Any port in a storm? Not this one for Adonia, thank you very much

/, Cruise News/Any port in a storm? Not this one for Adonia, thank you very much

Adonia is the smallest vessel in P&O’s fleet; a medium-sized cruise ship by modern standards, it can get to where its larger sisters cannot go. According to Captain David Perkins it’s “the small ship with a big heart” and P&O boss Carol Marlow is fond of the phrase “pathfinder ship” to differentiate it from Azura, Arcadia, Aurora and the others.
On this cruise to the Norwegian fjords it has called at Skjolden, Bodo and Alta, all destinations which are off the beaten track and which do not feature on most Norway itineraries. But there’s a reason why some small ports have failed to grow to the size of Bergen and Stavanger – they are more difficult to reach. Farsund, Adonia’s final scheduled port of call on this cruise, is a case in point.
Port presenter Michael had already done a great job of under-selling the place. It was a quiet, remote village, with little to see apart from a church where they might be playing music; because of its location in the far south of Norway, souvenirs and probably a cup of coffee would be even more expensive than the astronomical prices charged in the rest of the country.
Not to worry, because we were going to be in port on a Sunday, the shops would be closed anyway. Passengers who chose an excursion might learn about the tour guide’s school, or where their grandparents used to live, but there was little in the way of history or local culture to get excited about.
It didn’t look like the locals were going to be making much of an effort to welcome Adonia, and to top it all, the ship would be docking more than a mile from the town itself, in a not-particularly-attractive area, and with an unappealing walk of more than a mile into town. Thank heavens, at least, for P&O’s free shuttle buses.
As it happens, none of this was of any concern in the end. Making our breakfast-time approach, threading a course between rocky islets which it was almost possible to reach out and touch, winds were gusting to 25 knots. The local pilot’s advice was that if the wind speed rose any higher, as it was forecast to do, we would not be allowed to attempt the outward passage. Adonia would be trapped in Farsund until the weather eased, and we risked being late returning to Southampton.
Captain Perkins, a veteran at sea and a former master of Cunard’s QE2, had no choice – he had to get out immediately. He turned the ship around, and pausing only to make an announcement to the passengers, retraced his course through the perilous rocks and out into open water.
The forecast soon proved correct, and the ship spent the rest of the day bouncing around in the North Sea; the open decks were closed, and sick bags (sorry, “motion discomfort bags” as they are now labelled) were provided in the public areas.
Those who had paid for excursions had their money re-funded, and they would have happily spent it in Adonia’s bars, or taking part in some hastily re-arranged entertainment courtesy of Cruise Director “auntie” Christine Noble and her team – if only most of the passengers had not been confined to their cabins.
A hardy few made it to the Great British Sailpast, which replaced the traditional Sailaway party, but there were leftovers aplenty at the Great British Buffet lunch in the Conservatory, and some noticeably empty tables at dinner in the Pacific restaurant. Up on Deck 10, the Crow’s Nest bar, usually a hive of cocktail activity before dinner, was almost deserted, and for once it was easy to grab a table in prime position looking down on the bow as rain lashed against the windows.
The sea was considerably calmer by morning, and in his regular noon, broadcast Capt Perkins was able to tell us we had sailed through winds of Gale Force 9 and six-metre waves. But at least we would be arriving home on time – if not even a little early.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:02+00:00 29 August 2011|Cruise Destinations, Cruise News|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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