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GoCruisewithJane Cruising in the 50's – P&O Cruises Arcadia

Following on from the nostalgia of Traditional Cruising that has surrounded the brand new Azura, I thought it was time to look at some of my old film footage again. This one shows my Mum cruising back in  1958, on the old old Arcadia (second one of four) Mum recalls having a suite for 23 Guinea’s. I think that translates to £23 and 23 shillings?!! I too went onto cruise onboard this Arcadia in the 1960’s and 1970’s. My last time onboard was in May 1975 on a short cruise to Amsterdam where we visited the Dutch Bulb fields.

I wasnt around in 1958 so can comment, but I do remeber the ship quite well. As you will see from the film footage, she wasnt the prettiest of ships and there is quite a bit of footage of her outside decks and superstructure. Dont ever state that Ventura and Azura are ugly again! But you cant argue that ships such as Arcadia were indeed real ships!

Arcadia was built by John Brown Shipyards in 1954 and had a refurb by Harland & Wolfe in Belfast in 1959. she was srapped in Taiwan in 1979.

Arcadia was 29,734 GRT with 670 First Class passengers, 735 Tourist Class passengers and 716 crew. So, she is roughly the size of the new P&O Adonia that will be launched next year, but she had 695 more passengers than Adonia will have!

Some good footage of the old original Ocean Terminal at Southamptom about half way into the film


  • julie
    Posted April 18, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Thankyou for that Jane, very interesting, I remember taking my grandparents down to Southampton to join Arcadia, and Canberra when I was a little girl, never dreamed we would be doing the same in years to come.

  • lizzie chapman-walker
    Posted April 19, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Wow, this is so fantastic, my first cruise was in 1973 with my parents on a union castle ship called Reina Del Mar (or something very similar !!)I think it was around £550 for all 3 of us !! We then started cruising on Canberra around the late 70’s and had at least one cruise a year, then I met up with other similar aged cruisers and we carried on yearly until around 1995, then moved onto Oriana, I also spent my honeymoon on here.

  • Graham Smith
    Posted February 24, 2011 at 10:05 am

    im Graham Smith i was a PRS on this lovely lady, my home for two years,back in the 70’s,about 1973 to 75 ish. I was in tears when i finally left this great lady. I am looking for people that remember me, i have found one person so far ,lol she was my passenger and we are still friends to this day.

    • Post Author
      Posted February 24, 2011 at 10:25 am

      Good luck finding some more people you know. Have you tried Seadogs Reunited?

      J x


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