UK cruise ship operator P&O Cruises has launched the latest addition to its fleet, Iona, with interiors designed by hospitality experts Jestico + Whiles.
Britain’s largest and most environmentally friendly ship, powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), will accommodate up to 5,200 passengers.
Iona was named in a spectacular ceremony broadcast to a virtual audience on Sunday, May 17, and the ship’s maiden voyage will take place on August 7, sailing the British coast and to its namesake island.
The award-winning interior design and architecture studio designed most of the dining spaces across the ship and the most spectacular space of all, the triple-height Grand Atrium that captures unprecedented panoramic views of the landscape ever-changing sailor, as far as the horizon.
The Grand Atrium is the heart of Iona, a bustling focal point that encapsulates the spirit of the ship, with spectacular views and natural light. This special space is designed to âdraw the outside inâ and as a result, Jestico + Whiles made the sea the hero of space, allowing guests to connect with the seascape around them. The Grand Atrium will be, depending on the occasion and time of day, a playground or a sanctuary.
It’s a key entertainment space, meticulously designed to effortlessly accommodate a wide variety of experiences, from musical performances to thrilling flyers.
At other times, it will attract guests throughout the day for a convivial rest, offering coffee from morning to sunrise and sunsets to dusk.
An elegant gravity-defying circular arch staircase in Italian marble with a filigree silver serpentine balustrade serves as a centerpiece to the space, evoking the glamor of iconic cruise ships of the early 20’s.e century. Designed like a sculpture, its plunging form takes guests on a journey across bridges offering ever-changing views.
The unifying experience of the atrium is always the sea view which provides an enchanting and captivating backdrop to the activity inside.
Jestico + Whiles Associate Director Jennifer de Vere-Hopkins said: âDespite the challenge of such a large space, we have worked closely with P&O Cruises to create a single Grand Atrium that is harmonious with the separate venues. , making the space both open and intimate. Refocusing the customer experience on the sea is at the heart of a brand new brief. The sea becomes the center of space at a triple height; sinuous curves are formed around it, framing and complementing the outward views.
P&O Cruises Senior Vice President Paul Ludlow said: âWe’ve decided to make sure the sea is the star of Iona, and the design of the Grand Atrium tells you a lot about how special it’s going to be. . Balancing intimate spaces with larger social spaces, guests will be in awe of the three-story glass walls and the ever-changing view they reveal. From the moment they step up the stairs, I know customers will be blown away by the beautiful design.
Jestico + Whiles designed P&O Cruises’ very first ‘gastro pub’ – The Keel and Cow – on Deck 8, overlooking the Grand Atrium and the ocean. The Glass House on Deck 7 will feature an impressive wine list and menu curated by award-winning wine expert Olly Smith, wines from around the world are served by the glass. Wine lovers will be well catered for with a new experience, Cellar Door at the Glass House will offer wine talks, tastings and wine pairing dinners. Guests can relax with stunning views while watching impromptu air and circus shows in the three-story space.
On deck 6 of the Vistas Cafe Bar, there is a unique offering from P&O Cruises Food Hero and master pastry chef Eric Lalard. The nearby Emerald Bar will evoke the glamor of a 1920s cocktail bar.
Iona was built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. She holds 5,200 passengers and is the largest cruise ship for the UK market.