Just days after Royal Caribbean’s new Spectrum of the Seas was floated out of construction hall 2 at the Meyer Werft Shipyard in Germany, P&O Cruises’ new ship Iona has had her huge bow and midsection joined together in the same hall.
The major construction milestone for P&O Cruises, part of the Carnival Corporation group, is the latest development after her huge SkyDome was installed earlier this month. It was a fairly complex procedure as well, and created a ceiling over one of the ship’s most highly-anticipated spaces.
With the bow and midsection now welded together, Iona just needs her stern, containing her engine room and other major mechanical areas, and then she’ll be complete (externally at least). There’s still many months of work to go on this 180,000 gross ton ship.
Carrying 5,200 passengers at double occupancy in more than 2,600 staterooms, and with several dozen bars, cafes and restaurants, there are still a lot of rooms and many hundreds of square metre floor space to finish off.
In addition to being the largest cruise ship ever designed and built for the British cruise market, she is also the most environmentally friendly, according to Carnival.
Powered by LNG, she will emit fewer emissions in port and at sea. Iona is one of several identical ships ordered by Carnival Corporation for its AIDA, Costa, Carnival Cruise Line and Princess brands.
P&O Cruises has also ordered a second ship of the same class (called the Excellence-class) for delivery in 2022, while Iona is due in 2020 and will cruise the Norwegian Fjords out of Southampton from May through September 2020, as well as the Mediterranean.
Iona has been designed from her keel to pool deck with the British public in mind, according to P&O Cruises, and is specifically intended to tempt new-to-cruise passengers to try a P&O voyage.
“This is a huge increase in capacity for P&O Cruises,” says Paul Ludlow, President, P&O Cruises. “Iona gives us a great opportunity to do new things and bring in new dining experiences. That duration (seven nights) gives people a chance to see if they like it and it’s a great opportunity to try P&O for the first time.”
“We know we have a loyal customer base, but we need to find new customers. It’s about branching out and showing why a cruise with us is such great value,” he adds.
And according to the cruise line the approach has worked. Its last new cruise ship, the 2014-launched Britannia, which has been very popularly received, had seen half the number of pre-registrations for her inaugural season compared to Iona.