P&O Cruises to introduce the first gin distillery at sea aboard new ship Iona

P&O Cruises will develop and install the first distillery at sea on-board Iona, which is due for launch in 2020 and will be the largest cruise ship ever deployed for the UK cruise market.

The distillery is being developed in partnership with Salcombe Gin, which will produce the maiden production on-board in the ship’s custom still. It will then be distilled, bottled and labelled for consumption and purchase by guests.

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The unique recipe, which P&O has yet to name, will also be distilled in Salcombe Gin’s 450 liter copper still ‘Provident’ in Salcombe, so that it can be distributed across all the ships in the P&O fleet.

P&O Cruises is also working with Salcombe Gin to develop limited-edition gins celebrating and taking inspiration from the ports of call on various itineraries, the cruise line said.

“Salcombe Gin is the perfect partner for us as it shares our zest for adventure and discovery,” said Paul Ludlow, President, P&O Cruises. “It has an unrivalled passion and attention to detail, not only in the award-winning gins created, but also in the unique gin experiences offered.”

“We are incredibly excited by the bespoke gin being created for us, the maiden production run of which will be distilled in the first ever distillery at sea,” he added.

Angus Lugsdin, co-founder of Salcombe Distilling Co, said the two brands shared a rich history. “At the same time that P&O expanded into leisure cruising in the mid-19th century, the famous Salcombe Fruit schooners were entering their heyday, importing cargoes of precious fruits and spices from the Mediterranean to England’s ports and the ships probably passed each other on their voyages,” he said.

The ship will also feature its own on-board distillery

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“Both brands are kindred spirits, born of the sea with a history of breaking new ground and exploring new horizons,” he added. “To be responsible for creating a unique gin and distilling it on board the first distillery at sea is a very romantic notion and brings us closer to the intrepid adventurers who travelled the world’s oceans seeking out the finest fruits, spices and herbs.”

Salcombe Gin will also bring its masterclass expertise to Iona to create two unique experiences for P&O Cruises.

In one, guests can gather together to learn all about the nation’s favourite spirit and try a variety of different gins, the second class is a smaller, more intimate gathering where guests can create their own gin recipe.

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