P&O Cruises has taken ownership of Iona, the latest addition to its fleet and the largest cruise ship ever built for the UK market, at an official handover ceremony with the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany.
At 185,000 tonnes, 345 metres in length and with 17 guest decks, the vessel is also the first British cruise ship to be powered by liquefied natural gas.
P&O had initially hoped to take delivery of the ship over the summer.
P&O Cruises president, Paul Ludlow, who was present at the event 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: “While 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.”
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.
Iona will have eight speciality restaurants including yet to be unveiled concepts, as well as 13 entertainment venues, four swimming pools including a spectacular infinity pool at the aft of the ship and 16 whirlpools.
Take a look the new ship below: