We are experienced cruise travellers in our mid 60's having previously cruised with a range of companies from Silverseas, Oceania, Celebrity Royal Caribean and Ocean Village. We chose this cruise on the Adonia, because we had been on one of the sister ships, Oceania's Nautica. We also wanted to try P & O as we have found that many of the US dollar based ships are getting ridiculously expensive for all their "extras". Overall we found a much older age group on this cruise (average 71). We had 6 formal nights on this cruise which we now find a bit of a bore! We much prefer Oceania's Country Club Casual dress code -particularly if you are restricted by weight allowances on fly cruises. Similar to a previous review we were surprised to find that the Conservatory Buffet restaurant was only open on the nights of theme buffets (4 in all which were 2 Indian Buffets (very good), an Asian and a Mediterranean). The 2 premium restaurants, Ocean Grill and Sorrento were very good and we ate there 6 times in all and thought they were good value for the quality and service we received.
We thought the entertainment was good for a small ship. In particular the Headliners resident group were extremely talented and versatile. In fact we would put this group as some of the best we have ever seen on a ship. Pity that this group were finishing their contract at the end of this cruise and were all going their separate ways-a great loss to P&O!!
However, some of the other visiting entertainers were poor. One comedian went back to Crackerjack days and was an embarrassment!However it was nice to see the brief visit and demonstration from the professional ballroom dancers Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopilova. The 2 West End performers Petrina Johnson and Nik Page and the veteran pianist Bobby Crush were very good but the enrichment lectures were also somewhat disappointing with the exception of Edwina Currie who took time out from her preparations for Strictly Come Dancing and the ex BBC journalist Peter Hobday who sadly only did one talk as opposed to a Tax expert who spread his knowledge out over about 6 sessions- most of which were irrelevant to this audience! P&O missed a trick in not placing on board an expert who could have helped to enhance our visit to Istanbul and the Black Sea ports of Yalta, Odessa etc.
As has been said before, the cabins are about the smallest you can get and the shower cubicle is ok for very small people!!(I can't remember the shower being as small on the Nautica!!). Most of the waiters in the main dining room are Indian and they make a great team proving a great service. However at this point I get less enthusiastic about the food. It is very "British" in its choices available and some evenings I struggled to find something to tempt my taste buds! Not a sign of any garlic or spices used in any of the dishes. I suppose that this is what I expected but had hoped to find something a little more international in the cuisine. Another big surprise was that there did not seem to be any fresh vegetables or fruit. One of the Head waiters told me that everything was loaded in Southampton and frozen! We ran out of bananas about 10 days out and did not see any more until the way home when the last port of call was Alicante after which some more bananas appeared!
Another criticism is the 2 sittings for dinner either 6.30 or 8.30.and no "freedom dining". Oceania can run the same ship with open dining on any size table from 6.30 to 9.30 and keep the Buffet open every night! Why can't P&O?
Overall, we enjoyed the cruise and thought it fair value for money. Would we go P&O again? Not on the Adonia, for the reasons above. We might try one of their larger ships where hopefully there would be a greater food choice.