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Royal Princess (II)

The second Royal Princess sails past the Spaarnwoude nature reserve between Amsterdam and the sea at the 28th of june of 2008. 

As the last member of the eight-ship R-class, the R Eight was delivered to Renaissance Cruises at the 1st of february, 2001. She was in fact not only the last ship of the class, but also the last ship of the company as Renaissance Cruises was declared bankrupt at the 25th of september 2001. She did sail some cruises for Renaissance, though, mainly in Northern Europe. 

The ship measures some 30.277 tons, is 181 meters long, 25,50 meters wide and her draft is 6 meters. Her passenger capacity is 684 and she has also 372 crewmembers aboard. The ship was built under yardnumber Z31 at the Chantiers de L'atlantique wharf in Saint Nazaire, France. 

After the end of Renaissance Cruises, the ship was taken over by Cruise Invest, a company that had been set up by the builders to sell or charter out the former Renaissance Cruises ships for the purpose of getting some money back for the creditors. To await further sale or charter, the R Eight was unofficially renamed Cruise Invest Eight and she was laid-up at the French port of Marseilles. In the spring of 2003, she finally was chartered to the British based Swan Hellenic Cruises as a replacement for their smaller MinervaSadly, Swan Hellenic continued the unimaginative naming systems that are spread out wide through the cruise-industry nowadays, by naming the ship just Minerva II. She only sailed briefly as such, Swan Hellenic had always been a small-ship operator and this ship was quite larger then the passengers of Swan Hellenic were used to. When Ken Swan, the Chairman of the company died in august of 2005, Carnival Corporation, who were the owners of the company at that time through P&O, decided to end the Swan Hellenic brand in early 2007, transferring the ship over to Princess Cruises as the second Royal Princess.

Above, Minerva II is shown at the quay at Amsterdam during her first season for Swan Hellenic. The date of the picture is the 31st of august 2003.

At the 8th of april 2007, the ship was sent to Gibraltar to be rebuilt into the new Royal Princess. For some shipgeeks it was sad to learn that her name would be that of one of the former flagships, a revolutionairy ship at her time of building in 1984. They rather saw that the name would be reserved for more innovative ships to continue some sort of tradition. But Royal Princess it was going to be and her first cruise from Barcelona started at the 19th of april. It was planned to award her with a dual naming ceremony at the Greek island of Santorini on the 13th of may, together with the line's newbuild Emerald Princess. But due to the loss of the Louis Cruise Line flagship Sea Diamond at the 5th of april, that had sank within the Santorini caldera taking the lives of two French people, this dual ceremony was cancelled.

As Royal Princess, the ship suffered an engineroom fire just out of the port of Port Said, Egypt. The fire disabled the ship and she had to return to port. This all happened at the 18th of june of 2009. At the 9th of december of that same year, Carnival announced that the ship would leave the fleet of Princess Cruises and was going to be placed in the fleet of P&O Cruises. The P&O fleet consisted out of only larger cruiseliners and the addition of a mediumsized ship, or small-sized in todays standards, would give the company the opportunity to sail other kinds of cruises. After she was named by Dame Shirley Bassey at the 21st of may of 2011, the ship started her sailings for P&O under the name Adonia. It was the second time the name was used within the companies history, the first Adonia sailed between 2003 and 2005 and is now within the Princess Cruises fleet as Sea Princess. The name means ADults ONly-IA and this states the nature of the ship, where no children under the age of 18 will be onboard.

In june of 2015, Carnival Corporation announced that Adonia was going to start a totally different kind of cruising from the 2016-season onwards as Carnival created a new company, Fathom Impact Travel. This company started to offer seven-day cruises to Amber Cove, Carnivals own port at the Dominican Republic. Here, passengers were given the opportunity to work alongside locals to improve the community. This could be done through a range of activities aboard and onshore, like helping to cultivate cacaoplants, assist a local women's cooperative producing artisan chocolates, working together with teachers in classrooms for assistance by English lessons or helping adults with their English language so they can have better job-opportunities. Also, it was possible to do environmental activities, like building waterfilters with local recourses and deliver them to families so they were able to improve their drinkingwater quality, or to carry out re-forestation projects. Of course, next to the social activities, it was also possible to explore the region in the 'free time'. In Fathom, Carnival works together with two local organisations, Entrena and the Instituto Dominicano de Desarrollo. Earnings from ticketsale are split between Carnival and its partners for of course covering the costs but also to support the organisations' overall missions. Through Fathom, what name refers to a pair of outstreched arms, Carnival will show that travel can create something good in the world, giving people the opportunity to really help another culture forward.

In march 2015, the company also announced that it had reached an agreement for sailings to Cuba, now the US had lifted the sanctions between the two countries. In 1961, the US had ended all diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana after the Cuban revolution. In the first half of 2015, the relations were revived and Fathom was the first US cruiseline to visit Cuba again, directly from a US port. The honour was for Adonia, that was not renamed after her services with Fathom started, and she left Miami at the 1st of may 2016 for Havana, where she arrived at the 3rd of may. It was not only the first time that a US-based cruiseliner entered Havana port again, but it was also the first time that Cuban nationals had been able to sail to and from Cuba, something that was also not possible before. After this historic sailing, the ship stayed in Cuba for a week, also calling at Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba before returning to Miami.

Fathom was recieved very well, but at the end of the year 2016, Carnival Corporation announced that the brand as such was to be discontinued from june 2017 onwards and the idea of 'impact travel' was going to be spread out over more already existing brands within the group. The name Fathom will still be used for selected cruises throughout the Corporation, but Adonia again will find her home at P&O Cruises, for who she will off course keep her name. 

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