MEYER WERFT has delivered new cruise ship Iona to the UK-based P&O Cruises on 9 October during an official handover ceremony.

The new cruise ship is 345m long and weighs 185,000t with 17 guest decks. It will be the first ship in the UK powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).

It is the first of the two new cruise ships built for P&O Cruises.

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

The ship will feature a two-deck SkyDome, which measures approximately 970m2. It provides a tranquil pool environment during the day, as well as dining and entertainment in the night.

It also offers aerial entertainment shows under the stars.

Additionally, the guests on the ship can craft individual gins at the first gin distillery in the sea. The ship also provides destination-themed treatments at the Oasis spa.

The ship also offers eight speciality restaurants, other concepts that will be revealed later, as well as 13 entertainment venues, 16 whirlpools and four swimming pools, including an infinity pool at the ship’s aft.

Ludlow added: “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.”