P&O’s Adonia (2001/30,277gt) was christened by Dame Shirley Bassey, Britain’s most successful female artist ever, at a ceremony of fireworks and music in Southampton on 21 May. The 701-passenger vessel had arrived in the port earlier to a fanfare of salutes from fleetmates Azura (2010/115,055gt) and Oriana (1995/69,153gt).
She had spent three weeks being transformed at the Grand Bahama Shipyard in Freeport, from Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess, into the new baby of P&O’s family with new livery, the line’s signature lounges and bars, and a new speciality restaurant by celebrity chef Marco Pierre White. She sailed on her maiden voyage the following day, a 16-night sailing into the Mediterranean, and will be based out of Southampton throughout the summer. In the autumn she embarks on a series of Mediterranean fly-cruises before undertaking an 87-night voyage around South America in January 2012.
Adonia was built by Chantiers at Nazaire as the 30,277gt R Eight, the last of a series of identical sisters ordered by now-defunct Renaissance Cruises. She later sailed as Minerva II and since 2007 as Royal Princess. Oceania Cruises operates three of her sisters, Insignia (ex R One), Regatta (ex R Two) and Nautica (ex R Five), Princess Cruises has two with Pacific Princess (R Three) and Ocean Princess (R Four) and Azamara Club Cruises also has two.