At an official handover ceremony with the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany on Friday, P&O Cruises took ownership of Iona, the latest addition to its fleet and the largest cruise ship ever built for the UK market.
At 185,000 tonnes, 345m in length with 17 guest decks and setting new ground for guest experience, Iona is the first British cruise ship to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).
With the delivery, the new flagship of the cruise line will be integrated into the P&O Cruises fleet in order to be ready for service when the British cruise industry starts up again.
Prior to her handover, the Iona has proven her seaworthiness during several test voyages on the North Sea and has successfully completed many technical and nautical tests.
The Iona is the first of two new ships for the P&O Cruises brand. Six more ships for Carnival Corporation (Miami) have already been ordered in Papenburg and from MEYER TURKU for other brands of the group.
P&O Cruises president, Paul Ludlow, who was present at the event in Papenburg and signed the Protocol for Delivery and Acceptance said:
“Whilst our operations are currently paused until early 2021 Iona will not be sailing for the moment but we look forward to our guests experiencing this game-changing ship as we will continue to offer unparalleled holidays at sea whilst also upholding the latest approved travel protocols.”
Iona will also herald a new era in cruise holidays with many first of their kind features including the unique two-deck SkyDome. Its glass dome roof and spacious layout flooded with natural light offers relaxing and unrivalled views of the surrounding sky and sea.
SkyDome is a tranquil pool environment by day with dining and entertainment by night, including stunning specially commissioned aerial entertainment shows under the stars.
Guests can also craft individual gins at the first ever gin distillery at sea or unwind in the Oasis spa featuring a range of destination-themed treatments.
Iona will have eight specialty restaurants including yet to be unveiled concepts, as well as 13 entertainment venues, four swimming pools including a spectacular infinity pool at the aft of the ship and 16 whirlpools.
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Iona’s delivery is a very positive signal for the future of cruising. She is now officially part of the P&O Cruises fleet and everyone at P&O are focused on readying her to welcome guests during her new maiden season to Northern Europe, Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands from our home port of Southampton.