What makes Adonia wonderful

//What makes Adonia wonderful

IMG_5351.jpgBefore bringing you up-to-date with this week’s activities, I ought to return to Adonia briefly. Having written about some of the destinations on the visit to Norway, it’s time to talk about the ship itself.
My own opinions are best summed up by the Captain, David Perkins. A generously-built man, he is a Carnival UK veteran and has commanded Cunard’s QE2 and the largest ships in P&O’s fleet before taking over at the help of it’s smallest.
As far as he is concerned – and I agree wholeheartedly – it’s pretty much the perfect sized cruise ship. Big enough to have almost all the modern facilities passengers have come to expect, yet small enough to be intimate and personal, and crucially, to be able to visit out-of-the-way ports.
In numbers, that means a ship of 30,277 tons, carrying 670 passengers and 373 crew Emotionally, it means – as Capt Perkins was fond of reminding us during his daily broadcasts – Adonia is the little ship with a big heart.
Not everything is perfect, and we’ll come to some of my quibbles later, but there are so many plus points it’s difficult to know where to start,
So let’s begin with the food, which was unfailingly excellent. The Pacific Dining Room operates fixed-seating for dinner, with two sittings. There are a few tables for two, and more for groups of four, six, eight and 10. The luckiest diners bag a table right at the stern, looking out over the ship’s wake, where the view more than compensates for the slight vibration.
Menu choice was excellent – the problems came with deciding between which of the three or four starters, two soups, and five or six main courses to go for. I can post the week’s menus next week if there’s any interest.
The Conservatory buffet restaurant – not surprisingly smaller than the equivalents on Ventura, Azura and other P&O ships – nevertheless provided a wide selection for breakfast and lunch and its best feature is the open deck space aft, perfect for al fresco eating.
Unusually, the Conservatory is open for casual dining only on occasional theme evenings – on a ship where the majority of chefs and waiters are from India, curry night is unmissable.
Then there are the real stars of the show: Sorrento and Ocean Grill for speciality dining – well worth the small supplement charged. The two restaurants are side by side aft of the ship and in each there is only one table which does not have a window view. I have only one complaint about Sorrento. They should have warned me it was unwise to have both the fried calamari starter and the minestrone soup and I was almost full before my main course. My fault for being a glutton.
Marco Pierre White’s menu in the Ocean Grill is unbeatable, and this time I made sure I left room for the Wally Ladd trifle to follow my lobster and chips. The wine list shows evidence of Olly Smith’s hand – or should I say nose? Or palate?
If I were to make one suggestion, it would be to replace Sorrento – good as it is – with a Glass House wine bar to showcase more of the TV wine expert’s taste in drinks and food.
Adonia’s hidden gem is up by the speciality restaurants – the library is vast for a ship of this size, carrying many times more books than the cubbyholes on Azura and Ventura, for example. Deep leather armchairs and even a fake fireplace lend the air of a gentleman’s club, and my only criticism is that it’s necessary to check the opening hours if you don’t want to find the books locked away behind glass doors.
High up at the pointed end of the ship is another gem. I do love a forward observation lounge, and Adonia’s Crow’s Nest is an almost perfect one, whether for relaxing while scanning the horizon during the day, getting in the mood for dinner with an early-evening cocktail, or testing the brain cells over a light-hearted quiz later at night. (The serious syndicate quiz is held each evening in the Conservatory).
Such a shame that the Crow’s Nest’s tranquility had to be broken each evening by a dire duo whose musical performances could almost have been forgiven were it not for the interminable sound-checks that preceded them. I could not understand why two people who played in the same room every night felt they needed to test their equipment like a rock band and orchestra tuning up for a stadium concert in front of a 50,000 audience.
To the cabins: adequate without being extravagant, but with all the wardrobe and cupboard space necessary for a two-week cruise, even with the number of outfits required to dress for two formal nights a week and the ever-changing smart casual and semi-formal evenings. Bathrooms are small but manageable – they would be improved if the flimsy shower curtain could be replaced by a sliding screen. Cruise ship comedians get an easy laugh by talking about clingy curtains, but it’s no joke to be clasped in their clammy embrace like a victim from Psycho.
One more quibble: Please, P&O, do something about the Nick Munro cutlery. It looks good, but it’s a triumph of style over substance. Knives never sit happily on side plates because they are unbalanced, and the tiles in The Conservatory serving area constantly ring to the sound of knives and forks sliding from trays and crashing to the floor.
“If that’s all you’ve got to complain about, then it must be pretty good,” you might say. And you’d be right. Near perfection for adult cruisers – like Arcadia and, very soon, Oriana, Adonia is a child-free zone.
When I get back from my current trip to Italy on Aegean Odyssey, I’ll try to find time to post some pictures from Adonia, and those menus if you want to see them. And I’m looking forward to returning to the ship for a couple of days in November when Marco Pierre White will be on board and Adonia should be welcomed into Monte Carlo by her very own godmother, Dame Shirley Bassey.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:01+00:00 7 September 2011|Cruise Ships|1 Comment

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.

One Comment

  1. Bh 9 September 2011 at 11:36 pm - Reply

    It is good to hear that Captain David Perkins is still active on the water front. i hope we see him back in Cunard in the near future.

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