P&O acquires UK’s biggest cruise ship that measures 345m and has gin distillery

P&O has added a new ship to its fleet.

The Iona has been welcomed by the company in what’s been described as a “positive signal for the future” for the travel firm.

It was handed over at Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany on Friday and now becomes the biggest cruise ship ever built for the British market.

The line weighs a whopping 185,000 tonnes and is the first UK cruise ship to be powered by liquefied natural gas.

It measures 345m in length and has 17 guest decks – and there’s lots of fun activities to do on the Iona too.

Guests can chill out in the unique two-deck SkyDome, which is a relaxing area with a glass doom roof that offers spectacular views of the sky and sea.

Holidaymakers can enjoy the tranquil pool environment of the SkyDome in the daytime.

And then when evening comes, there’s entertainment and dining options available in the picturesque area.

Aerial performances look spectacular by the big glass dome, which also allows guests to look up at the stars.

Another unique feature of the Iona is the gin distillery.

It’s the first of its kind at sea – and allows travel fans to craft their own tipples themselves.

Iona will have eight speciality restaurants including yet to be unveiled concepts.

It also boasts 13 entertainment venues, three swimming pools, an infinity pool at the aft of the ship and 16 whirlpools.

Additionally, it has an Oasis spa where guests can unwind.

This relaxing area boasts a range of destination-themed treatments so guests can try something different if they wish.

P&O Cruises president, Paul Ludlow, said: “Iona’s delivery is a very positive signal for the future of cruising.

He added: "She is now officially part of the P&O Cruises fleet and we are focused on readying her to welcome guests during her new maiden season to Northern Europe, Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands from our home port of Southampton.

“Already eagerly anticipated by our guests, crew and the communities we visit, events this year have increased the sense of anticipation even more.

“Whilst our operations are currently paused until early 2021 Iona will not be sailing for the moment but we look forward to our guests experiencing this game-changing ship as we will continue to offer unparalleled holidays at sea whilst also upholding the latest approved travel protocols.”

The UK's biggest cruise line P&O Cruises has extended the cancellation of its sailings until early 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The company suspended operations earlier this year when the pandemic began affecting global travel. The suspension was originally set to last until November but has now been extended.

All trips due to depart in 2020 have now been canned, as well as those planned for early next year.

P&O announced on Thursday that all cruises from/to Southampton will be cancelled until February 2021, and all Caribbean cruises are cancelled until January 2021.

Let's hope we can go cruising again in the spring!

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