P&O Cruises Iona named in record-breaking virtual ceremony

Britain’s largest and most environmentally-friendly cruise ship, P&O Cruises Iona, has been officially named in a very contemporary ceremony with a record-breaking virtual audience.

Iona has officially been named by Dame Irene Hays in a glittering quayside ceremony by the bow of the ship.

In his speech P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow referred to the prolonged pause of the cruise industry and highlighted that “It is 427 days since we have been able to do what we do best – welcome our guests on board and give them unforgettable, joyous holidays where they make memories on board and see the sights of the world.”

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow, Dame Irene Hays and Captain Wesley Dunlop

The event, held at sunset, was hosted by Jo Whiley and broadcast to a “virtual” audience of 25,000 guests. The highlight of the show was a rousing set from Iona’s music director Gary Barlow performing two iconic Take That hits “Greatest Day and “Rule the World” against the backdrop of a spectacular laser show.

A specially produced Nebuchadnezzar (equivalent to 20x 750ml bottles) of Alex James’s Britpop cider smashed against the hull of the ship in spectacular style to bring it good fortune in the future.

There was also a special performance by The Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir and Mica Paris singing Believe, a song which was dedicated to Her Majesty The Queen, head of the Commonwealth, for its 70th anniversary in 2019.

A summer of UK coastal cruises

The LNG-powered Iona offers 30 bars and restaurants with many new speciality dining options including tapas from award-winning Spanish chef José Pizarro paired with wines selected by Olly Smith and a new Chef’s Table menu from Marco Pierre White. Entertainment venues include the first “SkyDome” – an extraordinary glass structure which will be a relaxed poolside environment by day and then transform at night into a spectacular venue with DJs, stage and aerial acrobatic shows.

Iona also features the first gin still on a cruise ship, created in association with Salcombe Gin, distilling tailor made spirit on board. The gin’s maiden production will take place in Iona’s custom-made still named “Columba” and will be distilled, bottled and labelled on board.

Highlights and a full edit of the ceremony will be available shortly on P&O Cruises YouTube channel, website and Facebook page.

For more details on Iona’s inaugural summer season of UK coastal cruises, including her maiden voyage on August 7 up to her namesake island of Iona, visit pocruises.com.

Also read: Iona arrives in Southampton for naming ceremony

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