Iona is an Excel-class cruise ship built by MEYER WERFT. Credit: Jestico + Whiles.
The keel-laying ceremony of the Iona cruise ship was held in June 2019. Credit: MEYER WERFT.
The maximum passenger carrying capacity of the ship is 5,200. Credit: MEYER WERFT.
The ship was delivered to P&O Cruises in October 2020. Credit: MEYER WERFT.
Iona embarked on its maiden voyage from Southampton in August 2021. Credit: P&O Cruises.
The ship features a glass dome named SkyDome measuring 970m². Credit: SALZBRENNER media.
The entertainment facilities on the ship include movie theatres, an art gallery and a shopping centre, among others. Credit: SALZBRENNER media.
The ship features 30 restaurants and bars. Credit: SALZBRENNER media.

Iona is the latest Excel-class cruise ship built by MEYER WERFT, a German shipbuilding company, for the British cruise line P&O Cruises.

Construction of the vessel began with the steel-cutting ceremony held at MEYER WERFT’s shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, in May 2018. The keel-laying ceremony was held in June 2019.

The ship arrived at Rotterdam for inspection work in June 2020 and was delivered to P&O Cruises in October 2020.

The Iona cruise ship embarked on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England, in August 2021.

Iona is one of the largest cruise ships in the UK and among the few environmentally friendly cruise ships powered by liquefied natural gas. The cruise ship has a reduced carbon footprint with zero sulphur and nitrogen emissions.

Iona cruise ship design and features

The Iona cruise ship features an innovative design, superior cabins, and complete amenities. It is the first of two cruise ships built by MEYER WERFT for P&O Cruises. The second cruise ship, Arvia, was delivered in December 2022.

The ship’s SkyDome, a glass dome measuring 970m2, is the architectural highlight of the cruise ship. Weighing 105 tonnes (t), the dome features 340 triangular glasses.

The ship has a length of 344m, a beam of 42m, and a gross registered tonnage of 184,700t. It can accommodate 5,200 guests and 1,800 crew members.

The cruise ship is divided into 19 decks. Engine and propulsion units are positioned in the lower deck while accommodation facilities for the crew are located on the fourth and fifth decks.

Staterooms onboard Iona

The cruise ship offers plenty of choices for accommodation with its cabins and suites. Inside cabins are spacious and offer comfortable accommodation facilities for guests. The cabins’ floor area varies between 101ft² and 213ft².

Sea-view cabins offering views of the surroundings are ideal for guests who want comfortable private spaces. Cabins with patio-style doors and a private balcony with floor area varying between 107ft² and 362ft2 are available.

Conservatory mini-suite cabins, measuring 274ft², are the signature option on the Iona cruise ship. Suite cabins with an approximate floor area between 434ft2 and 530ft2 offer a boutique hotel experience.

Dining and entertainment facilities

Iona features multiple restaurants and dining facilities, including pubs and bars. It features renowned restaurants such as The Glass House, Epicurean restaurant and Italian restaurant Taste 360. Additionally, it integrates the gastropub and steakhouse Keel & Cow and The Quays piazza.

Guests can also avail the services of a self-service food market. Several other restaurants serving dishes that reflect cultural heritage, domestic cuisines, and delicate flavours are also available onboard.

Entertainment facilities onboard the cruise ship include a grand atrium, spas, movie theatres, art gallery, studio, shopping mall, casino, and a glass house. Swimming pools, whirlpool spas, and a beach house are also available on the ship.

The Lido deck on Deck 16 features an infinity pool, Horizon restaurant, The Beach House, crystal bar, Skydome pool, Skydome pizzeria, and grill. A jogging track, pool, and bar are available on the panorama deck at Deck 18. The Sky deck at Deck 19 offers sunbathing facilities.

Iona cruise ship propulsion and power

The Iona cruise ship is equipped with floating engine room units (FERU), which supply the energy required for propulsion. The units also power restaurants, galleys, public places, and air-conditioning units on the ship.

The installed power output of the units is between 60,000kW and 80,000kW. Each unit measures 140m long, 38m to 46m wide, and 16m tall.

Contractors involved

MEYER WERFT awarded a contract to NEPTUN WERFT for the development of FERU for the cruise ship.

The ship’s interiors were designed by Jestico + Whiles and Richmond International.

ALMACO, an accommodation and catering solutions provider, was selected as the catering solutions provider for the Iona cruise ship. It was responsible for providing and installing all cold rooms and freezer rooms, covering a 1,900m2 area, as part of the contract.

Halton Marine, a supplier of marine heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment, supplied galley ventilation and fire safety equipment for the cruise ship.

SALZBRENNER media, a professional audio, video, and media solutions provider, equipped the cruise ship with comprehensive multimedia solutions.

The cruise radio service on the Iona cruise ship is equipped with broadcast software provider ENCO’s DAD automated playout system.