P&O Cruises Announces Festivities For New Flagship’s Maiden Voyage

P&O Cruises is gearing up for the maiden voyage of its new flagship Iona, and a spectacular party is in store for all who are involved.

A fireworks display from the ship’s namesake island will be the highlight of a variety of entertainment that will celebrate the Excel-class ship, which is set to depart Southampton on August 7.

Entertainment throughout the cruise will include Tony Hadley, a British singer and songwriter with numerous chart-topping singles and successful albums under his belt.

Aerial shows have also been created for Iona by Canadian entertainment company Creativiva. The ship’s design — especially its two-story glass SkyDome, has been the inspiration for one of the shows, called Rise.

P&O cruises iona SkyDome
The SkyDome (Photo courtesy of P&O Cruises)

P&O Cruises Food Heroes Marco Pierre White and Olly Smith will host masterclass talks on board, sharing their food and beverage expertise. They’ve also created the ship’s Chef’s Table experience, with menus designed by White and complemented with wine recommendations by Smith.

Food served throughout the sailing will celebrate the flavors of Scotland with things like Highland smoked salmon, single malt whisky Cranachan Verrine, a regional cheese selection, and Iona whisky fudge petit fours.

READ MORE: New Bahamas Port Prepares to Welcome First Cruise Ship

“Iona’s maiden voyage is a momentous milestone for travel. The ship sets a precedent for a new type of holiday packed full of firsts – we have Gary Barlow as music director of The 710 Club, Iona is Britain’s most environmentally-friendly cruise ship powered by liquefied natural gas, and we have the first gin distillery at sea,” said P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow.

“It is apt that Iona’s maiden voyage is to the ship’s namesake island which has been the inspiration for many elements on board – the sense of space in the SkyDome through to the heather in our Marabelle gin distilled on board.”

P&O Cruises Iona
(Photo courtesy of P&O Cruises)

Iona‘s inaugural seven-night voyage will depart Southampton on August 7 and cruise past Cornwall before anchoring at its namesake island for the fireworks show.

Following the stop at Iona, the vessel will spend three days cruising along the Scottish coast, where passengers can view the Isle of Colonsay, Lochbuie, Duart Castle, Tobermoay, Bac Mòr, Fingal’s Cave, Sound of Jura, Claggain Bay, Mull of Kintyre, and Sanda Island.

After an inaugural season of UK coastal cruises, Iona will head south and offer sailings to Spain and the Canary Islands starting in September.

READ NEXT: A Fourth of July Weekend to Remember as Cruise Ships Finally Sail Again

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