The journey to Southampton was a little touch and go at one stage. Time wasn’t on our side, and circumstances meant we had to cut our timing quite fine. My heart sank when the traffic ground to halt on the M40. Oh no, how long would we be sat here. We could miss the whole naming ceremony of the newest addition to the P&O fleet – M.V. Adonia.
There was an Eavesway coach up ahead and he clearly knew something we didn’t, he started edging across to the slip road. We decided to take a gamble and follow him. I thought he was going to divert to the M1, but no, off we set down country lanes and through a couple of quaint villages, and before we knew it we were on the A34. Phew! Thanks nice Eavesway coach driver. What a reliable service.
We arrived at Southampton at 1.30pm. No queuing traffic and straight through dock gate 10 to the Mayflower Terminal. Adonia was tiny and you could just see her funnel above the terminal building. But we couldn’t wait to see what she was like inside.
Check in was fast and efficient and we were through the security checks and seated in the waiting area in no time. Boarding commenced at 2.15pm so we didn’t have much of a wait to get onboard.
We boarded via the air bridge onto the Prom deck , which was wide, but obviously not long!
We were allocated a J grade balcony stateroom, A40, on deck 8. They aren’t the largest of balcony cabins, but they had all the usual amenities that you would expect. Double wardrobe. Separate cupboard housing the fridge and shelving. Corner unit housing flat screen TV, with safe in a cupboard below. A large floor to ceiling mirror at the foot of the bed. Dressing table, again with large mirror above. I loved the fact that somebody had thought about the plug socket installation and located one upside down so that chargers etc could be plugged in, despite the fact that that they were really close to the dressing table surface. There were also continental plug sockets. Cupboards below housing tiny drawers – ideal for nic nacs but not much else and some shelf space. A small, but comfy two seater sofa and coffee table. Our bed was made up as a double and I hadnt got the heart to ask the cabin steward to change it to twins, but I later discovered the mattress was hard, and didn’t aid the best nights sleep for me.
The bathroom was compact, with a strange cut off oblong shape shower and sink unit. The bathroom looked to have been totally refurbished, but the cabin was a little tired looking in places.
So, off for a tour of the ship.
First stop was the Himalaya Suite on B deck, aft port side corner. One of the nicest suites I have seen for a long time, spacious and comfortable with zoned areas for dining, seating, and sleeping. Nice lounge type area , comfy sofa, large flat screen TV and stereo system. I loved the bedroom area with large canopied bed set on an angle. Huge dressing area with masses of floor to ceiling wardrobes. Marble bathroom with whirlpool bath, shower and vanity unit. There was also a separate guest cloakroom. Massive, deep corner balcony with steamer chairs and table and chairs. The suites have almost half the aft of the ship, with only two other balcony cabins in between. Suite lovers will love these AA grade suites.
Prom Deck – Raffles is at the top of the Grand staircase, rich red colour theme and grand piano for light cocktail music.
Mayfair shops – A really good range of onboard shops given the size of Adonia. Jewellery shop, and a larger gift shop, logo shop, boutique type shop. There was also a small Emporium selling every day essentials.
Anderson – The iconic marble top table and flower arrangement, with picture above, greeted you on the entrance to Anderson. Beyond it I fully expected to find Geoff, of Andersons fame, behind the bar. It could have been the entrance to Andersons on Aurora or Oriana – fab touch! Andersons was a large walk through type lounge, with the photo Gallery to the starboard side. Andersons had been zoned into lots of very comfy looking seating areas. A long bar, ran along the centre of the room, with plenty of seating at the bar.
The Curzon Lounge. This was like a cross between Harlequins, Pacific lounge and Carmens and is the main show lounge and cabaret room. Slightly sunken bar runs along the back wall, similar position to Carmens. Beautiful inlaid dance floor and excellent viewing from across the room toward the stage.
Raffles – Main bar area is located just at the entrance to the Pacific Restaurant, but extends out to above the Grand Staircase. Very cosy country house feel.
Pacific Restaurant – Light and airy yet cosy and warm. Light was flooding in the panoramic windows, but the elegant setting and plush, high backed armchair seating made made it feel very intimate.
Ocean Grill on deck 10. This is the Marco Pierre White inspired restaurant. Views to the aft and starboard side. A more select and intimate dining experience. A cover charge applies.
Sorrento is the mirror image on port side, but in softer, more subtle shades. As the name would suggest serves Italian themed menu.
Library is large and offers a relaxing place to sit and read. Plenty of seating and nice sofas around the fireplace.
Outside on deck 10 its 14 and a half laps = 1 mile. I think I would loose count after two or be dizzy by lap three!
Crows Nest is exactly where you would expect it to be at the forward end. Again there seemed to be lots of different zoned seating areas. A small stage for a band and small dance floor. Really nice bar area. I think this would be the late night place to gravitate to of an evening.
One deck below is the Oasis spa. Well equipped gym with a good range of fitness equipment. A very nice outdoor retreat type area overlooking the bow of the ship. Perfect sun trap and a raised Jacuzzi area.
Salon was small but adequate.
Midships on deck 10 is the main pool area. Plenty of open deck space that I wouldn’t imagine would be over crowded with a full complement of passengers.
Lido Cafe serves grills and burgers etc.
The Conservatory self service buffet dining runs along both sides of the ship and a cross the aft. The main serving areas both running across the aft. Rattan bamboo furniture and soft greens, again give the area light and airy but comfortable feel. Nice sheltered seating area on the open deck at the aft for alfresco dining.
The Pursers desk and shore excursion desk are down on D deck at the foot of the Grand Staircase. Im sure that the staircase will be the back drop of many onboard photos.
So, the main reason for being onboard was for the Naming of Adonia by Dame Shirley Bassey. At 3.15pm we made our way back upto Lido Deck, ready for the 3.30pm ceremony. The sun was glorious and beating down on us. Balfour champagne was quickly offered and our glasses kept constantly topped up. Delicate sandwiches and dainty cakes were beautifully presented on silver cake stands, and stunning flower arrangements adorned the decks. We mingled and chatted. I had to have my photo taken with Olly Smith because I think he’s fab, plus I love the Canadian Ice Fizz that he recommended in Azuras Glasshouse. We had the perfect vantage point of a view of the stage and met some lovely people to chat to.
Carol Marlow, Managing director of P&O Cruises, gave the Welcome speech but was interrupted towards the end by a ‘heckler’ behind us. He then burst into song and was joined by a female dancer and singer. They tapped dance and sang, which seemed a little bit random, but it added to the fun.
Hugh Bonneville was Master of Ceremonies and he spoke of the classical myth of the goddess Venus, her young lover Adonis, and the festival of Adonia. ‘When Adonis died, Venus beat her breast, weeping over the loss of her beloved,’ he said.
‘It is said a two-day festival of Adonia was begun in honour of his passing. ‘On the first day all was toil, wailing and tribulation. On the second, joy, celebration and rebirth. Well, the toil of preparing this splendid vessel is over. Today we celebrate her rebirth as she begins her new life on the high seas.’
A magnum of Balfour was suspended on a zip wire, running from the mast to the waiting diamond above the stage. Dame Shirley pressed her majic Diamond button, the magnum was released and glided along to smash against the ship. Silver confetti glistened and shimmered as it flurried across the open decks and showered us all. A fantastic moment that was shared by all invited guests and the ships company and crew that lined the upper decks. How lovely to see the crew be able to be part of this wonderful event. Well it called for another glass of fizz as we stood and soaked up a few more rays.
A few Celebritys were around and Lizy was keen to get her photo taken with Olympic Gold Medalist Mark Foster. He was very nice and obliged with a photograph. Andrea Mclean looked stunning, so stunning that I didn’t recognise her. Sorry Andrea!
Time for a quick cup of tea and a cup cake in the Conservatory and it was time to change for the formal evening onboard.
For once we were on time and we arrived at the Curzon Lounge for some more of that lovely Balfour fizz. Canapes were constantly being offered as was a top up of the glass! The hour soon passed and we were being invited to attend dinner in the Pacific Restaurant. Dame Shirley was escorted into dinner by Commodore Bergoine and all guests stood as she made her entrance. A beautifully presented meal with flowing red or white wine, and some very interesting fudge and truffles. After dinner speeches were made my David Dingle and the Transport Minister.
We didnt want to miss any of the fireworks and celebrations outside so we made our way back to the cabin to collect our wraps and head back upto Lido deck. As we walked out onto the deck we were greeted with cadets laden with wicker baskets of pashminas, which I thought was a lovely touch, We were soon approached by a waiter and offered brandy or Drambuie, then more chocolates and truffles started to appear. We were entertained by Incognito on the stage. Then the Shirley Basic music filled the decks again and Dame Shirley was escorted to the stage. She approached the lecturn, we thought to speak but she belted out a song and the more we clapped the more she sang. Note perfect and completely unaccompanied. She confessed afterwards that she didn’t mean to do that! But we appreciated the fact that she did. Being Godmother to Adonia clearly made her very happy. Dame Shirley introduced the fireworks and we were treated to a superb display from across the water. The sky above Adonia was bursting with colour.
Back down to Curzon Lounge for the other evening entertainment with the Overertones. Lizy had never heard of them, clearly she doesn’t watch enough daytime TV, but she was very impressed and they now have another new fan. It took a while but they soon had people up and dancing.
The evening continued until the early hours up in the Crows Nest with live music and late night DJ.
I think Adonia is a stunning little ship. She offers a more exclusive sophistication and traditional elegance to the P&O fleet. She is small but she has so much to offer. To me she felt equally as big as Aurora, but with less passengers onboard. Obviously she isn’t as big as Aurora, but the choice of bars and lounges was still there. I think she will become a firm favorite among those that like the smaller ship feel and those that like the more traditional element of a P&O Cruise. She is the pathfinder ship, so has some amazing itineraries and can offer different ports of call, but I think the real attraction will be her traditionalness that loyal P&O fans appreciate.
I didn’t think I was a lover of the more modern approach to Naming Ceremonies, preferring instead the pomp and circumstance of a tradition dockside naming celebration, with marching bands and Royalty. But P&O executed this Naming Ceremony beautifully. I was very, very honored to be invited, and it was greatly appreciated. We had a fantastic time and loved every moment of our time onboard. I will treasure my Adonia Diamond forever!
You can view all of the photographs that I have taken onboard Adonia Adonia Naming Cermony