There are four main places to eat. The Pacific Restaurant, situated aft on the Promenade Deck, serves open-seating breakfast and lunch and fixed-seating dinner in two sittings, at 6.30 p.m. and 8.30 p.m. (although this varied slightly on the formal nights, due to the Captain's cocktail party being accommodated). There are tables for two, four, six and eight. If you're feeling romantic, a two by the aft windows is the best location for views of the sea and the ship's wake.
Breakfast (from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.) includes full English, with many variations, as well as a daily Chef's Special (Eggs Benedict, devilled kidneys and so on). There are also healthier options, Continental and a wide selection of pastries. Lunch (12:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.) is a choice of starters, soups and salads, mains with a strong British influence (fish and chips, steak and kidney pie) and desserts. Five-course dinners feature starters, a soup and salad course, a selection of mains and a choice of desserts and cheeses. Again, expect traditional dishes like sirloin steak, roast pork, and liver and game pie. There's also pavlova, or sticky toffee pudding, as well as more adventurous veggie options like vegetable tempura. There's always a fish choice and a vegetarian option on the main menu. Chicken breast, salmon steak and Caesar salad are always available, too.
We found the food in the Pacific Restaurant generally very good, hot and nicely presented. The vegetables were outstanding. I was travelling with a vegetarian friend, and although there's a separate, always-available vegetarian menu (you have to ask the waiter for this and order a day in advance), sometimes she simply asked for extra vegetables, as they were so good, particularly a simple but perfect cauliflower cheese one night. I made a special request for curry, being a curry devotee; if there are a lot of Indian crew, I don't feel bad doing this as I know there will be curry on the ship somewhere for them, and usually an Indian chef. On one occasion, the chef made a wonderful vegetable curry and on another, some chicken korma from the lunch buffet was saved for me and spiced up for dinner.
The Pacific Restaurant is also the setting for afternoon tea, served daily from 4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. There's no charge for this. Delicate sandwiches and pretty cakes are displayed on each table on a cake stand, and waiters come round with hot scones, jams and clotted cream, as well as tea served in individual pots. We only had tea once, as we were eating so much anyway, but it felt special, like a real treat.
Wines are very reasonably priced on Adonia. The house red and white is only £11.95 a bottle, with a good range of European and New World wines, all in an affordable spectrum. If you book a wine package, there is a discount of 15 percent on the list prices.
The Conservatory, the casual indoor-outdoor dining venue on Lido Deck, is unchanged in decor since Royal Princess days. It serves buffet food and is open from 6:30 a.m. to midday for breakfast and then for lunch and snacks. Breakfast includes a big, British fry-up with all the extras, from fried bread to black pudding, and a separate window provides omelettes and fried eggs. (There are scrambled eggs on the buffet.) There are healthier options, too -- fresh fruit, cereals and pastries. Juice comes from a machine but isn't too sweet. Tea and coffee also come from a machine, but waiters will bring it to the table if you ask.
One annoyance is that, although there are two Costa Coffee outlets on the ship -- one in the Conservatory bar and one in Raffles Bar -- the earliest you can buy a speciality coffee (such as lattes and cappuccino, for a fee) is 10 a.m. The bartender in Raffles very kindly fired up the machine early for me when he could, but it still seems like bad planning.
Lunch is served in The Conservatory from midday to 3 p.m. and includes a not terribly imaginative salad buffet and a wide choice of hot dishes, including pies, fish dishes, curries aplenty, roast meats, pastas and a hot vegetarian dish. Puddings were decadent and British -- crumbles, fruit tarts and cakes, with cream and custard. There's always a cheese board on offer.
Strangely, The Conservatory is only open on selected evenings for dinner, when, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., there's a themed buffet dinner. On my two-week cruise, there were two: Best of British Buffet and an Indian/Asian night. So, essentially, there's no casual dining option on Adonia most nights.
The new reservations-only restaurants are gorgeous, particularly on a cruise with long, light evenings. Marco Pierre White's Ocean Grill, running along the starboard side of the Sun Deck (the prime seats with the best views are across the aft of the ship) serves fresh, contemporary British cuisine, described as modern British, with all the influences that this entails: Thai fishcakes, cheese souffle, grilled lobster, Bresse chicken coq au vin, wild boar burgers. The emphasis is on using the best ingredients, hence the Bresse chicken and salmon from Loch Duart. We ate there twice, and the food was generally excellent, some dishes more so than others. A lobster came looking a bit lonely and garnish-free, but my coq au vin was almost black with the rich, red wine sauce and was superb. Battered fish was light and fluffy, but the chips came Jenga-style, piled like bricks, and were a bit soggy. The vegetarian coulibiac is just plain weird -- a vegetable pastry dish, plus tempura mushrooms, plus mashed potato, which equals way too much starch. Puddings, though, were sublime, so save space for those.
There's a good wine list in Ocean Grill, with some excellent and unusual wines by the glass, chosen by P&O Cruises' wine expert, Olly Smith, and reminiscent of his successful Glass House bar on Azura.
Equally lovely is Sorrento, an Italian speciality restaurant opposite on the port side, done out in dazzling white, with black-and-white striped blinds, and serving dishes like baked mushrooms in a cheese sauce, pasta and pizza, or sea bass with prawns. For just £5 a head, it's exceptional value and a pleasing change of pace from the bustle of the main dining room.
The cover charges are fiddly and complicated, related to the length of the cruise. So, for Ocean Grill, it's £12.95 per person on an itinerary of eight or more days, £17.95 for three to seven days and a whopping £22.95 for one to two days. Supplements do apply for some items, but in reality, pretty well everything on the menu is included. Sorrento costs £5 (itineraries of eight or more days), £7.50 (itineraries of three to seven days) or £10.00 (itineraries of one to two days) and also has supplements for some items.
There are two smaller venues, too. The Lido Cafe by the pool serves salads and burgers from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., while a cake and speciality coffee shop, Raffles, just off the Atrium, sells speciality coffees, baguettes and Italian softbread stuffed pockets from 10 a.m. until late for £2.50. However, why anybody would pay for a sandwich with all that free food onboard seems slightly odd. There are also cakes displayed in a glass case, and these don't cost any extra.
Room service is available from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. for continental breakfast (except on disembarkation day, when there isn't any), and then until 11 p.m. Basic pizzas, baguettes and a couple of starters, main courses and desserts are free, but a lot of things carry a supplement, from £3.95 for a burger to £4.50 for a seafood pie.