European Cruise

Tracey Blackman on 21 September 2013
How lucky was I last Saturday when four friends and I went on Arcadia with P&O. We visited Bruges and Amsterdam and had four nights away. We got a taxi down to Southampton which made it very easy and when we saw Arcadia I thought she was beautiful, very elegant and not too large either. From the moment we got on board we were treated so well. We had lunch while our cases went to our cabin. The staff on board Arcadia were excellent and nothing was too much trouble. The ship was pristine, the staff were constantly cleaning and seemed happy.

We set sail at around 5pm and we had a fab sail away party waving our union jack flags around all singing and dancing with lots of champagne flowing. I knew we were going to have such a good time as everyone was in such high spirits and we hadn't even gone to see our cabins yet!

We shared a 3 berth cabin and my friends were next door in a 2 berth. We had outside cabins as we like the natural light coming through and you can see when you are going into a port. They were a good size especially (as you can imagine) we had rather a lot of clothes but we had plenty of space.

Our evening meal was a special experience. We had cocktails before dinner with lots of chatting and laughing and the cocktails were very reasonably priced at around £4.75 which I don’t think is bad at all. At dinner we always sat at the same table upstairs which was so elegant and the menu was just to die for. Everything we chose was delicious and like eating in a very good quality restaurant each evening. As it was so good we decided eat our breakfast in the same restaurant as well, but if you didn't want to it wasn't a problem as you could go to the buffet restaurant and help yourself with lots to choose from.

Our first stop Bruges was so easy to get to; all you do is jump on one of the coaches outside and go to the train station and then jump on the train to Bruges. Once there it is a 10 minute walk into Bruges which is such a pretty place full of cobbled streets, chocolate shops and great beer. They also have a fantastic market three times a year and it just happened to be on. We all saw things we wanted but couldn't carry them! We all had a lovely time and then got back on the train and bus to the cruise ship and ready for our next adventure.

That evening we were treated to a fantastic show featuring the man who played Simba in the Lion King in the West End. He was brilliant so we all enjoyed that and chatted to him after the show. Again it was so easy to get into Amsterdam - we just walked in. I loved Amsterdam and as I had never been I didn't quite know what to expect! It is so pretty, full of canals, bikes everywhere, little coffee shops, lovely one-off shops, great buildings and pretty houses. Went to Anne Frank’s house where we had to queue for around 45 minutes and it was only nine euros to get in. I found it very moving but also very sad although I was pleased I went.

Again, a lovely day was had by all. We went back to the ship for another lovely evening of fine food and laughter. The next day was at sea and really relaxing. That evening we all dressed up in our long dresses. Everyone looked so lovely with a great atmosphere and of course fab food.