 2 during our time in Southampton due to the very busy day which Cunard had planned.
We therefore thought it would be wise to try to visit another vessel in Southampton and we chose P&O Cruises' recently refurbished Arcadia.
Our drawing was officially presented on board Arcadia on August 19th 2011 by ourVolunteers@Sea Ernie & Edna. We also knew the drawing was displayed on board and thought it would be a great opportunity to view it for ourselves and visit Arcadia for the first time.
On the morning of May 9th 2014, Harry Cotterill, President & Managing Director, Dream Designs Colchester and Gavin Pamment, Chief Photographer, Dream Designs Colchester made their way from the hotel they were staying in to Mayflower Cruise Terminal where Arcadia was berthed.
Upon entering Mayflower Cruise Terminal, Harry and Gavin were quickly met by Jenny Hadley, Public Relations Executive, P&O Cruises who along with colleagues in the Public Relations and Marketing team at P&O Cruises had helped arrange the visit aboard Arcadia.
Once Harry and Gavin had made their way to the Passes Office to collect their visitor passes they were then escorted through security by Jenny Hadley and were able to board Arcadia for their visit.
They boarded Arcadia on G Deck (Deck 1) entering the bottom of the atrium. With some time to waste before the planned meeting and viewing of the drawing, Jenny suggested touring part of the ship. The guided tour started midships on Promenade Deck (Deck 3), beginning at the brand new designed shopping boutique area.
Heading forward along Promenade Deck (Deck 3), Harry and Gavin had the chance to view the Library, Café Vivo, The Screening Room and The Palladium which spans three decks, between G Deck (Deck 1) and Promenade Deck (Deck 3).
Next they moved down to F Deck (Deck 2) passing through the Monte Carlo Casino and the adjacent The Rising Sun, a traditional British themed pub.
Moving towards midships they explored The Globe, a small show-lounge venue which has now been separated from the main flow of passengers with glass doors, making for a more exclusive environment and feel. Surrounding The Globe on the port-side is the Art Gallery which has a number of seats.
Continuing along F Deck (Deck 2) towards the aft, Jenny showed Harry and Gavin the Intermezzo, located at the top of the atrium and nearby to the Ocean Grill, Marco Pierre White's restaurant, which unfortunately was not possible to view on this occasion. Further along they passed through the Spinnaker Bar before entering the two tiered Meridian Restaurant at the stern.
Moving up to Promenade Deck (Deck 3) through the Meridian Restaurant, Harry and Gavin saw the few remaining public areas which they had missed on this deck at the aft end of the ship, such as the Photo Gallery and The Piano Bar, located at the top of the atrium.
Now approximately 10:45, Jenny took Harry and Gavin to Reception located on G Deck (Deck 1) whereDeputy Captain, Thomas Connery was there to meet them along with Deck Cadet, Jack McManus. The Deputy Captain handed over to Jack who guided, Harry and Gavin as well as Jenny to the drawing of Arcadia, which is displayed right outside the Captain's Office, adjacent to the bridge on A Deck (Deck 8).
Both Harry and Gavin took plenty of photos of the Arcadia drawing, which was officially presented on board on August 19th 2011, nearly three years earlier. As always it was a proud moment for Harry to view another of his drawings displayed aboard one of the world's leading cruise ships.
Following the viewing of the drawing a brief visit to the bridge took place, which was a nice surprise forHarry and Gavin and even Jenny too! Unfortunately on this occasion photography was not allowed, so we are unable to share any photographs with you.
After the surprise visit to the bridge, Deck Cadet, Jack escorted Harry, Gavin and Jenny back to the passenger stateroom corridor on A Deck (Deck 8). Right away the tour continued, only from Sun Deck (Deck 10) as Harry was keen to see some of the brand new staterooms which has been added during the recent refurbishment, including six single stateroom, four inside and two balconies.
Whilst on Sun Deck (Deck 10) they also viewed the Viceroy Room / Wedding Venue and The Crow's Nest Bar, which offered great views over the bow of the ship.
On Lido Deck (Deck 9) Harry and Gavin explored the Oasis Spa and many of the various venues located within it, such as the Hydro Pool, the Gymnasium and the Salon.
Next they passed through the Neptune Pool which features a large sliding glass roof or 'Skydome'. The pool area also features three Jacuzzis and the poolside Neptune Bar. Having spotted Holland America Line's Rotterdam departing Harry and Gavin quickly made their way up to the top of Arcadia for a better view of the ship passing and also got an up close view of Arcadia's traditional buff coloured funnel.
After watching Rotterdam manoeuvre for a few minutes the tour continued, heading back inside to The East Bar on Lido Deck (Deck 11). Harry and Gavin also explored the East restaurant before moving down briefly to Sky Deck (Deck 10) where Jenny showed them The Retreat.
One of the last areas yet to view was The Belvedere buffet restaurant on Lido Deck (Deck 10) as well as the Aquarius Pool and Aquarius Bar located outside on the stern.
It was now time to disembark Arcadia. From Lido Deck (Deck 10) Harry, Gavin and Jenny took one of the ship's four glass elevators down to G Deck (Deck 1). Here they quickly viewed one of the LB Outside category staterooms. As they headed towards the gangway they passed through the atrium and captured a few final photographs before disembarking Arcadia.