The ceremony was held at the Meyer Werft shipyard where the 180,000-gross ton, LNG-powered ship is being built.
A bronze coin from the historic Iona Abbey and a slice of precious green Iona marble from the island were placed under the block housing the bow thrusters before the block was lowered onto these items.
“This was an auspicious occasion in Iona’s build,” said Paul Ludlow, President, P&O Cruises. “The coin-laying is a long-held ship-building tradition which is to bring good luck to the ship and its crew through from construction to the future at sea.”
“It is very special to think that a small part of the island of Iona will live within our own Iona,” he added. “We hope that the qualities of beauty, heritage, pride, camaraderie, mutual support and loyalty from the island which attracted us to the name will be inherent in our ship, its crew and guests.”
During the same ceremony the ship’s central steel block, the mega block, which has already been constructed was floated out on to the water.
The 21.5 metre long block weighs 461 tons, is 19.4 metres wide and 9.8 metres high and had to be lifted by a 600 ton crane.
“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,” said Ludlow. “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.”
Iona will be the largest cruise ship ever built for the British cruise market and will be built on the same platform as Carnival’s upcoming Mardi Gras, Princess Cruises upcoming new LNG mega ship and Costa Cruises’ Smerelda (all four cruise lines are owned by Carnival Corporation).
This much larger size has given P&O Cruises plenty more room to play with in designing the interiors and public rooms aboard Iona.
“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 game-changer for holidays,” said Ludlow.