Jane McDonald reveals her top tips when packing for cruises
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The Iona is P&O’s newest and “most innovative” cruise ship, which set off on its maiden voyage on Saturday, August 7 at 9pm, more than a year after its intended date. The ship is the first British cruise ship to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), making it the greenest in P&O’s ship to date. The ship is set to travel to the Scottish Isles and the Channel Islands all throughout September, and for its Maiden voyage is taking a loop around the UK with thousands of people on board. Where is the ship now?
The Iona is the largest passenger ship ever built for the UK cruise market, and it is finally on its maiden voyage.
The ship was originally scheduled to perform her maiden voyage on 14 May 2020 from Southampton to the Norweigan fjords, but the pandemic halted the operation and it wasn’t christened until May 2021.
In March this year, P&O announced that the maiden voyage would take place on August 7, 2021 and revealed that all voyages during the inaugural season would be exclusive to UK residents, thanks to the UK’s travel restrictions.
The Iona, which started being build in April 2018 and was finished in 2020, has a wide range of exciting features onboard.
The Excel class ship is complete with an on-board craft gin distillery, aerial shows, an Infinity Pool, a SkyDome, Conservatory Mini-suite cabins, a four-screen cinema, a nightclub, a spa, a fitness studio, and more than 30 places to eat and drink.
P&O President Paul Ludlow has said the ship is designed so that “you can’t do it all, so you’ll have to come back.”
The ship has 5,200 guest capacity but it set sail at the weekend at about 50 percent capacity, in line with the current restrictions.
About 85 percent of the passengers on the Iona are loyal P&O passengers.
The cruises will be much quieter than usual while operating under limited capacity, but P&O Cruises is scheduled to restart international cruises from September and the team hopes to have occupancy back up to 100 percent by March next year.
All passengers on the ship are double-vaccinated adults who were tested before embarking at Southhampton.
For the time being, Iona’s cruises are for vaccinated adults only.
However, from September 25 families will be able to take a trip on the Iona.
Any under-18s who are not double vaccinated and wish to come on board will be required to take a PCR test before doing so, and the price will be included in the cruise fare.
Where is Iona cruise ship now?
The passengers and crew on the maiden voyage will be on board for seven nights on a voyage around the UK, with no ports of call.
On Monday, the Iona will drop anchor at the Scottish island of Iona to fireworks and celebrations.
You can follow the Iona’s journey here
At the time of writing, the current position of Iona is at the North-East Atlantic Ocean (coordinates 55.43465 N / 6.24206 W).
This means it isn’t far from Iona, Scotland and it is due to arrive there at 12pm today.
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