Iona debuts on Wednesday

The largest cruise ship to visit Funchal

JM headline about the Iona

Jaime had already tipped me off about a major arrival in the port of Funchal this coming Wednesday, but it seems that JM beat me to it this Monday morning, with a picture of what they describe as “A majestic ship -the biggest to scale Funchal arrives on Wednesday. And it’s called Iona”.

Before the Iona, several debutants premier during the best post-pandemic week in the port of Funchal. Today, it is the turn of the newcomer Borealis, from the Fred Olsen company.

P&O’s new flagship the Iona departed Southampton on 9 October and is due in the port of Funchal on Wednesday at 06:00 am, with 3,826 passengers on board and 1608 crew. She is expected to moor on Pier 2 which has a length of 425 metres (the Iona is 344 metres).

The Iona is going to be a regular monthly visitor for the season until the end of March, alternating the Madeira/ Canaries cruise with a Spanish / Portugal ( Lisbon) cruise on a monthly rotation. 

One of the largest cruise ships to enter Funchal she is Number 5 in the 9 ship ‘ Excellence “ class building programme by Carnival Corp ( 2 P&O, 2 AIDA, 2 Costa and 3 Carnival brands ) – the AIDAnova, a regular visitor to Madeira, being the first. Iona is the first British LNG powered ship. At 184,089 GT, the ship is the largest to ever operate for P&O Cruises and to operate specifically for the British market.

Iona has 18 total decks, a length of 344.5 metres (1,130 ft), and a beam of 42 metres (138 ft). Maximum power is rated at 61.7 megawatts (82,700 hp). Total propulsion power is rated at 37 megawatts (50,000 hp). Together, the power system gives the vessel a service speed of 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph). Iona will have a passenger capacity of 5,206 guests and 1,762 crew. Powered by liquefied natural gas(LNG), Iona is designed to not emit sulphur dioxide emissions and soot particles.

Iona has 17 different eateries, including eight restaurants designated as ‘select dining’, and 12 different bars. She also has 16 whirlpools and 4 swimming pools, one of which is housed under SkyDome, an entertainment venue topped by a 105-ton, 340-pane, 970-square-metre glass dome with a retractable stage for shows. The ship’s centre also includes a three-deck atrium flanked by triple-deck glass panels projecting outwards.

Iona during the pandemic

Iona was originally scheduled to perform her maiden voyage on 14 May 2020. The nine-night round-trip voyage from Southampton was to sail to the Norwegian fjords. The ship was scheduled to be christened on 4 July 2020 in Southampton before inaugurating a week-long celebration on the ship, however, on 23 April 2020, P&O announced that the pandemic forced the suspension of its operations and postponed the ship’s debut and inaugural festivities. 

P&O announced in March 2021 that the ship’s maiden voyage would be 7 August 2021 to Iona before she begins operating week-long voyages through September, visiting the Scottish isles and the Channel Islands. Due to the United Kingdom’s pandemic travel restrictions, all voyages during the inaugural season would be exclusive to UK residents.

Position at 8:00 am 11.10.21

Specifications of Iona

Year built: 2021 new ship

Flag state: United Kingdom

Builder: Meyer Werft (Papenburg, Germany)

Class: Excellence-Helios

Building cost: EUR 700 million (USD 950 million)

Owner: Carnival Corporation & PLC

Operator: P&O Cruises Australia

Speed:17 kn / 31 kph / 20 mph

Length (LOA): 345 m / 1132 ft

Beam (width): 42 m / 138 ft

Gross Tonnage: 184089 gt

Passengers: 5206 – 6264

Crew: 1762

Passengers-to-space ratio: 29

Decks: 18

Cabins: 2610

Decks with cabins: 11

Sister-ships: P&O Arvia, AIDAnova, AIDAcosma, Costa Smeralda, Costa Toscana, Carnival Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration, Carnival 2023

14 days, round-trip Canary Islands 

Date / TimePort
09 Oct    Departing from Southampton, England 
13 Oct    Funchal, Madeira Island, Portugal
14 Oct    Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands
15 Oct    Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
16 Oct    Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
17 Oct    Arrecife, Lanzarote, Canary Islands
19 Oct    Cadiz, Spain, Sevilla
20 Oct    Lisbon, Portugal
23 Oct    Arriving in Southampton, England hotels

COVID-19 in Madeira: daily updates can be found in an earlier post

Vaccinations in Madeira: updates can be found in an earlier post

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