P&O Cruises' new ship, the Iona.

Iona one step closer to launch following ceremony in Germany

P&O Cruises has held the keel-laying ceremony for its upcoming ship Iona.

The event – which took place at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany – saw a bronze coin from the Iona Abbey and a slice of green marble from the island of Iona placed under the block housing the bow thrusters. The ship’s central steel block was also floated out.

Iona launches in May 2020 and will spend her maiden summer season in the Norwegian Fjords sailing seven-night holidays from Southampton followed by winter sun holidays to the Canaries, Spain and Portugal.

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “This was an auspicious occasion in Iona’s build. The coin-laying is a long-held ship-building tradition.

“It is very special to think that a small part of the island of Iona will live within our own Iona. We hope that the qualities of beauty, heritage, pride, camaraderie, mutual support and loyalty from the island will be inherent in our ship, its crew and guests.

“The build of any ship is an incredible achievement but to see one of this size and scope is an extraordinary feat of skilled design and engineering. To view Iona’s SkyDome take shape was literally breath-taking – no other ship in the world has a glass dome of this quality of construction and scale.

“The extent of the space on Iona has allowed us to create not only spectacular spaces for shows, entertainment, dining and wellness but also many more intimate spaces for tranquility and relaxation as well as exclusive performances. Iona will be a game-changer for holidays.”

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