P&O Cruises, the UK focused contemporary market unit in the Carnival Corporation & plc group, said it would name its next ship Iona. It will be eighth vessel in the fleet of the company.
The 180,000 gross ton LNG powered newbuilding that is due to enter service in 2020 is the first of two similar ships the company has on order at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany.
Iona is a small island on the west coast of Scotland and a legend has it that a monastery there was founded by St. Columba in 563. Consequently, the island became a centre of learning. Later, Vikings conquered the island and it remained part of Norway until 1266, when it passed to Scotland.
P&O Cruises senior vice-president Paul Ludlow said in a statement: “We are an island nation and as Britain’s favourite cruise line it seems very fitting to highlight one of our most notable islands and celebrate the geographic diversity of the UK, especially as we can trace back our roots to the Scottish Isles.”
Brodie Wilcox and Arthur Anderson that founded P&O in 1837 were both of Scottish origin.
“Iona played a significant part in shaping the history of our nation and we hope that with this very special name our new ship will shape the future of holidays at sea for generations.” The sea was a powerful force in the history of the Inner Hebridean island of Iona and is still today a crucial link to trade and a thriving tourism industry, requiring two sea crossings to reach the island.
Ludlow said: “Iona is known for its peace and tranquillity, stunning landscape and, most importantly, the view of the ocean from almost every point on the island. This mirrors our primary intention when building the ship, which was to make the sea the star. Throughout the design process we were mindful that we were building a ship, not a hotel, and the intrinsic beauty of the sea, the vistas of the coastlines and ports of call should be at the fore and visible as much as possible from all areas of the ship.“
The name was unveiled by BAFTA award-winning TV presenter Stephen Mulhern on Iona, which is protected by the National Trust for Scotland, where he was joined by several of the islanders.