P&O Cruises Managing Director
talks about the Adonia
Richard H. Wagner
Adonia is the newest ship to join the fleet of P&O Cruises. Significantly
different than the last two ships to join P&O Cruises - - the mega-cruise
ships Ventura and Azura - - Adonia is a relatively small cruise ship that
features a country club atmosphere and exotic itineraries. I asked Carol
Marlow, Managing Director of P&O Cruises, to give us some thoughts
about her new ship.
"Adonia caters for our adult passengers, old and new, who are interested
in traveling on a smaller, more traditional style 'pathfinder' ship and
exploring new and different ports of call."
The story of Adonia dovetails with the story of another recent P&O
Cruises ship, Artemis. Artemis was built at the Wartsila shipyard in
Finland for P&O's then-subsidiary Princess Cruises and entered service in
1984. At the time, she was considered quite innovative with no inside
cabins and good sea-keeping properties. Indeed, the importance of this
ship was underscored when Diana, Princess of Wales, named her "Royal
Royal Princess sailed for Princess Cruises until 2005 when she was
transferred to P&O Cruises. (Although P&O Cruises was by then no longer
the parent of Princess, the two lines were, and are, still affiliated under the
Carnival Corporation umbrella). Following a 10.5 million pound re-fit, the
ship emerged as Artemis.
In the 20 years since Artemis had entered service, the size of cruise
ships had grown exponentially. Thus, while not originally conceived of as
a small ship, the 45,000 gross-ton Artemis was now a relatively small
ship. P&O Cruises recognized this as an advantage and targeted the ship to
that segment of the cruise market that prefers a more intimate cruise
experience. In addition, Artemis' size combined with her seakeeping
abilities made her well-suited to visiting smaller ports and ranging far-off
seas. As P&O Cruises' pathfinder ship, Artemis had a dedicated following.
By 2009, however, Artemis was a quarter century old and no longer
cutting edge. Thus, when German cruise line Phoenix Reisen expressed an
interest in acquiring the ship, P&O Cruises decided to part with her.
"Whilst it had not been our intention to sell Artemis at that time, she
was a much older ship than the rest of the fleet and we received interest in
her. As the P&O Cruises fleet was to grow in capacity in 2010 through the
introduction of the new Azura, we decided to sell Artemis."
Although P&O Cruises would still have several large and medium-sized
ships, the decision to sell Artemis would leave P&O Cruises without a
small ship. "Larger ships have their own appeal, with the spectrum of bars,
dining and entertainment choices they can offer. [However, other
travelers] really enjoy a smaller ship, with its more intimate ambience. It
was important for us to replace Artemis with another small ship. No other
cruise line offers this breadth of choice specifically for the British cruiser."
Attention naturally turned to the source of P&O Cruises' last small ship.
At the time, Princess Cruises had three small 30,000 gross-ton ships, which
did itineraries not unlike those done by Artemis. All three had been built
by the French shipyard Chantiers de l'Atlantique for Renaissance Cruises
and were essentially identical. Conceived of as small ships, they had
achieved a reputation amongst cruise connoisseurs as jewels of the sea,
intimate yet with all the modern luxuries. Indeed, the five other
Renaissance sister ships not owned by Princess were (and are) marketed as
luxury ships. Fortunately, to advance the interests of the overall corporate
family, Princess was willing to make the youngest of its three small ships
available to P&O Cruises.
"[I]t was clear we needed a replacement small ship. Princess Cruises
[had] more than one small ship within its fleet and will also increase
capacity with the launch of the new Royal Princess in May 2013. As P&O
Cruises sought a small ship to replace Artemis it made sense to transfer the
ship from one brand to the other."
Indeed, the ship in question even bore the same name that Artemis had
borne when she was with Princess Cruises - - Royal Princess.
Accordingly, the notion of building a new ship to replace Artemis "did not
arise as the Princess Cruises ship was perfect for us and available."
"She is an elegant and welcoming ship with real small ship charm. She
offers a truly intimate and classic cruise experience, yet with all the
comforts you would expect from a modern vessel. With this size of ship our
passengers can get to know their fellow cruisers and crew easily as they
travel to some of the most intriguing destinations on the map, which are
inaccessible to larger ships."
Therefore, it was decided that the Princess ship would enter service for
P&O Cruises as Adonia in May 2011 shortly after Artemis left the fleet.
Before joining P&O Cruises, the ship would undergo a makeover in The
Bahamas. However, this Royal Princess would not require a
transformation of the same scale as was done when the last Royal Princess
came to P&O Cruises. While Princess had targeted the ship to the
American market, it was to that segment of the American market that
appreciates British style. Thus, with its wood paneling and country house
furnishings, the ship already had a British atmosphere.
"All P&O Cruises ships are designed to appeal to those who have
British tastes and many aspects of the interior on Royal Princess were
preserved as they suited our needs"
"We made changes to the ship to bring it in line with our positioning and
added some signature public spaces. These changes included adding:
celebrity chef Marco Pierre White's restaurant, The Ocean Grill; P&O
Cruises' signature Crow's Nest lounge; and the Sorrento Italian restaurant.
We also decided to remove the casino so passengers could enjoy an
Anderson's bar/lounge, another P&O Cruises signature room."
Guests traveling on Adonia would also experience P&O Cruises'
signature service. "The standard of service offered across our fleet does
Although P&O Cruises seeks to serve the British cruise market, it
realizes that that market is made up of individuals with differing styles and
holiday preferences. Accordingly, it was decided that it would be
consistent with the style and preference of the type of passenger who would
be interested in a small, sophisticated ship that travels on
longer-than-average cruises if the ship were adults-only.
"All the P&O Cruises ships cater to the needs of our passengers. There
are large modern, contemporary designed ships such as Ventura, to the
more classic mid-sized ship, Aurora. As we recently introduced two large
family friendly ships: Azura and Ventura, we made the decision to make
Adonia exclusively for adults and offer a more intimate and refined
experience for our adult passengers."
During her maiden season with P&O Cruises, Adonia is embarking on
three types of itinerary: cruises from Southampton to Europe and the
Mediterranean; a lengthy voyage around South America; and fly-cruises in
which guests fly to embarkation ports in the Mediterranean thus giving them
more time in the Med than if they sailed from Southampton. While
reminiscent of the itineraries done by Artemis, Adonia is also going her
"Adonia's smaller size allows intrepid travelers to explore
off-the-beaten-track destinations. As our pathfinder ship it can travel to
intriguing ports and destinations that see few if any other cruise ships.
These destinations include Zadar in Croatia, Koper in Slovenia and Savona
in Italy. We are also offering fly/cruises in the Mediterranean in the late
autumn as we are keen to try a new type of itinerary and her size enables
her to visit these off-the-beaten-track destinations."
Cruise ship interview - - Adonia - -P&O Cruises - - Carol Marlow
|Adonia when she was Royal Princess.
Adonia (Photo courtesy of P&O Cruises).
|Its all about ships
P&O Cruises Managing Director
Carol Marlow (Photo Courtesy of