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P&O’s new ship Iona gets her massive 970-square-meter SkyDome

P&O’s newest cruise ship Iona received her 970-square-metre SkyDome on Friday, ahead of her planned 2020 launch.

The huge glass structure, weighing 105 tons and consisting of 340 panes of glass, was raised using a 750-ton crane at the Meyer Werft shipyard.

The SkyDome will be the centrepiece architectural feature aboard the 183,900-gross ton cruise ship, the largest ever built for P&O and the British cruise market.

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It will sit over the three-deck high central Grand Atrium, the ship’s social hub, with dining venues, entertainment and relaxation spaces.

SkyDome itself will occupy two decks – Deck 16, with restaurants, bars and a swimming pool – and Deck 17, a mezzanine level offering a bar and seating area. SkyDome will also have a retractable stage for shows.

“With its glass dome roof and spacious layout, it’s flooded with natural light,” P&O says of the space on its website. “It offers a relaxed, poolside environment by day, with tantalising dining and drinking options; come evening, the space seamlessly transitions into a must-visit entertainment venue, showcasing spectacular aerialist performances and playing host to party nights under the stars.”

“It’s a fun and welcoming space for families, offering laid-back dining, exciting entertainment, a swimming pool and room to roam.”

Iona will be LNG powered, the first ship of its kind for the British cruise market, and is the first of two identical ships ordered by P&O.

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P&O Cruises’ parent company Carnival Corporation has ordered several of these mega-ships for its AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, and Princess Cruises brands.

Iona will feature 17 dining options, 8 of which will be specialty restaurants, and 12 bars. Up top, there will be 16 whirlpools and 4 swimming pools (one of which will be part of the SkyDome) and on the promenade deck she’ll have a half-mile-long promenade with outdoor dining.

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the dramatic midships coffee bar aboard iona

P&O Cruises has announced that Iona will spend her first cruise season sailing from Southampton to Spain and the Norwegian Fjords.

“P&O Cruises has a strong tradition of taking guests to enjoy winter sun and vibrant northern European cities, and now we’re helping them discover a new side of well-known destinations,” said Paul Ludlow, President of P&O Cruises.

“By scheduling late departures for Iona from ports our guests will be able to make the most of days and evenings on shore, with an enviable selection of experiences that will showcase the very best of hidden Spain, Portugal, the Canary Islands and northern European cities,” he added.

The Port of Southampton and Carnival Corporation have jointly invested in a brand new cruise terminal to accommodate the massive new ship.

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