The unprecedented challenges during the construction of Iona

When Iona finally sets sail later this year she will become the ultimate holiday destination for families. P&O Cruises‘ new flagship will feature exciting global street food experiences, a fun gelateria serving award-winning gelato, a four-screen cinema complex and extraordinary pop-up performances.

Iona will also offer innovative new Conservatory Mini-suite cabins, the most luxurious wellness facility in the P&O Cruises fleet and more than 17 places to dine. A Grand Atrium will be the centrepiece of the new ship, spanning three decks with panoramic views of the sea while SkyDome, high on decks 16 and 17, will provide a place for relaxation, dining and contemporary entertainment from day to night. 

Iona will be the next generation of P&O Cruises ships as the first British cruise ship to be powered by LNG (liquefied natural gas), paving the way for the future of cruising.

But the construction of the 50th cruise ship at Meyer Werft has not been an easy feat.

Back in March we visited the Meyer Werft and got up close and personal with Iona. A few days after our visit Iona left the shipyard in Papenburg and made her river conveyance to Eemshaven in the Netherlands. Here the new build went through several days of technical and nautical sea trials in preparation for her delivery in May.

But with the outbreak of the coronavirus, and in order to guarantee the health of the employees, the number of people on board the Iona had to be reduced to a minimum. With only the crew necessary for the operation and safety of the ship on site, work came to a standstill. All interior work and testing at sea was suspended. Outfitting work on board Iona was only able to restart after Meyer Werft, the authorities and P&O Cruises set up a package of new safety measures.

Early June Iona could finally sail to Rotterdam. Here the ship entered dry dock for further inspection work. The passage from Bremerhaven to the Netherlands was used for technical and nautical test runs in the North Sea.

Even though the coronacrisis caused considerable restrictions in the final fitting of Iona, everyone on board is working hand in hand to complete the 50th cruise ship built by Meyer Werft.

Having overcome unprecedented challenges during the construction of Iona, Meyer Werft and P&O Cruises are currently in close coordination for a delivery date.

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