P&O Cruises has included several of its own, much-loved trademarks from other ships in Adonia, such as the wood-panelled Anderson's Bar and the Crow's Nest, forward on deck 10, with panoramic views.
Anderson's has deep leather chairs and the old-fashioned feel of a well-heeled men's social club. This and Raffles, which is on the same deck, were popular for pre-dinner drinks, as they're close to the Pacific Restaurant and have a cozy buzz early in the evening. We ended up having late-night drinks in Anderson's, too, as the quiz shows in the Crow's Nest were noisy and intrusive. Drinks are extremely reasonable; cocktails of the day were often only £3 or from £4.25 for spirits with mixers. Various beers are available on tap; half a litre of Old Speckled Hen costs £2.85, while 440ml of Boddington's is £2.65.
The emphasis in the Crow's Nest, forward and high up on the Sun Deck, is light and space, jazzed up by a rather daring tartan carpet. On a Norway cruise in particular, when the ship spends a lot of time sailing inside the long, deep fjords, this is, in theory, a wonderful place for pre-dinner drinks, with gorgeous panoramic views. Sadly, though, most nights were ruined by a dreadful duo who would conduct a noisy and ostentatious sound-check before belting out old cocktail classics, too loudly and not very tunefully. The quiz shows after dinner had only moderate attendance most times we went along, and although the entertainment team worked hard, I felt the Crow's Nest at night just didn't really work. Adonia just isn't a ship for night owls, and by midnight, most of the bars were empty.
Early evenings are another matter, and there is pre-dinner ballroom and Latin dancing in the Curzon Lounge, the main show lounge, every night.
Something else that has been adapted to the tastes of P&O Cruises' target market is the onboard entertainment. This was really good, from the shows by the ship's own theatre company to the guest lecturers and classes with themes like photography and wine-tasting (which carried a £7.50 fee). Guest entertainers included a couple of top-notch comedians who work the U.K. and cruise-ship circuit, a classical pianist, Grand National winner Bob Champion and former cabinet minister Michael Howard. The Curzon Lounge is like a cabaret club, rather than a theatre, with an intimate feel, chairs and tables grouped close to the stage. It was often packed out at both shows, the early and the late. We were also treated to a performance of Noel Coward's Private Lives one afternoon, to another full house.
Every day, there are unhosted games on deck, as well as bridge and whist in the Card Room (also unhosted). There is no casino on Adonia.
The Library has always been a popular feature of these R ships, and on Adonia, it has wisely been left unchanged since the beginning, with a pretty trompe l'oeil ceiling, dark wood panelling, a faux fireplace and lots of deep leather chairs in which to sit (and sleep, it seemed, with snoring often interrupting the reading). There are a couple of computer terminals up there for Internet access. Adonia also has full Wi-Fi throughout the ship, charged at 50p per minute, or via various time plans; 100 minutes costs £35. It wasn't particularly fast in the fjords, where the satellite signal is often blocked, but it was adequate. There's an annoying £2.50, one-off "connection fee" to use the Internet, which, as far as I could see, goes straight into P&O Cruises' profit.
The ship has an array of retail outlets, Mayfair Shops, that sell perfume, jewellery and logowear. A photo gallery opposite Anderson's on the Prom Deck offers the usual photographic services. The ship's photographers appeared to work extremely hard, and photos are very reasonably priced at £9.50 for a standard print. (Compare that to $24 on Cunard's Queen Elizabeth). Consequently, a lot of people were having portraits taken and actually buying the pictures.
Incidentally, the Prom Deck is a slight misnomer, as you can't actually "promenade" around it very far, although there are two very pleasant, broad expanses of deck with steamer chairs on which to sit.
Finally, the ship has just one passenger launderette, on B Deck.
The Crystal Pool, a decently sized pool with teak surround, is the focal point of Adonia's sun deck, and it's flanked by two hot tubs. New sun loungers and pool towels have been installed, although in the Norwegian fjords these had little use. The pool, however, was beautifully heated and extremely pleasant, even in the cold air.
The pool is overlooked by an upper deck, Sun Deck (with a short jogging trail), and above that is Sky Deck, with deck quoits, shuffleboard and a golf driving net.
The ship has a pretty spa, Oasis, with a modern gym and a small studio. Yoga, Pilates and spinning classes are offered for £7 each, while Fab Abs and Stretch classes are free. These were feeble; I joined an abs class, and it only lasted 15 minutes. I did yoga, too, which was not especially well taught, compared to the regular classes I do at home. Much more fun were the tap-dancing classes, which weren't part of the gym schedule, but were run by someone of the entertainment team.
The gym has several treadmills, exercise bikes and cross-trainers, as well as free weights, and it entertains a steady flow of passengers, although it's usually possible to find an available machine.
The spa is run by the ubiquitous Steiner, but it's much more low-key in its sales approach than on some American-run ships, where the therapists push the products hard while you're trying to relax. There's a slightly restricted list of treatments; for example, there was no Ayurveda on my cruise, as there was no practitioner. A stone therapy massage costs from £79, as does a La Therapie facial. I had reflexology and a facial, and both were extremely pleasant.
Adonia doesn't have a thermal suite, but there are steam rooms and fancy showers in the changing rooms available to anybody, as well as a Spa Terrace on the forward deck. This comes with luxurious, padded loungers and its own giant whirlpool and costs £5 on a port day and £10 on a sea day. On a bigger ship, you might argue that this was a welcome escape from the noise around the main pool, but Adonia's Lido Deck isn't exactly party central, even when the sun shines, so there's not such a great need for a haven. Still, the Spa Terrace is secluded and has great forward views.
Adonia is strictly an adults-only ship. Try Ventura, Azura, Aurora and Oceana for P&O Cruises' family product.