P&O’s new cruise ship Iona touches water for the first time in float out at Meyer Werft

P&O Cruises’ new ship Iona has “floated out” at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, touching water for the first time ahead of her final fitting out and delivery.

The float out is a key milestone in the various construction stages of a new cruise ship and is always eagerly anticipated and watched by cruise ship enthusiasts, although the cruise line’s don’t typically release a statement.

True to tradition, Iona’s float out was watched by many, and there are several videos on You Tube covering the event, but P&O Cruises hasn’t sent out a press release to mark the occasion.

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The 5,200-passenger ship, the largest-ever built specifically for the UK cruise market, will now have the final fit out done on her interiors ahead of her launch in May.

At the end of March, Iona will make her way down the River Ems to the North Sea as Papenburg is inland.This first voyage by the cruise ship, known in the industry as a ‘conveyance’, will be another much-watched event.

Iona will then undergo sea trials to assess her seaworthiness.

P&O Iona has been moved to a wet dock following her float out

Iona will become P&O Cruises’ flagship. The 5,200-passenger, 180,000-ton ship is one a number of new ships ordered by P&O parent company Carnival Corporation that will run on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), making it the cleanest-ever P&O Cruises’ ship.

Iona will feature P&O’s first-ever half-mile “Lanai” deck, an outdoor, covered promenade with al fresco restaurants and bars.

And when it comes to drink and dining, the ship will offer 30 dining options (seven of which are specialty restaurants), 12 bars, 13 entertainment venues, and three pop-up entertainment spaces/venues.

The SkyDome will be a chillout spot during the day and nightlife central in the evening

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This is in addition to four swimming pools (three outside and one inside) and 16 whirlpools.

The focal point of the ship will be the Atrium, featuring glass panels, flooding the space with natural light. There will also be a grand staircase, a gallery and overhead walkways.

A giant dome above called SkyDome will be one of four entertainment spaces on the ship and will feature aerial performances, projections onto the roof and immersive shows.

An official naming ceremony takes place on July 4th, followed by a week-long celebration called Ionafest which will include a special performance from the ship’s Musical Director, Gary Barlow.

Iona will be joined by an as-yet-unnamed sister in 2022.

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