Britain’s largest cruise ship, P&O Cruises 185,000 gross tonnes Iona celebrated its coronavirus-delayed maiden voyage with a spectacular fireworks display on August 9 off its namesake island in northern Scotland. As well as being the largest passenger vessel to be registered in the UK, it is also the first of two LNG-fueled cruise ships built for P&O.
“Iona’s maiden voyage marks the start of a new era of travel as Britain’s most environmentally friendly cruise ship, the country’s first to run on liquefied natural gas,” said Paul Ludlow , president of P&O Cruises. “For this special maiden voyage, we wanted to bring guests to the Isle of Iona, which influenced many aspects of the ship.”
Fireworks for Iona off Iona, Scotland (P&O Cruises)
the Iona is the fourth cruise ship derived from a Carnival Corporation design for LNG-powered cruise ships, the ships being built by Meyer Werft in Germany and Meyer Turku in Finland. The first of the class, the AIDANova, became in 2018 the first cruise ship in the world capable of running exclusively on LNG-fuel and was followed by similar vessels for Costa Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line. Additional versions of the design are under construction for AIDA, Costa, Carnival Cruise Line, and P&O. Meyer in Papenburg began construction on Ionasister ship of, the Arvia with a steel cut in February 2021 and delivery scheduled for 2022.
After a development delay due to the coronavirus and the postponement of deliveries by Carnival Corporation due to the pause in cruise operations, the Iona was officially handed over to P&O in October 2020. The cruise ship, however, waited for its maiden voyage until the UK cleared domestic cruises to resume.
the IonaHer first cruise is currently sailing around the British coast, for seven nights, after leaving Southampton on August 7, 2021. She anchored off the Isle of Iona as part of her scenic cruise in Scotland and the passengers were treated to fireworks to celebrate the maiden voyage.
Measuring approximately 1,129 feet long, the Iona has 17 passenger decks that can accommodate 5,200 passengers and 1,700 crew members. Among the unique design features is the SkyDome, a glass dome measuring approximately 10,000 square feet atop the ship’s central atrium. The dome weighs 105 tons and consists of 340 triangular glasses. the Iona also presents the first gin still on a cruise ship, distilling and bottling spirits for sale on board.