Throughout 2019, P&O Cruises newest ship, Iona has been taking shape ready for her launch in 2020. Since her steel-cutting ceremony in April to her looking forward to what lies ahead for her inaugural season, here’s what we know so far about this much anticipated cruise ship.
All of the accommodations on-board Iona have been designed by renowned hotel and hospitality experts, Richmond International. The range of new cabins are some of the cruise line’s most flexible and comfortable yet, promising a calm and sophisticated haven.
Brand new to the cruise line and exclusively on-board Iona, this choice of accommodation is a signature option on-board. The Mini-suite brings the outdoors in with a versatile conservatory-style room which offers an extension to the cabin. It offers great flexibility and creates a distinctive social space which is ideal for enjoying a quiet morning coffee or socialising over pre-dinner drinks.
Aft and Forward Suites offer guests the ultimate experience of relaxation in their own boutique-hotel haven. The design lends itself to contemporary comfort and elegance, with interconnecting rooms available to create a larger and brighter ambience. Furniture such as sofas, ottomans and lounge chairs are upholstered in sands, beiges and off-whites – a core colour palette which is complemented by soft furnishings and accessories.
With all the Suites, guests also benefit from clever configuration for separate zones such as lounge and bedroom areas, dressing areas and spacious en-suite bathrooms. The en-suites feature double sink units and are set in striking black marble, surrounded by elegant white marble tiles. The Suites also have direct access to large balconies and benefit from exclusive services such as a personal butler and in-suite dining options.
Balcony cabins on-board Iona offer guests the chance to enjoy the sea and the coastline in their own privacy. There are three balcony options – Deluxe (most spacious); Single; and Standard Balcony. All of these offer extended private space in which to relax, from watching the sun set in the evening to enjoying a morning cuppa. Internal spaces of the balcony cabins have been skillfully designed to include attractive built-in bunk beds which drop down and offer flexible sleeping arrangements for larger groups and families.
Seaview and Inside
The range of accommodations are completed with the Sea View (Outside) and Inside cabins, both of which optimise on the seaside feel with design and use of colours. Fixtures and fittings include porthole mirrors, blue feature walls and soft furnishings in gold and white textiles to bring a sense of light and relaxation to the space. These cabin types maximise the storage space and boast the personal touches of tea and coffee-making facilities; well-stocked fridge; in-cabin TV; bathroom with soft cotton towers; and quality toiletries from The White Company.
The beating heart of Iona with three-deck-high glassed walls, a showstopping staircase and a contemporary design that brings in panoramic sea views and natural light into the space. During the day, the venue is a great place to meet, eat, relax and be entertained or simply watch the scenery float by. At night, it transforms into an immersive destination venue with large social areas and intimate spaces.
The crowning glory of Iona’s entertainment offering is the stunning glass SkyDome. This contemporary venue will stretch across decks 16 and 17 and is the ship’s start attractions, providing a place for on-board entertainment alongside a hidden nightclub and boutique cinema. It will also house an impressive roof and a pool with a retractable stage.
One of the SkyDome’s key places is the 710 Club, one of the venue’s secret spots. Boasting decor and an atmosphere akin to a Covent Garden nightspot, it’s here where you can enjoy a stylish cocktail bar while listening to live, acoustic music.
Ocean Studios is the space’s boutique cinema and is a first for P&O Cruises. With comfortable seating in a premium-style setting, there are four cinema screens whihc show a mix of classics and recent blockbusters for a truly premium cinema experience.
By day, the Skydome will be a place to relax and enjoy life poolside, with tantalising dining and drinking options. These include the SkyDome Pizzeria and Grill and Sundaes for premium ice cream which boasts flavours reflecting popular ports of call. As the sun goes down, the venue comes alive with spectacular aerialist performances and playing host to party nights under the stars. The pool transforms into a stage while DJs playing well into the night.
With plush, comfortable seating and the latest LED technology, all set within a two-deck-high auditorium, this theatre is perfect for a fun-filled night out on-board. During the day, matinee performances and activities such as talks, films and Q&As take place, while at night, full-scale productions hit the stage!
Iona will boast some of the most luxurious wellness facilities in the whole fleet within the Spa. Featuring a salt steam room, destination-themed treatments, infinity whirlpools and more, it will be the perfect place to unwind. There will also be a specialist spa show where you can seek expert advice and purchase a wide range of produces for skin, body and hair care.
Destination-themed treatments include locally-inspired therapies including the Nordic Cleanse – a detoxifying treatment which incorporates acupressure back massage and a warming body and face mask – and a Baltic & Ice Massage – a deep tissue massage using warm and cool stones.
The ship will also boast The Retreat, similar to other ships in the fleet. This is a private open-air deck area where cold flannels, chilled drinks, snacks and al fresco spa treatments can be enjoyed in the privacy of shaded cabanas. There will even be two infinity whirlpools here.
Iona’s state-of-the-art gym will have a whole new range of classes to suit all abilities, from meditation to high-energy spinning. These include:
- Boxing group fitness – a fun, physical cardio workout that builds strength and stamina
- TRX suspension – training to develop strength, balance, flexibility and core stability
- Functional training/HIIT – a cardio workout to boost stamina and hone body conditioning
- Mindful programming – connect mind, body and soul with meditation and breathing classes
- Group Cycle Connect – the ultimate indoor cycling experience on high-tech fitness bikes
- Skillrow classes – a group cardio workout that simulates a rowing crew
Iona is a fantastic choice of ship for families, offering plenty of fun and welcoming environments for children of all ages to enjoy.
The Reef – Deck 17
The Reef is Iona’s free on-board activity programme for children, a place to be entertained from day to evening and give the chance to create friendships with other children their own age. Staffed by a crew of enthusiastic and qualified Reef Rangers, it offers clubs with a wide range of age-specific entertainment in a safe place. These include:
- Nursery (6 months to 2 years)
- Splashers (2-4 years)
- Surfers (5-8 years)
- Scubas (9to 12 years)
There is also a secure outdoor play areas and designated splash part for these ages. From 6pm to 2am each night, there is also a Night Nursery which is complementary for ages six months to four years. This is a quiet area created to enable an infant to sleep while parents enjoy a well-deserved night of their own. If the child wakes up, parents are contacted via a pager.
Scene – Deck 6
For older kids, aged 13 to 17, Scene offers a secret hang-out spot which is separated from the other kids’ clubs and offers them their own space to enjoy planned events.
Iona will showcase more than 4,600 artworks, a collection which has been curated by art exprt Tom Tempest-Radford to complement and enhance the ship’s design. The majority of these works have been sourced in the UK, continuing the long-held tradition of P&O Cruises supporting British artists.
The art on-board will vary in style and form, from paintings, photography, mixed media, reliefs, glass, sculptures and textiles. The collection will take inspiration from the sea, the wonder of nature and the sense of outdoors.
Treat yourself to a new hairstyle or look and visit the salon. With help from Iona’s team of stylists, aesthetics and make-up specialists are ready to help you shine with services such as:
- The Barber Shop – a stylish grooming club that offers haircuts, shaves, skin and medi-spa treatments
- Keratese Treatments – the most advanced luxury hair treatments
- Blow-Out, Lash and Brow Bar – a sociable space to come together and enjoy a bit of me-time, perfect before a Gala Evening!
There will be 30 different venues on-board Iona, many open from early morning until late at night so you will have one of the widest selections of places to eat and drink! As well as all of this choice, P&O Cruises is also introducing Freedom Dining exclusively on Iona. This move will allow passengers more flexibility in all of its main restaurants where they can choose where and with whom they want to eat, as well as when they will sit down for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Keel and Cow
A brand new concept for P&O Cruises, Keel and Cow offers perfectly cooked steaks, selected from a glass fronted dry aging fridge, as well as British gastopub dishes. The restaurant will offer incredible views through the three storey high glass walls of the Grand Atrium, which will also be open for quick and convenient breakfasts.
The Quays is an exciting foodie-first, based in a piazza which will be home to a wide range of takeaway and self-service venues, perfect for sociable dining. There are plenty of cuisines from all over the world, including Asian street food and American diner classics. This multi-venue dining space offers an amazing array of eateries, all settled in a fun street-food atmosphere with plenty of buzz. Venues include many new dining concepts, such as:
- The Boardwalk Diner (all-day, self-service) Serving up a combination of American classics meets Southern soul food including chargrilled burger, hot dogs, eggs over easy, southern-fried chicken and much more!
- Fusion (all-day, take-away) A hot spot for lovers of authentic Asian flavours, Fusion offers takeaway dishes all day in a casual and relaxed environment.
- Hook Line and Vinegar (all-day, self-service) Perfect for seaside hunger cravings and traditional fish and chips, Hook Line and Vinegar satisys your needs at lunch and dinnertime. Think crispy battered fish, calamari, fish burgers, scampi and crab cakes – all served with chips and mushy peas!
- The Olive Grove (restaurant, lunch and evening service) Celebrating the flavours of the southern and eastern Mediterranean with authentic dishes and sharing platters, The Olive Grove has a strong focus on food provenance. It’s an ideal venue for intimate dinners for two or a celebratory family meal – with options to each in the restaurant or in the conservatory area.
The Glass House
A favourite of P&O Cruises guests, the Glass House offers small plates, charcuterie and cheese alongside over 40 wines which have been chosen by wine expert, Olly Smith. Ideal for lovers of wine and great food, the premium wine bar boasts an impressive wine list alongside a sophisticated environment in which to enjoy breakfast, a light lunch or a leisurely glass of wine with family or friends. Wine connoisseurs are well taken care of with the Cellar Door, where wine talks, tastings and wine-pairing dinners take place.
Boasting a gastranomic blend of classic and contemporary, Epicurean is refined and intimate. Dishes are made with the finest and freshest local product and prepared with great skill, fusing the best modern British and destination culinary traditions.
Offering authentic Indian cuisine with a British twist, Sindhu boasts a menu that is a triumph of perfectly-balanced spices, delicate flavours and wonderful aromas. Enjoy dining amidst sumptuous fabrics and opulent decor for a foodie experience not to be missed.
A sociable place which draws inspiration from the much-loved British pub. Brodie’s houses Iona’s largest range of British and international bottled beers, ciders and real ale. There’s a great selection on tap too, alongside a well-stocked wine menu and tasty traditional British bar snacks. During the day, enjoy quizzes and live sport before Brodie’s turns into a place for live entertainment, karaoke and game shows.
Eric Landlard’s Afternoon Tea
Offering the ultimate daytime indulgence, this afternoon tea experience offers a unique twist on the classic British tradition. Curated by master patissier, Eric Lanlard, enjoy savoury and sweet surprises as they adorn each tempting cake stand, all served with a range of speciality teas.
This all-day, self-service restaurant is perfect for those seeking casual, flexible dining. The elegant design adds ot the relaxed atmosphere, while dishes cater to a range of diets from vegetarian, gluten-free and healthier eating available.
This venue serves soft scoops of modern Italian-style gelato, in addition to premium tea and coffee. This informal and family-friendly gelateria is situated at the top of the Grand Atrium, where guests can enjoy their ice cream or take them away to savour on the Promenade Deck.
The Beach House
Taking inspiration from South American, Caribbean and Stateside cuisines, The Beach House is a fun and informal dining venue. The hearty dishes combine comfort food with popular favourites such as steaks, ribs, burgers, hanging kebabs and a range of sides.
This supper-club is a fixed favourite on-board Iona. As an adult-only evening dining and entertainment, the Limelight Club exclusively hosts established and emerging vocalises and is the dedicated venue for resident performers and the house band. Enjoy a unique dining experience which starts with a welcome drink before a themed multi-course menu is served at intervals before the bar opens and it becomes a lively late-night hotspot.
Bars and Lounges
Andersons is a quiet lounge bar which also houses a library, ideal for reading and relaxation. In the day, sit down with a book; while at night it’s the place to enjoy after-dinner drinks as the main dining restaurants are located next door. It’s also the place where Iona’s boutique gin distillery is housed, a statement piece of shining copper where guests can gather round for masterclasses and gin tastings.
Beachcomber Pool and Bar
Situated at the fore of Iona, this venue offers plenty space to relax in both the sun and shade, as well as a range of much-loved cocktails.
Crystal Bar and Laguna Bar
Both of these are situated in the SkyDome and offer a range of poolside tipples to enjoy. They are perfectly placed for al fresco refreshment and fun activities such as the sail-away parties.
The main cocktail hotspot on-board, Emerald Bar is found in the Grand Atrium and offers a relaxed living-room feel and a Covent Garden buzz. The menu offers premium cocktails which are perfect for pre-dinner drinks or as a late-night bar. From mid-mornings, pop-up entertainmnt includes buskers and musical performances, while early evenings offer aerial circus performances.
Vistas Cafe Bar
Located in the heart of the Grand Atrium, Vistas offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere serving premium tea, coffee and snacks as well as tempting treats from master patissier, Eric Lanlard. It’s an ideal spot for an after-dinner coffee or wind-down tea.
The Crow’s Nest
Offering panoramic views this iconic observation lounge is a well-established feature across the P&O Cruises’ fleet, and so will be welcomed on-board Iona. Perfect for daytime reveries and reading, before transitioning to a sophisticated cocktail lounge with live pianist.
The Club House
A flexible venue which offers both relaxing inside and outside spaces, The Club House is a bright, spacious, multi-purpose lounge by day – ideal for family fun and entertainment. By night, it’s a modern live-lounge and late-night disco where guests can dance long into the evenings.
The best place to enjoy a sundowner at the end of the day, here guests can enjoy a chilled evening vibe beneath the cooling sun canopies, while watching the sea views.
Iona begins her inaugural season exploring the spectacular Norwegian Fjords. With departures throughout the spring and summer of 2020, there are plenty of opportunities to explore this iconic destination. Itineraries have been specially designed to introduce guests to the region, boasting a collection of shore excursions which will take you to the heart of Norway’s astonishing natural wonders and diverse cultural attractions.
These sailings will depart from Southampton, meaning there are no luggage limits and plenty of time to get to know Iona! The way in which the ship is designed also means that you can enjoy the very best of Norway with glass walls and outdoor spaces to relax while you pass through the dramatic panoramas of the region’s dramatic landscapes.
Frequently Asked Questions
How big is Iona?
Iona will be 183,800 gross tonnes when she launches in 2020.
Does Iona have Select Dining?
There are many venues which are classes as Select Dining on-board Iona. These are the dining venues which offer alternative dining to the main venues for a small charge.
Is Iona the largest P&O Cruises’ ship?
When she launches in May of this year, Iona will be P&O Cruises’ largest ship ever to enter service.
Does Iona have shops?
There are plenty of opportunities to shop on-board Iona, with the Avenue Shopping (found on deck 7).
What cruise terminal will Iona be using?
During her inaugural season, Iona will be sailing from Southampton’s cruise terminal.
Does Iona have formal nights?
Formal nights will continue on-board Iona, with a typical seven-night voyage featuring one gala night.
When is Iona’s first cruise?
Iona’s first cruise takes place on the 23rd May. She will be sailing from Southampton, visiting Stavanger, Olden, Innvikfjorden, cruise along Nordfjord, Hellesylt, Geiranger, Geirangerfjord, cruise by Sunnylvsfjorden, Storfjorden and Bergen, before returning to Southampton on the 30th May.
How many decks does Iona have?
Iona has 18 decks.
Does Iona have single cabins?
Yes. Iona offers Single Inside Cabins and Single Balcony Cabins.
Would you love to set sail on this brand new ship? Are you booked on-board one of her inaugural sailings? Let us know in the comments below!