I liked every arc except the one with the desert kingdom and crocodile. Ok, so once we actually got to crocodile, things were interesting again, but up until that point it was so emo I just couldn't take it.
I actually stopped reading there, and didn't pick it back up until a friend of mine insisted that it got better.
I don't beleive this. Crocodile is awesome, and the Alabasta arc was a great step in Oda's story telling.