P&O Cruises welcomes new cruise ship in British ‘first’ ahead of holidays 2021

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P&O Cruises now has a new cruise ship to add to its fleet. The Iona joined last week at an official handover ceremony with the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany, in the latest cruise news. She is the largest cruise ship ever built for the UK market.

The vessel is 185,000 tonnes and 345m in length with 17 guest decks.

What’s more, the Iona is the first British cruise ship to be powered by liquefied natural gas ( LNG).

Iona will herald a new era in cruise holidays thanks to many of its features, said P&O Cruises.

These include the unique two-deck SkyDome – the glass dome roof and spacious layout flooded with natural light offer relaxing and unrivalled views of the surrounding sky and sea.

The area is a tranquil pool environment by day with dining and entertainment by night.

Here, guests can expect specially commissioned aerial entertainment shows under the stars when the Iona sets sail.

Holidaymakers will also be able to enjoy 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 speciality restaurants including yet-to-be-unveiled concepts.

There will also be 13 entertainment venues, four swimming pools – including a spectacular infinity pool at the aft of the ship – and 16 whirlpools.

P&O Cruises president, Paul Ludlow, who was present at the ceremony in Papenburg and 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 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.

“Already eagerly anticipated by our guests, crew and the communities we visit, events this year have increased the sense of anticipation even more.”

He added: “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.”

P&O Cruises said in a statement last month that all Caribbean cruises are cancelled until the end of January 2021.

All cruises from and to Southampton are cancelled through February.

Also axed are Arcadia and Aurora, which have already been cut through to the end of their spring world cruises.

Anyone whose cruise holiday has been cancelled will be contacted by P&O Cruises.

Holidaymakers can opt for a full refund or receive enhanced credit towards a future holiday.

The UK government continues to warn against cruise travel as the pandemic rages on.

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