Gary Barlow will join IonaFest

Gary Barlow to Perform at Iona Naming Ceremony

Author: Olivia Sharpe

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The godmother of the new P&O Cruises ship has also been revealed

P&O Cruises' new ship Iona will be officially named in a contemporary ceremony featuring a special one-off performance from Gary Barlow broadcast to a virtual audience.

The Take That star will perform a short set as part of the event, taking place in Southampton on 16 May, in his role as music director of Iona’s 710 club.

Dame Irene Hays, owner and chair of Hays Travel Group, has also been named as the godmother to the ship and will attend the 'landmark naming ceremony' alongside Barlow.

P&O Cruises president, Paul Ludlow, said: We are absolutely delighted that Dame Irene Hays will be Iona’s godmother, taking centre stage alongside Gary Barlow in a landmark naming ceremony which will be the first stepping stone on the path to the return of the UK cruise industry.

'Since the inception of Hays Travel there is no one who has been more supportive of cruising or more of an ambassador for the travel industry. As such there is no one more appropriate to name Iona in this prestigious event than Dame Irene as we celebrate her achievements.

'The travel industry as a whole has been paused for over a year and has been devastated by the events of the last 13 months.

'We are so immensely grateful for the support we have received from travel agents across the UK, all of whom have faced commercial challenges none of us could have imagined.

'With domestic cruising opening up from May 17 and with our series of UK coastal cruises proving very popular this summer, recovery is certainly on the horizon and Iona’s arrival into the UK and naming ceremony will be the ray of hope the cruise sector has needed for such a long time.

'We also feel honoured that we are able to support the Hays Travel Charitable Foundation which encourages young people to be the very best they can be across education, sport and the arts. Being able to play a small part in securing the future of the next generation is indeed a privilege.'

Iona will set sail on her seven-night maiden voyage around the coast of the island of Iona and the Scottish Isles from Southampton on 7 August.

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