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IONA (49962467851).jpg
Iona near Hook of Holland, June 2020
[1]United Kingdom
Name: Iona
Carnival Corporation house flag.svg
Carnival Corporation & plc
P&O-house flag.svg
P&O Cruises
Port of registry: United Kingdom Southampton, U.K.[1]
Ordered: 6 September 2016[2]
Cost: $950 Million[3]
Yard number: S. 710[4]
Laid down: 29 May 2019[4]
Launched: 18 February 2020 [5]
Christened: 2020 (scheduled)[6]
Completed: 9 October 2020[7][1]
Acquired: 9 October 2020[7]
Maiden voyage: 2021 (scheduled)[8]
In service: 2021 (scheduled)[8]
Status: Laid Up
General characteristics
Class and type: Excellence-class cruise ship
Tonnage: 184,089 GT[1]
Length: 344.5 m (1,130 ft 3 in)[9]
Beam: 42 m (137 ft 10 in)[1]
Draft: 11.8 m (38 ft 9 in)[1]
Decks: 16 complete, 3 partial[1]
Installed power: Total Installed Power: 61.7 MW (82,700 hp)[9]
Propulsion: 2 × 37 MW (50,000 hp)[9][1]
Speed: Service speed: 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph)[9]
Capacity: 5,206 passengers
Crew: 1,762

MS Iona is an Excellence-class cruise ship set to operate for P&O Cruises, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation & plc. Built by Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany,[10] she was delivered in October 2020, becoming the line's new flagship.[7][11][4][12][6] At 184,089 GT,[1] the ship is the largest to ever operate for P&O Cruises,[2] and to operate specifically for the British market.[13] She is the first of two identical ships being built by Meyer Werft for P&O Cruises, with the second due to enter service in 2022.[14]

Design and specifications

View of the ship's port side and stern
View of the ship's port side and stern

Iona has 17 different eateries, including eight restaurants designated as 'select dining', and 12 different bars.[15] She also has 16 whirlpools and 4 swimming pools, one of which will be part of SkyDome, an entertainment venue blanketed by a 105-ton, 340-pane, 970-square-meter glass dome that also features a retractable stage for shows.[16] SkyDome is one of 13 entertainment venues onboard.[15] In the center of the ship there is a three-deck atrium acting as the hub for entertainment activity, while also featuring triple-deck glass panels projecting outwards for views of the outside.[15]

Powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), Iona is designed to not emit sulphur dioxide emissions and soot particles.[9]

Iona has 18 total decks, a length of 344.5 metres (1,130 ft), and a beam of 42 metres (138 ft).[9] Maximum power is rated at 61.7 megawatts (82,700 hp).[9] Total propulsion power is rated at 37 megawatts (50,000 hp).[9] Together, the power system gives the vessel a service speed of 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph).[9] Iona will have a passenger capacity of 5,206 guests and 1,762 crew.[9]

Construction and career


On 6 September 2016, Carnival Corporation announced that it had signed an agreement with Meyer Werft for a 5,200-passenger vessel for P&O, scheduled for a 2020 debut.[2] The vessel, planned to be the largest in P&O's history, at approximately 180,000 GT, would also be powered by LNG, making her the first LNG-powered ship dedicated for the British market.[2] It was later reported that the engine room unit for the LNG tanks for Iona was constructed separately at Meyer Werft's sister yard, Neptun Werft, in Rostock.[9]

On 27 October 2016, P&O announced that the public would be invited to name the new ship.[17] On 24 May 2018, it was announced that the name Iona, after the Scottish island of Iona, had been chosen from 30,000 submissions.[13]

Construction and delivery

On 25 April 2018, construction for the ship began with the steel-cutting ceremony in Papenburg.[12]

On 29 May 2019, the ship's keel was laid to mark the official assembly of the hull.[4] At the ceremony, a bronze coin from Iona Abbey and a piece of green marble from Iona was laid under a keel block[18] that measured 21.5 metres (71 ft) long, 19.4 metres (64 ft) wide, and 9.8 metres (32 ft) high, and weighed 461 tonnes (1,016,000 lb).[4] The block was then lowered into the building dock.[18]

In August 2019, the 105-ton, 340-pane glass dome that will become the ship's centerpiece was raised onto the ship.[19] By the end of the month, the bow and midsections were joined together.[20]

Iona was floated out of the dry dock on 14 February 2020.[21] She went through final outfitting in wet dock before her River Ems conveyance to Eemshaven on 18 March 2020 and her sea trials in the North Sea were set to follow shortly after.[21][22][23] However, on 20 March 2020, Meyer Werft announced that the ship had been moored in Bremerhaven and all interior work and trials would be halted, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[24] Later, on 26 March 2020, following discussions with Bremerhaven port and medical authorities, Meyer Werft explained that work would resume, but at a reduced pace, given the reduction in crew and resources.[25] On 30 May 2020, Iona departed from Bremerhaven for Rotterdam for a sea trial and also to enter dry dock at Damen's Rotterdam shipyard on 2 June for continued inspection work.[26][11] A second round of sea trials was later performed along the Norwegian coast following the dry dock.[27]

Originally scheduled to be delivered to P&O in spring 2020, the ship's delivery was first postponed to June 2020,[11][28] and then tentatively to August 2020,[27] before ultimately being delivered on 9 October 2020.[7]

Operational history

Inaugural events

Iona was originally scheduled to perform her maiden voyage on 14 May 2020.[29] The 9-night round-trip voyage from Southampton was to sail to the Norwegian fjords, calling in Stavanger, Olden, Hellesylt, Geiranger, and Bergen,[29] but was ultimately cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[6] The ship was also scheduled to be christened on 4 July 2020, kicking off a week-long celebration called "Ionafest" on the following seven-day voyage marking the naming of the ship.[30] However, on 23 April 2020, after P&O announced a further suspension of operations until 31 July 2020, it also revealed "Ionafest" would be postponed as the ship's public debut was also consequently delayed due to the pandemic. The ship's official debut is yet to be determined.[6]


Iona was originally scheduled to sail cruises to the Norwegian fjords from Southampton for her inaugural summer season.[31] However, the pandemic extended the company's suspension of operations until April 2021.[32] In summer 2021, the ship is scheduled to sail round-trip itineraries from Southampton to Northern Europe, including the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium, and to Southern Europe, including the Canary Islands, Spain, and Portugal.[33] This rotation is scheduled to continue through mid-2022.[34]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "MS Iona (9826548)". Leonardo Info. Registro Italiano Navale. Retrieved 12 December 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d Davies, Phil (6 September 2016). "P&O Cruises announces order for biggest ever ship". Travel Weekly. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Cruise Ship Orderbook". Cruise Industry News. 24 July 2018. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Laying the keel for the new cruise ship Iona". Meyer Werft. 14 June 2019. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c d Spencer, Kerry (30 March 2020). "P&O Cruises Reveals Maiden Voyage of New Ship Iona Will be Delayed". Cruise Critic. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d "MEYER WERFT hands over Iona to P&O Cruises". 12 October 2020. Retrieved 12 October 2020.
  8. ^ a b "P&O Cruises pauses all sailings until 2021". BBC News. 17 September 2020. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Iona". Meyer Werft. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  10. ^ "P&O Cruises marks first construction milestone for newest ship with steel cutting ceremony in Papenburg". Meyer Werft. 21 May 2018. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  11. ^ a b c "New P&O Iona to Drydock Before Delivery". Cruise Industry News. 28 May 2020. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  12. ^ a b Peters, Gary (24 May 2018). "P&O Cruises' new ship to be called Iona". Cruise Trade News. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  13. ^ a b Coulter, Adam (24 May 2018). "P&O Cruises Reveals Name of New Ship: Iona". Cruise Critic. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  14. ^ Kramer, Gina (25 January 2018). "P&O Cruises Reveals Second Megaship for 2022". Cruise Critic. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  15. ^ a b c Coulter, Adam (27 October 2016). "P&O Cruises Reveals More Details of its New Megaship". Cruise Critic. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  16. ^ Kemble, Harry (24 August 2018). "Pictures of P&O Cruises' SkyDome on Iona released". Travel Weekly. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  17. ^ Morris, Hugh (27 October 2016). "The return of Boaty McBoatface? P&O asks public to name new ship". The Telegraph. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  18. ^ a b Gibson, Rebecca (14 June 2019). "Meyer Werft lays keel for P&O Cruises' Iona". Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  19. ^ Ebelthite, Shaun (5 August 2019). "P&O's new ship Iona gets her massive 970-square-meter SkyDome". Cruise Arabia Online. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  20. ^ Ebelthite, Shaun (26 August 2019). "P&O's new ship Iona takes another leap toward completion with complex joining procedure". Cruise Arabia Online. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  21. ^ a b Coulter, Adam (14 February 2020). "P&O Cruises' New Ship Iona Floats Out For First Time". Cruise Critic. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  22. ^ "P&O Cruises' New LNG-Fueled Vessel Leaves Shipyard in Germany". World Maritime News. 19 March 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  23. ^ "New P&O Iona Set to Leave Meyer Werft". Cruise Industry News. 18 March 2020.
  24. ^ "Cruise ship Iona: work on board pauses". Meyer Werft. 20 March 2020.
  25. ^ "Cruise ship Iona: Work can continue in reduced form". Meyer Werft. 26 March 2020.
  26. ^ "Iona comes to Rotterdam". Meyer Werft. 27 May 2020.
  27. ^ a b Bailey, Jordan (30 June 2020). "Delivery of P&O Cruises Iona Postponed". Cruise Capital. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  28. ^ "Iona Nears Delivery as First Cruise Ship Completed After COVID-19". The Maritime Executive. 28 May 2020.
  29. ^ a b Hughes, Chris (9 September 2018). "P&O Iona Norwegian Fjord Itineraries in Detail". Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  30. ^ Williamson, Jeannine (11 February 2020). "P&O Cruises Announces The Script and Pixie Lott Will Join "Ionafest" Line-up". Cruise Critic. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  31. ^ Peters, Gary (10 August 2018). "Iona to sail to Norwegian Fjords for inaugural season". Cruise Trade News. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  32. ^ Oliver, David (3 June 2020). "Princess, Royal Caribbean, P&O cancel cruises into October; Norwegian updates health policies". USA Today. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  33. ^ Delahaye, Julie (11 February 2019). "P&O Cruises winter itineraries for new ship Iona revealed". Mirror. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  34. ^ Spencer, Kerry (14 October 2019). "P&O Cruises Launches Summer 2021 and Winter 2021/2022 Programme – New Itineraries, Homeports and Overnight Calls". Cruise Critic. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
This page was last edited on 24 December 2020, at 11:28
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