The largest cruise ship to visit Funchal
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.
Specifications of Iona
Year built: 2021 new ship
Flag state: United Kingdom
Builder: Meyer Werft (Papenburg, Germany)
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
Passengers-to-space ratio: 29
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 / Time||Port|
|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|