Pop legend Gary Barlow is set to perform at the naming ceremony of new P&O Cruises ship Iona this summer.

The Take That star, who was announced as the line’s latest brand ambassador on Wednesday, confirmed he would appear at the star-studded ceremony on July 4 as he was officially unveiled by P&O Cruises in central London last night.

Barlow (pictured) is set to join an array of stars on the ship, including DJ and broadcaster Trevor Nelson, radio and TV presenter Jo Whiley, comic Chris Ramsey and radio presenter Sara Cox.

During a question and answer session with TV and radio presenter Fearne Cotton on stage last night, Barlow revealed he had already been to see the 5,200-passenger vessel at the shipyard where it is being built in Germany.

Gary Barlow P&O launch event

Barlow performs at a launch event on Tuesday evening in London

He said: “[P&O] did this thing where they said ‘we want to film your reaction when you see the ship’.”

Guests were then shown footage of Barlow laying eyes on the vessel for the first time before he played a short set which ended with famous Take That hit Rule The World.

“I am a small part in the development of this particular ship. I am excited to see this ship finished. I cannot wait to get on board,” he added.

As Barlow confirmed his appearance at the naming ceremony on July 4, he said: “I am hoping to be on board [Iona] many times. There is a naming ceremony and it’s in Southampton on July 4 and I will be there not only to witness the naming [ceremony] but also to play a few songs on board.”

Barlow will also join two other Iona sailings departing Southampton on August 29 and October 31 this year.

In his role as musical director of the ship’s The 710 Club, Barlow will help choose some of musical talent that will perform on Iona’s sailings.


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“Even though there is so much music around I do believe the artists that do stand out are the ones that can pick up a guitar or play a piano,” he said.

“We see it with our most popular artists – Ed Sheeran, Adele and Sam Smith. For me, there are less and less places where you can do that. The more shows and gigs that you do, the better you get.”

It is understood that P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow and Barlow have mutual friends which led to discussions about the musician becoming a P&O Cruises brand ambassador.

Reflecting on his career, Barlow added: “I do not know who I am if I am not working.

“I love what I do and I love performing. I just think I am so lucky to be in this [music] industry. I love the audiences and the music and performing which I am still able to do. Every day is a blessing so why would you not do that?”

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