Iona set for Southampton naming ceremony

Iona, the biggest cruise ship built for the UK, arrived in its home port of Southampton this morning ahead of an official naming ceremony tonight (Sunday).

The 5,200-passenger P&O Cruises vessel is powered by liquefied natural gas, claimed to be ground-breaking for the UK cruise industry and one of the cleanest fuels in the world.

The ship will be named in a quayside ceremony hosted by Radio 2 DJ Jo Whiley, including a perfromance by Iona’s music director Gary Barlow, broadcast to a virtual audience.

Hays Travel chair Dame Irene Hays will name the ship.

Iona, which makes it maiden cruise on August 7 to its namesake island, has 30 bars and restaurants with many new speciality dining options.

The ship’s SkyDome will offer poolside relaxation during the day and transform at night into a spectacular venue with DJs, stage and aerial acrobatic shows.

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said “It is a landmark day for both P&O Cruises and for the travel industry as a whole.

“We are on the cusp of a bright new beginning and Iona’s arrival into Southampton this morning is very visible evidence of this much anticipated future.

“Our guests are longing to get back to sea and Iona’s summer season of UK coastal cruises, including her maiden voyage on August 7 up to her namesake island of Iona, have seen overwhelming demand.”

MoreDame Irene Hays to be godmother of P&O Cruises’ Iona

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