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P&O Cruises: Adonia

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Adonia Cruise Review

Experienced British cruisers know the Adonia and probably its predecessor, the Artemis. The conservative ship attracts a loyal following of affluent British travelers who appreciate country home aesthetics, traditional flavors, and manageable social scenes while cruising to off-the-beaten-track destinations. A happy camaraderie is fostered as a result of the ship’s compact size—a low staff-to-passenger ratio keeps service personalized and attentive; old-fashioned lounges and colorful tartan carpets add to a warm, family-style ambience. Though night owls will rarely be seen on this ship, expect onboard facilities to be buzzing with active seniors (50+) raring to enjoy a full and fun day. Enthusiasm is high on board and on shore with ample choice for keeping entertained and engaged.

With 710 passengers, Adonia is the smallest and newest addition to the P&O fleet, joining the armada in May 2011 as one of three adult-only ships. Expect to run into increasingly familiar faces on the grand staircase, lounges, and restaurants. The European-inspired interior is reminiscent of a refined English country manor. From velour furnishings in burgundy, grey, and hunter green to cherry wood detailing and traditional artwork, passengers will feel comfortable in intimate public rooms. Spacious cabins are outfitted with 21st-century amenities. The ship gets high marks from passengers for friendly service and fine dining. Branded a “pathfinder ship,” Adonia explores ports megaships cannot navigate. Balconies are attached to 75% of cabins, providing memorable rooms with a view.

Originally named the R8 for Renaissance Cruises back in 2001, the Adonia was built at the famed Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyards in France. By 2003, she was sold to the British operator Swan Hellenic, who renamed her the Minerva II. Her parent company, Carnival, then brought her into the Princess Cruise fleet as Royal Princess. Transferred to P&O Cruises in 2009, she received a pricey makeover and then returned for grand sailing in 2011, christened with her current name by the famous Welsh singer Dame Shirley Bassey.

Since 1937, P&O Cruises (originally the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company) has been a force in passenger shipping. Although the company's suggestion that they invented leisure cruising cannot be proven, P&O is assuredly a pioneer of modern cruising. The company acquired Princess Cruises in 1974. P&O then purchased Sitmar Cruises and merged it with Princess in 1988, and the passenger-cruise business—known as P&O Princess—was spun off in 2000.

P&O Cruises is the oldest cruise in the world and remains Britain's leading cruise line, sailing the U.K.'s largest and most modern fleet. The ships are equipped with every traditional big-ship amenity, including swimming pools, stylish restaurants, spas, bars, casinos, theaters, and show rooms.

Seven ships in the P&O fleet offer a diverse range of venues for relaxation and entertainment, including cocktail bars, nightclubs, cinemas, games rooms, and cabaret lounges. Enjoy live bands, dramatic musicals, and deck parties, cabaret singers, comedians, specialty acts, classical recitals, and concerts. Theme evenings include tropical, 1960s and '70s, or Black and White Ball. Other activities include quizzes and panel games, with prizes awarded to winning teams. A select number of itineraries offer the opportunity to spend the evening, or even overnight, in port.

An abundance of balcony and outside cabins on P&O ships ensures that a view to the sea is never far away. Accommodations, from inside cabins to lavish suites, cater to a wide cross section of budgets and tastes. In the interest of passenger health and safety, smoking has been prohibited indoors, including in all cabins and suites and on private balconies. Outdoor smoking venues are published on board.

To offer passengers a variety of choices, P&O has adapted their fleet to match the preferences of their primary markets. Although most of the ships cater to families as well as couples and singles of all ages, Arcadia, Adonia, andOriana are adults-only ships. The Aurora, Azura, Oceana, and Ventura complete the P&O armada and welcome both adults and children. Following customer feedback, P&O announced major refurbishments for the Ventura, Oceana, and Arcadia in 2013.

What You Should Know


  • Three-quarters of all cabins have balconies
  • Service is responsive and friendly, offered with British flair
  • Food is well-prepared, and special dining requests can almost always be accommodated


  • Ship can feel old-fashioned with thick carpeting and heavy woods
  • Interior cabins will feel particularly small
  • There are cover charges for some restaurants
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 373
  • Entered Service 2001
  • Gross Tons 30,277
  • Length 594 feet
  • Number of Cabins 355
  • Passenger Capacity 710
  • Width 84 feet

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