Meyer Werft shipyard played host to a special moment on Friday when P&O Cruises officially took ownership of Iona, their newest ship. P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow was on hand for the event.
At 185,000 tons and over 1100 feet long, the ship is the largest ever for the British cruise line. It’s also the first in the fleet to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG). The ship holds 5,200 passengers and more than 1,700 crew.
A Bright Future for Cruising
Ludlow believes the new ship offers a positive outlook for the future of cruising.
“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 we 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,” he said.
“Already eagerly anticipated by our guests, crew and the communities we visit, events this year have increased the sense of anticipation even more. 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,” Ludlow continued.
The ship is outfitted with some pretty awesome features, like the new two-deck SkyDome, a glass roof pool offering natural light and views of the sky and sea designed by British engineers Eckersley O’Callaghan. The SkyDome will host aerial entertainment shows in the evenings.
A proud moment in P&O Cruises history: the Meyer Werft shipyard has officially handed over our spectacular new ship, Iona.
— P&O Cruises (@pandocruises) October 12, 2020
The ship also features the first gin distillery at sea, a three-deck atrium, eight specialty restaurants, 13 entertainment venues, four swimming pools including an infinity pool at the aft of the ship and 16 whirlpools.
Iona was supposed to set sail in 2020 with cruises to Norway from Southampton, England for her inaugural summer season, but those plans are on hold until 2021 due to the cruise line’s COVID-19 shutdown. P&O Cruises has cancelled all Caribbean cruises until the end of January 2021 as well as all Southampton cruises until February.
Have you cruised with P&O cruises before? Are you going to book a trip on the new ship? Let us know in the comments below!