P&O Cruises has officially christened Iona, its newest vessel, at a virtual ceremony watched by thousands at home.
The ship was named by Dame Irene Hays, chair of Hays Travel, and widow of the late John Hays.
Capable of carrying up to 5,200 guests, Iona is powered by Liquified Natural Gas, heralded as the cleanest burning fossil fuel on the market. The ship was christened using a bottle of Alex James’ Britpop cider and Gary Barlow, Iona’s musical director, played a set at the ceremony, which was watched by 25,000 people.
In his speech P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow referred to the prolonged pause of the cruise industry and highlighted that “It is 427 days since we have been able to do what we do best – welcome our guests on board and give them unforgettable, joyous holidays where they make memories on board and see the sights of the world.”
He continued: “With our invited audience and millions more watching the ceremony on social media, today heralds a new beginning and new hope for the cruise industry. Iona is indeed a very visible symbol of our future.”
Iona has 30 bars and restaurants with many new speciality dining options including tapas from Spanish chef José Pizarro paired with wines selected by Olly Smith. Marco Pierre White will reprise his Chef’s Table restaurant. Entertainment venues include the SkyDome, a glass structure which will be a poolside venue by day and then transform at night into a venue with DJs, stage and aerial acrobatic shows.