Iona Review and Specifications
Specifications of Iona
|Year built||2020 new ship|
|Builder||Meyer Werft (Papenburg, Germany)|
|Building cost||EUR 700 million (USD 950 million)|
|Owner||Carnival Corporation & PLC|
|Operator||P&O Cruises Australia|
|Speed||23 kn / 43 kph / 26 mph|
|Length (LOA)||337 m / 1106 ft|
|Beam (width)||42 m / 138 ft|
|Gross Tonnage||184700 gt|
|Passengers||5200 - 6600|
|Decks with cabins||11|
|Sister-ships||Costa Smeralda, AIDAnova, Costa 2021|
Review of Iona
Iona cruise ship is P&O UK's newest ship scheduled for delivery in 2020. The liner has a sistership (still unnamed) of the same design, with scheduled delivery in 2022. MS Iona is the largest newbuild vessel for the Southampton-based subsidiary of Carnival Corporation.
History - construction and ownership
P&O Cruises is a subsidiary company and two brands owned by Carnival Corporation - P&O UK and P&O Australia. In 2000, P&O Cruises became subsidiary of P&O Princess Cruises, which in 2003 merged with Carnival Corporation. PandO is the world's oldest cruise company, starting passenger shipping operations in 1822 on the routes connecting England with Iberia.
In October 2017, P&O Australia announced its plans to replace company's existing fleet (5 boats) with newbuilds and also with newer ships transferred from the sister-brand Princess Cruises. The old P&O AU ships will be transferred to Carnival Corporation brands or sold to outside shipping companies.
Iona liner's design was developed in collaboration with renown maritime companies and interior design firms, including Meyer Werft (German shipbuilder), Jestico+Whiles (London-based hospitality design studio), Richmond International (London-based hotel architecture), Partner Ship Design (Hamburg-based maritime architecture specialist with several Carnival Corporation projects - including AIDA, Costa, P&O, Carnival).
For the liner's hotel facilities and amenities were contracted the companies Richmond International (London UK), The Four Seasons Moscow, Langham Hotel, and Sandy Lane Hotel (Barbados). Passenger cabins were designed by Partner Ship Design (Hamburg Germany).
Ship's deck plan shows as main facilities 17 dining venues (including 9 breakfast-serving, 7 coffee-serving, 5 afternoon tea-serving, 8 speciality restaurants, 4 dining rooms), 12 bars/lounges, 4 swimming pools (3 outdoor, 1 indoor), 18 whirlpools, 13 entertainment venues (including adults-only), kids-dedicated areas, 22 elevators (passenger lifts located forward, midship and aft), 8 laundrettes (self-service laundry rooms for passengers, located midship on decks 4-5-9-10-11-12-14-15). Ship's largest staterooms are the 3-Room Sky Suites.
Cruise itinerary program
Iona ship's itinerary program is based on 7-day Norwegian Fjords cruises roundtrip from Southampton (England), visiting in Norway ports Stavanger, Olden, Hellesylt (or Alesund), Geiranger, Bergen. The inaugural season starts on May 14, 2020 (maiden voyage) and includes only no-fly cruise itineraries roundtrip from UK. Bookings for the new liner were opened on September 7, 2018.
P&O's Norway Fjords cruise excursions include seakayaking, river rafting, zip-lining, fishing (crayfish), high-speed boat tours (RIB), helicopter and plane tours.
Shipboard dining options - Food and Drinks
With a choice of 30 venues, many of which open from early morning until late at night, guests enjoy the widest ever selection of spots to eat and drink onboard a ship built exclusively for the British cruise market. The new venues join P&O Cruises favourites, such as The Glass House, Epicurean, Sindhu and Brodie’s among a long list of cafes, bars, self-service choices and restaurants. As part of an innovative approach to dining, Iona exclusively offers another first for P&O Cruises - Freedom Dining in all of its main restaurants. Passengers can choose where, when and with whom they prefer to eat.
- On Iona, P&O Cruises debuts a new "food market" concept. "The Quays" piazza (Deck 8) has a great number of takeaway and self-service food bars. The Quays cuisines are international, including American diner classics and Asian street food. New dining concepts in The Quays are named Olive Grove, Hook Line and Vinegar, Boardwalk Diner, Fusion.
- "The Olive Grove" is an intimate restaurant serving lunch and dinner and menu focusing on traditional Mediterranean dishes and sharing platters.
- "Hook Line and Vinegar" is self-service, all-day restaurant for traditional British seafood specialties - battered fish, fish burgers, scampi, calamari, crab cakes.
- "The Boardwalk Diner" is self-service, all-day food bar for classic American cuisine, which menu includes burgers, hot dogs, fried chicken, eggs over easy,
- "Fusion" is a take-away, all-day Asian food bar.
- Iona ship has four Main Dining Rooms (MDRs, named Aqua, Coral, Opal, Pearl) located on Decks 6-7. All main restaurants offer "Freedom Dining" (open seating) breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea service and dinner. Gala Nights (formal dinner events) are also hosted here, with a special Gala menu by Marco Pierre White. The largest MDRs (Pearl and Coral) are located aft on decks 6-7 and interconnected to make one large 2-level restaurant.
- "Horizon Restaurant" (Pool Deck 16) is the ship's Lido Buffet with all-day self-service. The Lido restaurant is casual (as dress code), with flexible dining and wide range of dishes ranging from traditional British to world foods. The menu has various dietary needs, including gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian and healthy food options.
- "The Beach House" is an informal Select Dining venue which in the evenings comprises Horizon buffet's forward section. The menu is inspired by British, American and Caribbean cuisines and offers steaks, grills, ribs, hanging kebabs, burgers, sharable sides, gourmet desserts.
- "The Limelight Club" (Deck 6) combines gourmet food with top-quality entertainment, exclusively for adults. The lounge offers live performances by popular guest entertainers, as well as by ship's resident performers, accompanied by Iona cruise ship's own music band. Here are also hosted daily dancing classes and music events. The club lounge is served by its own full-service Bar. After the evening show, Limelight Club transforms into disco nightclub.
- Deck 6 (Grand Atrium area) houses "The Vistas Cafe Bar" (patisserie with menu by Eric Lanlard), "Emerald Bar" (living-room like premium cocktail bar), live pop-up entertainment in mid-morning (musical performances, buskers) and early evening starting aerial acrobatics (circus performances).
- "The Glass House" (Deck 7, Atrium area) is via partnership with Olly Smith. Premium wines are served here by the glass. The Cellar Door at the Glass House offers tastings, wine talks and wine-pairing dinners. Passengers can relax and watch aerial and circus performances in the unique 3-storey high space.
- The all-day open "The Keel and Cow" (PandO's first ever ‘gastro pub) is on Deck 8, overlooking the Atrium and also with ocean views. The menu has traditional favourites, sharing platters, aged steaks.
- "Andersons" (gin bar lounge on Deck 6) doubles as Library / relaxation lounge. In the evening, Andersons serves with alcoholic drinks the nearby MDR restaurants. Lounge's focal point is the gin distillery, gin tastings and workshops (master classes).
- "Brodie’s and Casino" (Deck 7) is a classic British pub bar with ship's largest selections of UK and international bottled beers, ales and ciders, drafts (draught beers), extensive wine menu, traditional British pub snacks (pork scratchings, crisps, peanuts). During the day, the pub offers live sporting, bingo, quizzes. By night, here are offered live entertainment, quiz games, game shows, karaoke. The adjacent Casino features latest gaming technologies and various gambling games, for novices and experts alike.
- "The Sunset Bar" (Deck 8, Promenade's aft) provides easy access to The Club House. By day, it provides canopies (shaded seating) to relax with a drink and enjoy the sea views.
- "The Gelateria" (Atrium's top level on Deck 8, at the entrance to The Quays) provides access to Promenade Deck. here are offered scoops of Italian gelato ice-cream, premium teas and coffees.
- "Sundaes" (Deck 16, in the SkyDome) offers complimentary ice creams.
- "Eric Lanlard’s Afternoon Tea" (Deck 17) is the ship's classic British tea bar.
- "Beachcomber Bar" (Deck 18) serves with beverages the Beachcomber swimming pool and offers plenty of sunbathing space and shaded seating.
- "Crystal Bar" and "Laguna Bar" (Deck 16, in the SkyDome) are outdoor poolside bars offering non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks. Fun activities here include the traditional sail-away deck parties.
- "Sindhu" restaurant (Deck 8) offers authentic Indian food.
- "SkyDome Pizzeria and Grill" (Deck 16) offers complimentary fresh oven-baked pizzas by the slice, as well as grilled food (top-quality burgers, classic fish and chips), worldwide street foods.
- "The Crow’s Nest" (Deck 17) is an observation lounge with floor-ceiling windows and comfortable seating, In the evenings it transforms into cocktail lounge with live grand piano performances.
- "The Epicurean" restaurant (Deck 17, adjacent to Crow’s Nest) is a specialty / fine dining venue with Select Dining, impeccable service, top-quality dining amenities, gourmet food and premium wine list. Dishes are prepared with freshest and finest local produce. A private dining area and "Chef’s Table" (capacity 8 guests) provide options for private parties and special celebrations.
Shipboard entertainment options - Fun and Sport
SkyDome is one of the cruise liner's signature attractions and largest onboard entertainment hub. SkyDome is named the pool deck (16) which is covered with retractable glass roof and consists of a large swimming pool (with retractable stage) and whirlpools, The Dome also serves an unique live entertainment program with performances and DJ-led deck parties, regardless the weather. During the day, The Dome serves as entertainment, casual dining and relaxation area. The night entertainment includes on-roof media projections, laser shows, aerial acrobatics performances, DJ disco parties.
The 3-deck high Grand Atrium is located midship and has open-floor design. All Atrium levels have natural light and offer floor-ceiling sea views. ;Iona's Grand Atrium is a new concept for PandO, created by architecture and interior design practice Jestico+Whiles, the creators of The Yas Hotel (Abu Dhabi), W Hotel (London) and Aqua Shard (restaurant in the Shard). Grand Atrium is ship's key entertainment space that hosts from morning coffee to evening drinks.
- "Headliners Theatre" (decks 6-7) is the ship's main show lounge for grand-style music and dance productions in the evenings. The theater has comfortable plush seating and latest LED and sound technologies. The 2-deck-high auditorium during the day serves as complimentary Cinema and also offers matinee performances and fun activities (Q&As, port talks, lectures). In the evenings, full-scale productions offer West End-style shows, stand-up comedy and cabaret performances.
- "The 710 Club" has stylish cocktail bar (professional mixologists) and offers live acoustic music by top quality performers.
- "Ocean Studios" is a boutique cinema with comfortable seating and 4 screens running throughout the day classic movies and recent blockbusters. The Cinema is fitted with latest surround sound technology.
- "The Club House" (Deck 8) is multi-purpose indoor/outdoor space for families to enjoy afternoon entertainment and play fun games. In the evening, it becomes late-night "music hall" for dancing and live performances by the Iona ship’s band (named "Pulse").
- "The Ivory Suite" (Deck 17, adjacent to Crow’s Nest and Epicurean) is the ship's chapel - venue for weddings and vow renewals.
- Ship's Kids Clubs are on Deck 17. "The Reef" is PandO's complimentary onboard program for children, served by a crew of qualified Reef rangers and offering age-specific activity entertainment. The program is divided into Nursery (toddlers 6 months-2 years), Splashers (ages 2-4 years), Surfers (ages 5-8 years) and Scubas (ages 9-12). A secure outdoor playground area and splash pool park are available for all age groups. Parents benefit from company's complimentary "Night Nursery" (for kids ages 6 months to 4 years, opening hours between 6 pm through 2 am each night).
- "Scene" (Deck 6) is the ship's teen club - hang-out lounge for teenagers 13-17 yo, separated from the kids' club. It operates only during high peak season. During low season, the Scene teen club functions as adults-only entertainment venue.
- P&O Iona ship also has a 0,5 ml (800 m) long outdoor Promenade Deck (named "Lanai Deck"). It is much wider than industry's standard and lined up with open-air bars and casual al-fresco dining venues.
- On April 25, 2018, at Meyer Werft Papenburg shipyard was held the steel-cutting ceremony, with which officially started the vessel's contruction.
- P&O Iona ship is company's largest vessel ever constructed - with GT tonnage 180,000 tons and max passenger capacity 6,600. It is also the biggest Australia-based passenger ship (permanently homeported in Australia) and also the AU market's first newbuild powered by LNG (liquefied natural gas). The liner has Wartsila LNG engines that provide electricity for the propulsion system both in ports and open sea.
- P&O Cruises revealed the "Iona" name for the new ship on May 24, 2018, naming it after Iona Island (Inner Hebrides) located off Scotland's coast. The name also keeps the tradition all boats in the P&O Cruises fleet to have names ending with "A". The ship name was chosen via online contest with received over 30,000 submissions.
Iona - user reviews and comments
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