Iona, the first of two 180,000 gross ton newbuildings for P&O Cruises from Meyer Werft in Germany, is likely to enter the UK registry rather than that of Bermuda, where six of the seven present ships of the company are registered.
A computer generated video clip of the exterior of the ship that is due to enter service in 2020 shows Southampton as the port of registry of the vessel. Only the 2015 built Britannia is registered in the UK port, while the other ships of P&O Cruises are registered in Hamilton on Bermuda.
The ships of both P&O Cruises and Cunard Line, both of which are parts of the Carnival Corporation & plc group, were registered in the UK up to 2013. However, the registration of them was then moved to Bermuda, a British crown dependency, as the Bermuda government would allow masters of ships to conduct weddings on board, which was not possible in the UK registry.
There was also another reason: in that same year, the Parliament passed Equalities Act, which effectively meant that crew members from other member states of the EU would have to be paid the same wages as their British counterparts as they too had the legal right to live in the UK. In practice, this affected crew members mainly from Eastern European countries.
Ships registered in the UK and Bermuda – plus Gibraltar, the Isle of Man and Cayman Islands – use the British merchant navy flag, also known as the Red Ensign.