Two major cruise lines aimed at British passengers are poised to set sail with brand new ships.
P&O Cruises and Saga Cruises have taken delivery of the vessels which were both constructed at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. The maiden voyages of P&O’s 5,200-passenger Iona – the largest cruise ship built for the UK market, and Saga’s 999-guest Spirit of Adventure will take place in 2021.
Following the official handover of the new flagship, P&O Cruises’ President Paul Ludlow said: “Iona’s delivery is a very positive signal for the future of cruising. She is now officially part of the P&O Cruises fleet and we are focused on readying her to welcome guests during her new maiden season to Northern Europe, Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands from our home port of Southampton.
“Whilst our operations are currently paused until early 2021 Iona will not be sailing for the moment but we look forward to our guests experiencing this game-changing ship as we will continue to offer unparalleled holidays at sea whilst also upholding the latest approved travel protocols.”
Weighing 185,000 tonnes, 345m in length and with 17 guest decks, Iona is also the first British cruise ship to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). Other standout features include the two-deck SkyDome. During the day the glass-domed pool area will provide an unrestricted all-weather viewing area and at night the swimming pool will be transformed into a stage hosting shows and parties beneath the stars. Iona’s passengers will also be able to craft individual gins at the first ever gin distillery at sea.
After leaving the shipyard the latest addition to Saga’s ocean cruise fleet, Spirit of Adventure, has arrived in the UK and will remain at Tilbury until its inaugural Canary Island cruise in February 2021. Exclusively offering itineraries for the over-50s, every cabin on the ship has a balcony and around 20% are dedicated single cabins that are available in four categories and include suites. It is the second of the line’s first-ever new-build ships.
Nigel Blanks, Managing Director of Saga Cruises, said: “Over the past 18 months, we have been focused on creating a British boutique cruising experience for our guests that is not available elsewhere on the market and Spirit of Adventure is an important milestone in this plan. While she shares some similarities with her sister ship, Spirit of Discovery, Spirit of Adventure is unique in her own right with distinctive design features and characteristics.”
Known as the ‘River Cruise Queen’, Jeannine Williamson is an award-winning travel writer, cruise expert and our cruise correspondent, who has clocked up thousands of nautical miles.
Photographs courtesy of P&O Cruises and Saga Cruises