We joined Adonia in Dubai for an 18 day sector of her 2014 World cruise, disembarking in Singapore. Ports were Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Fujairah, all in the UAE, Colombo Sri Lanka, Yangon Myanmar, Port Blair India, Melaka Malaysia and Singapore. We enjoyed all ports of call and had pre and post cruise stays in Dubai and Singapore.
Embarkation in Dubai was slow as approximately 300 passengers were joining in Dubai and many appeared to have arrived at the same time. Also because of this, suitcases took a while to be delivered to the cabin.
Having sailed on sister ship Azamara Quest in August 2013, and on this very ship (Adonia) nine years ago when it was Swan Hellenic Minerva 11, we were looking forward to being onboard again as we like this size of ship. At that time the ship and interior furnishings and décor were not new but in excellent condition and of high quality.
The cabin was a good size with plenty of storage and much as we expected, although we were shocked to note that items such as the sofa covering and lampshades had not been replaced in nine years and were looking shabby and in need of replacement. The P and O addition of tea and coffee facilities was welcome. The bathroom had plenty storage but the shower is small as it is on all “ex-Renaissance” eight sisters. Toiletries were of good quality. The balcony was looking incredibly shabby with rust and flaking paint and we heard many others comment on the condition of their own. It had obviously been some years since some or all balconies had had any maintenance carried out on them.
Public lounges and the library were quite smart looking although the main diningroom had patches here and there in the carpet where some areas had been replaced. It really did not look good and all of the carpet in there should be replaced. The wooden tables and chairs on the pool deck were in need of resanding and varnishing as were some of the handrails. Other areas were similarly shabby. Many people commented on how few staff were to be seen around the ship painting, sanding and generally keeping it looking as good as it could be. It is the first time we have actually noticed a lack of ongoing maintenance on a ship and it does show. It is probably time for P and O to spend some money on Adonia.
Entertainment was better than we had expected it to be, and with the exception of one comedian and one guest speaker we enjoyed the wide variety on offer. There were many activities both inside and out on sea days and the weather was beautiful.
There was a complimentary shuttle service in every port apart from Melaka, our only tender port and we tendered into the centre of town. Even when we were docked some distance from the port ( as in Yangon) there were shuttle services. With so many cruiselines now charging for shuttles it is to P and O’s credit that they are still being offered and still complimentary and passengers commented favourably on this.
Port info for independent passengers was very good, being more comprehensive than we have noticed on other cruiselines.
The dress code is very strictly observed with no passengers admitted to public lounges or dining areas unless correctly dressed for that evening. As the buffet was only occasionally open in the evenings and never on formal evenings, passengers not formally dressed on formal evenings could only order in their cabin from the room service menu.
Onboard pricing for wine and in the bars was reasonable for a cruiseship. Gratuities are good value at £3-50pppd.
Food is difficult to comment on as everyone has different ideas as to what constitutes “good” food. In the evenings we were seated at a table for eight and on several occasions food had to be returned by someone at the table as it was overcooked or dry. And quite often what had been ordered was not what was expected when it arrived. Fluted pastry tartlets became a running joke as they appeared most evenings with different fillings. The cheese board was very bland and rarely changed. Lunches in the buffet became rather boring if you did not want hot food, of which there was a good selection both in the buffet and outside on the pool deck. The cold meats, cheeses and salads lost all their appeal after a few days as they rarely changed and neither were they imaginative. Even basics such as cream cheese and olives were nowhere to be found never mind anything at all exotic. The lunchtime sandwich bar was the worst we have seen on any ship. The same basic fillings day after day and the only bread was plain white or plain brown sliced bread, the same bread that was used for toast at breakfast. Breakfast had full hot English options, cold options and pancakes. Nothing more. Overall the food was disappointing and our only real issue but others may have been perfectly happy with their meals and we understand this.
There was an earlier breakfast available on the day many were disembarking in Singapore, otherwise meal times rarely changed from the daily timings, even on days when shorex were leaving early and/ or returning late. It is the first time on any ship when we twice left on 10 or 11 hour shorex very early in the morning with only the most basic continental breakfast before leaving, and on one occasion an evening return to an Indian Buffet which first sitting passengers who had missed their sitting were expected to attend. On the second occasion a more international buffet was offered. On one of these breakfast occasions the croissants were stale and there was not even any toast available. In our opinion Hotel Direction and the Shorex Team need to work together to meet passengers expectations rather than function separately as they appear to do at present.
As this was only our second P and O cruise, the first being seven years ago, we do not know how typical our P and O experience was. We would however hesitate to book again on any P and O ship, preferring instead to pay more for better quality on cruiselines we have previously sailed.