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Credit: Richmond International/P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises: New ship Iona sails 'momentous' maiden voyage - what's onboard?

Author: Harriet Mallinson

Published on:

P&O Cruises new cruise ship Iona sails from Southampton on her maiden voyage today - the first of her UK cruise holidays.

P&O Cruises ship Iona is the popular line's new Excel-class ship,

She sails from Southampton and will cruise past Cornwall up to Scotland before anchoring at Iona, her namesake Scottish island.

Here she will be heralded with a spectacular kaleidoscopic firework display along with all manner of festivities and celebrity appearances.

This will be followed by three days of Scottish scenic cruising encompassing the Isle of Colonsay, Lochbuie, Duart Castle, Tobermoay, Bac Mòr, Fingal’s Cave, Sound of Jura, Claggain Bay, Mull of Kintyre and Sanda Island.

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After an inaugural season of UK coastal cruises, Iona will offer holidays to Spain and the Canary Islands from September 2021. Fourteen night Iona holidays to Spain and the Canary Islands are available from £1,299 per person.

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said when details of the maiden voyage were first announced: “Iona’s maiden voyage is a momentous milestone for travel.

"The ship sets a precedent for a new type of holiday packed full of firsts – we have Gary Barlow as music director of The 710 Club, Iona is Britain’s most environmentally-friendly cruise ship powered by liquefied natural gas, and we have the first gin distillery at sea.

“It is apt that Iona’s maiden voyage is to the ship’s namesake island which has been the inspiration for many elements on board – the sense of space in the SkyDome through to the heather in our Marabelle gin distilled on board."

- READ MORE: Everything you need to know about P&O sister ship Britannia -

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P&O Cruises: Gary Barlow is music director of The 710 Club. Credit: P&O
Iona Grand Atrium Staircase view 5777606 All rights
P&O Cruises: The Grand Atrium Staircase is an impressive feature. Credit: P&O Cruises

Iona entertainment and activities

Star-studded entertainment will keep cruise passengers very happy indeed.

Spectacular aerial shows have been specially devised for Iona while Tony Hadley, known for numerous chart-topping singles and successful albums the world over, is set to perform.

Meanwhile, expect a live pianist at the panoramic Crow's Nest, party the night away at The Club House or enjoy live comedy and theatre.

For lower-key fun there's four-screen cinema complex Ocean Studios, or why not try out a new sport whether it's archery, golf, football, basketball, tennis or cricket in the Sports Arena.

- READ MORE: Best cruise ships for sports & fitness fans -

For guests who wish to relax onboard head to the spa where you can find the thermal suite, beauty and wellness treatments and salon services.

There's also The Retreat - a paid-for outside space, which is exclusively for adults, boasts two infinity whirlpools with magnificent uninterrupted views, plus stylish day beds, hammocks, a bar, juice station and comfortable seating areas.

For passengers who want to keep moving, there's the Gym and Fitness Studio

17 11 29 Aft Lounge Day view The Club House on Iona Image credit Richmond International 9610375 1
P&O Cruises: Guests party the night away at The Club House or relax in the lounge during the day. Credit: Richmond International
17 10 11 Theatre Headliners Theatre on Iona 7067665 1
P&O Cruises: Passengers can enjoy live comedy and theatre on Iona. Credit: P&O Cruises

Iona food and dining

Expect celebrity chefs on Iona. P&O Cruises Food Heroes Marco Pierre White and Olly Smith will be hosting masterclass talks on board sharing their gastronomic and drinks expertise.

They have also collaborated to create The Chef’s Table, with menus designed by Marco complemented with wine recommendations by Olly, a new concept specially developed for Iona’s celebration nights.

Food served will be celebrating the flavours of Scotland with Highland smoked salmon, single malt whisky Cranachan Verrine, a regional cheese selection and Iona whisky fudge petit fours just some of the food that guests can experience.

Also on Iona is all-day dining venue Horizon Restaurant, multi-venue dining piazza The Quays, Mediterranean eatery The Olive Grove, Caribbean and Southern American joint The Beach House, family-friendly gelateria Ripples, Indian restaurant Sindu, sophisticated wine bar The Glass House, gastropub The Keel and Cow and much more.

Keel and Cow Burger The Best Burger at Sea or Prime Minister at The Keel and Cow 20957425
P&O Cruises: Gastropub The Keel and Cow claims to serve the best burger at sea. Credit: P&O Cruises
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P&O Cruises: Iona's suites are approximately 434-530 sq. ft. Credit: Richmond International

Iona cabins

As for accommodation onboard, there's plenty of choice with P&O Cruises wide range of cabins, ranging from inside to suite.

Inside are approximately 101-213 sq. ft - perfect if you want a more economical way to travel and prefer to be out and about experiencing the ship. There are also Inside Single cabins to cater for solo travellers.

Meanwhile, Iona's suites are approximately 434-530 sq. ft and the doors of interconnecting rooms open fully to create a larger, brighter studio ambience.

The best room of all is The Conservatory Mini-suite cabin - an exciting new addition to the choice of accommodation and a signature option on Iona.

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