Cruise Lines and Ship Reviews

P&O Cruises name their newest flagship Iona (updated)

Iona will be the name of the newest P&O Cruises flagship due to launch in 2020. At 180,000 tons she will be the biggest cruise ship ever built for the British market, with a capacity for 5,200 guests. P&O Cruises launched a competition to name the new cruise ship last year which had over 30,000 applicants. The winner received VIP tickets to the ship’s naming ceremony in spring 2020.

Inspired by the island Iona in the Inner Hebrides, the name is said to represent a celebration of the sea and our island nation. It also continues the P&O Cruises tradition of ending ship names with an ‘A.’ P&O Cruises senior vice president Paul Ludlow stated:

“We are an island nation and as Britain’s favourite cruise line it seems very fitting to highlight one of our most notable islands and celebrate the geographic diversity of the UK, especially as we can trace back our roots to the Scottish Isles.” 

“Iona is known for its peace and tranquility and, most importantly, the view of the ocean from almost every point on the island. This mirrors our primary intention when building the ship, which was to make the sea the star.”

On 25thApril Iona’s steel cutting ceremony took place at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. Paul Ludlow, Carnival UK president Josh Weinstein and Tim Meyer, director of Meyer Werft attended the event.

Steel cutting. Photo: P&O Cruises
Steel cutting. Photo: P&O Cruises

What to expect on board Iona

Iona will have a number of key features which will set her apart from the rest of the P&O Cruises fleet. These include:

    • An onboard gin distillery
    • SkyDome roof and pool with retractable stage for shows in the evening
    • A bold, ultra-modern atrium featuring glass and a grand staircase. Please see the video below

  • 15 dining venues, including 8 speciality restaurants
  • More than 10 bars including a Crow’s Nest, Brodie’s and Andersons
  • 4 swimming pools and 18 whirlpools
  • The ship will be more environmentally friendly than any other vessel in the fleet, as it will be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). She will be the third Carnival Corporation ship to use LNG and no other cruise ships are currently powered this way
  • Richmond International will be designing the interiors of the ship. They were responsible for the contemporary design on board Britannia
  • The ship will have the same blue funnel and livery as the rest of the fleet
The Grand Atrium
The Grand Atrium

Dining on board Iona

P&O Cruises have released details of the dining and drinking venues on board its newest vessel. She will retain one Gala formal night on a one-week Norwegian Fjords cruise. Iona will feature the following bars/restaurants which already exist within the current fleet: The Glass House, The Limelight Club (Britannia), Beach House, Sindhu and The Epicurean, pizzeria and grill, Brodie’s, Sunset Bar (Britannia), Andersons, Crow’s Nest. Here is a quick lowdown on the completely new venues you will find on board.

The Glass House
The Glass House

Iona will exclusively offer Freedom Dining in the four main restaurants between 6pm and 9pm. These will be called Pearl, Coral, Aqua and Opal.

The Keel and Cow: This will serve hearty British pub fare gastropub style. In the morning guests can enjoy breakfast before heading ashore, whilst at lunchtime you will find delicious meals such as burgers, fish and chips and scotch eggs. At night, head to The Keel and Cow for a juicy steak and delicious craft ales.

The Keel and Cow
The Keel and Cow

The 710 Club: This will be an adult only live music and cocktail venue. Expect modern jazz, British acoustic covers and swing.

The Quays: The Quay will be a new foodie piazza offering indoor and outdoor dining across a range of self-service and takeaway venues. It will feature a variety of new dining venues showcasing food from around the world. The Quays outlet restaurants will include:

  • The Boardwalk Diner: Think all day American classics such as hot dogs and southern-fried chicken. It will be a nice alternative spot for breakfast.
  • Fusion: This is the place to go for all day take-away Asian flavours.  
  • Hook Line and Vinegar: Satisfy any seafood cravings at lunch and dinner with this trendy fish and chip outlet. From scampi and calamari to battered fish and crab cakes, you’ll find it all at Hook Line and Vinegar. 
  • The Olive Grove: Immerse yourself in Mediterranean flavours for lunch and dinner at The Olive Grove. South and Eastern Mediterranean cuisine is brought together through authentic dishes, sharing platters and regional wines.

The Emerald Bar: A cocktail hotspot located in the Grand Atrium. You will be able to watch pop-up entertainment such as buskers and aerial circus performances.

The Emerald Bar
The Emerald Bar

The Horizon Restaurant: This will be the self-service buffet situated on Deck 16. It will retain the fleet’s existing excellent selection of international cuisine and special dietary and healthy eating options. 

Gelateria: As well as Sundaes ice cream parlour, Iona will have an Italian-style Gelateria at the entrance to The Quays along the Promenade Deck.

The Club House: This bright and spacious lounge will offer afternoon entertainment by day and live music and a late night disco by night.

Vistas Cafe Bar
Vistas Cafe Bar

Vistas Café Bar: Vistas will be situated in the Grand Atrium and will serve tea, coffee and snacks along with tasty treats from master pâtissier Eric Lanlard. It will also be a great place to watch some of the live pop-up entertainment on offer around the Atrium.


Iona will be the first P&O Cruises ship to offer guests a Conservatory Mini-Suite. These unique rooms will bring the outdoors in with a special conservatory-style room that forms an extension of the cabin. Perfect for a bit extra space, even in rough weather. During the day the room can be opened into a full balcony, whilst at night it can double up as a great entertaining space.

A conservatory mini-suite cabin
A conservatory mini-suite cabin

Guests will also have the option of booking the following grades of cabin: Balcony (Deluxe, Balcony, Single and Standard), Suites, Sea View (Outside) and Inside.


The ship will sail to the Norwegian Fjords during her first summer season in 2020. Cabins will go on sale from 12th September 2018 for sailings between May-October 2020.


Iona’s sister ship will be launched in 2022. I’ll be posting more about the new ship as and when details are released. Personally I am excited about Iona and I think she will be quite different from the rest of the P&O Cruises fleet (although I am fond of all of their ships). It will be exciting to see what new features she will bring to the cruise market.

You can read my P&O Cruises ship reviews by following this link. You can find out more about Iona here.

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