At an official handover ceremony with the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany on Friday october 9, 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).
P&O Cruises president, Paul Ludlow, who signed the Protocol for Delivery and Acceptance said: « Iona’s delivery is a very positive signal for the future of cruising. She is now officially part of the P&O Cruise 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 Southhampton.
« 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. »
“This is really a very special delivery for us for a variety of reasons. Not only because of the current Corona crisis, but also be-cause we delivered Aurora to P&O Cruises exactly 20 years ago. Iona is an exceptional ship that marks a milestone in our long partnership with P&O Cruises,” Jan Meyer, Managing Director, commented.
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.
Prior to her handover, the Iona has proven her seaworthiness during several test voyages on the North Sea and has successfully completed many sea trials.