Oriana (II), Ventura & Adonia (II) Arrival
On the 20th May 2011 we had a new addition to the P&O fleet.  Royal Princess (II) replaced Royal Princess (I), aka: Artemis.  Confusing?  Not 'arf!  Many people weren't amused when Princess decided ro reuse the iconic name in 2007 after closing Swan Hellenic and transferring Minerva II.  The original had been named by Princess Diana so the name had a meaning.  And not many were happy when P&O announced in October 2009 they had sold the old rattletrap that is Artemis.  That left Arcadia for adults only and no small, cosy ship so they decided to transfer again, plus make Oriana adults only from Decemberr 2011 to make up numbers.  I despair at corporate decisions at times since they never take into account what passengers like, just what they want and sod everyone.  So this smaller Adonia began life as the 30,277grt R Eight for Renaissance Cruises in 2001 before becoming Minerva II in 2003 after a two year lay-up when Renaissance went bust.  She should've been R Two with all these second names she's called!  Her final cruise for Princess began on the 5th April in Pepeete, Tahiti and ended in Fort Lauderdale on the 4th May with the handover to P&O.  She left the shipyard in Freeport, Bahamas, a day late and unfinished so all travel agent events were cancelled until after the maiden voyage.

Well despite the non-story on Cruise Critic on the 18th, her arrival had been brought forward on the 17th from 9am to 8am where it remained until the 19th, when it was changed to 8.30am.  We decided to get Oriana and Ventura arriving too and make a morning of it since she would be earlier and hoped my back would be okay.  I'd only had three hours sleep due to the pain and I'm sure my physiotherpist won't be too amused at all this even though I had told her a few weeks ago what I did for a hobby.  Oriana was due the usual 6.30am and docking in City while Ventura was slightly late at 7.15am.  We took a nice stroll down to the marina and Oriana was early!  She was almost at the pier by the time we reached the marina!  As we watched her heading to the terminal, the local wildlife distracted.  First of all, randy ducks who didn't care who watched them!

Just after 6.05am I spotted Ventura coming around the Hook.  I do love lots of activity though not at the expense of breakfast!  Give us a chance to eat something!!!  We had a chat with Michael the street cleaner, who said if he sees us down there he knows there's a ship coming!  As we watched Oriana dock, the local swans made an appearance, although not swimming by as usual but flying!  A little later came a little egret (that's it's name apparently), which I'd never seen before down there.
Finally we had company - yay!  Someone else decided to turn up for Adonia.  It was getting lonely down there, save for a few joggers, but we like it that way.  No one getting in the way!!!!  She came via the Needles, which used to be the regular passage until the hurricane on 1987, now only smaller vessels use it because it's not dredged enough.  I was a little surprised to see her at Calshot, considering how small she is, but there she was peeking out over the land.  As she neared, other people arrived, including some who were booked to go on her next year so decided to come and have a look.  Also one of the swans went for a walk.  Must've got bored of dive bombing!  As she got closer I had a moment thinking about my mum, who had died almost six months earlier.  The very last ship she was able to see in August before becoming bedridden from a series of small strokes was Regatta, older sister of Adonia.
As Adonia passed Ventura, they did blast but the bloody helicopter drowned it out!  After that it buggered off so we were able to hear her and Oriana.  I never noticed before how much the funnel is like a mini version of Oriana and Aurora, probably because you normally see the R ships with white ones for Princess, Oceania and Azamara.
We didn't stay to watch her dock because I could barely move with my back so went to get the bus.  We returned later for the sailings of the other two.  My friend Neville Hartley was on Oriana and a Welsh family were also down watching a relative go on Ventura.  Well Ventura was delayed and went at 5.30pm, moving at the same time as a car carrier.  It looked like they were close from Hythe side but I expect from Town Quay it would have been a lot different.  So Oriana went first, but about fifteen minutes late.  Then she took an age to get into the shipping lane, probably due to the wind.  She did blast to Ventura as she passed but was ignored.
And then we went for the bus again after a VERY long shippy day!  To see photos of Adonia sailing on her maiden voyage, click here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 20th May 2011
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