P&O Cruises bags small ship as other lines go big


As cruise lines continue the feverish bigger, wider, taller trend, P&O Cruises is taking a mighty step down in scale. In May 2011, the U.K.-based line will welcome the 30,200-ton, 710-passenger Adonia to the fleet. The ship will come by way of transfer from sister line Princess Cruises, where it is currently sailing as Royal Princess.

Adonia will become the smallest ship in P&O’s fleet of seven and will operate as an adult-only vessel (good news for fans of P&O’s adult-only ships, as the line’s kid-free Artemis is leaving the fleet in April 2011). P&O Cruises believes it is bucking the industry trend to introduce larger ships — think Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas and NCL’s Norwegian Epic — and that with Adonia, it will be able to visit off the beaten track destinations that some of the bigger ships cannot get into. Adonia’s full list of itineraries and fares will be announced in spring 2010.

The ship, which will head into dry dock in the Bahamas in early May prior to transferring to P&O, will have a traditional feel to it — with wood panelling, leather armchairs and artwork onboard. High on the entertainment list will be after dinner speakers, although no programmes have been released at this point. Adonia will also have a Crow’s Nest observation lounge with a nautical feel, and Anderson’s, a centrally located lounge bar.

Speaking to Cruise Critic, P&O’s managing director Carol Marlow said that since the line announced Artemis was leaving the fleet, passengers have been asking whether they are going to get another adult-only ship.

She said: “There are similarities between the ships — both have the small ship, intimate feel. There’s a large range of balcony cabins on Adonia and it has modern facilities, but it still has a British feel with public rooms such as a card room and the fantastic library. I think passengers who loved Artemis will be very pleased.”

As a result of the Royal Princess leaving Princess Cruises, five sailings in April and May 2011 have been cancelled. These cruises are the April 6 cruise to Tahiti; April 16 cruise to Tahiti; April 26 cruise to Hawaii and Tahiti; May 8 cruise to Hawaii, and a one-night cruise to nowhere. A 26-day South Pacific and Andes Explorer cruise will be offered on April 6, 2011 instead. Princess was unavailable to comment on compensation for passengers booked on these cruises.

In related news, the move also means that come summer 2011, there will be one less Princess ship in Alaska. Next summer, Royal Princess with be sailing its final Alaska season with roundtrip itineraries from Seattle.