P&O Cruises to take delivery of the largest ship built for the UK market this autumn

Aug 5, 2020

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Amid the coronavirus pandemic and its stranglehold on the travel industry — and even more so, the cruise industry — P&O Cruises will take delivery of its newest ship this fall. And not only is it a new ship for the line, but it will take the title as the largest ship ever built for the U.K. market.

The ship, which is called Iona, was originally set to launch in April. However, given the coronavirus pandemic, those plans were delayed. Now, the line has said that it will take delivery of Iona “before the autumn”.

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“While our operations are currently paused, we are delighted that we have more clarity on the arrival of these two new ships”, P&O Cruises President Paul Ludlow said, regarding Iona and its sister ship. “The final outfitting of Iona is almost complete and is looking stunning and we will take delivery of he before the autumn”.

Iona is currently being built by the Meyer Weft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. The same shipyard is also building Iona’s yet-to-be-named sister ship, set to be delivered in December 2022.

Once delivered, Iona will feature 17 guest decks, with a passenger capacity fo 5,206 and 1,800 crew. The ship is set to weigh 185,000 tons, which will place it among the top-10 heaviest ships built.

The ship features four types of rooms: inside, sea view, balcony and suite. Its design highlight is the SkyDome, which is set on decks 16 and 17 and features a roof and pool with a retractable stage. During the day, the SkyDome is an informal space with a swimming pool for lounging, and by night, it’ll feature shows and deck parties.

While the line expects to take delivery of Iona in autumn, it still has suspended all cruise operations until at least 15 October 2020.

Bookings on Iona are on sale now, with itineraries from Southampton to the Norwegian Fjords, Spain, Portugal, the Canary Islands and Northern Europe. Seven-night itineraries to Northern Europe start from £599 per person in October.

It’s worth noting, however, before booking that the U.K. FCO still advises against cruising. Keep in mind, too, that with the constantly changing travel advice around the coronavirus pandemic, there’s a chance that bookings made for October could be pushed back. Be sure to look at the line’s cancellation and refund policy before booking.

P&O Cruises is one of the nine brands owned by Carnival Corporation. In Carinaval’s second-quarter earnings call in May, CEO Arnold Donald noted that P&O Cruises is 98% British sourced.

Featured photo by Robin Utrecht/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

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