New Cruise Ship Alert: P&O's Adonia Debuts Saturday

May 20, 2011
(3 p.m. BST) -- Under brilliantly sunny skies, P&O Cruises' new 30,200 ton, 710-passenger Adonia sailed past The Needles this morning, arriving at its Southamptom homeport to a fanfare of salutes from fleetmates Azura and Oriana.

Cruise Critic and some 500 invited guests will be at Southampton's Mayflower Cruise Terminal Saturday as the ship is christened by Dame Shirley Bassey. "Downton Abbey" star Hugh Bonneville will join Dame Shirley on stage for the celebrations, and Southampton can expect a spectacular fireworks display later in the evening.

We'll be reporting on all the festivities, the outfits (we've heard a whisper that the Dame will be sporting animal print) and most importantly, the ship, fresh from its transformation at the Grand Bahama Shipyard. Adonia, which previously sailed for sister line Princess Cruises as Royal Princess, has been given a new sparkling new livery, P&O's signature lounges and bars, and a new restaurant by celebrity chef Marco Pierre White.

Check back over the weekend for the latest, both in the news section and on the Cruise Critic U.K. blog.

--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor