The ship’s music director, Gary Barlow, performed at the ceremony
P&O Cruises new cruise ship, Iona, has been officially named in a ceremony at the Port of Southampton, UK, which was broadcast to a virtual audience of 25,000 guests.
The ship was officially named by Dame Irene Hays, chair of independent travel agency Hays Travel, with a specially produced Nebuchadnezzar bottle of Alex James’s Britpop cider smashed against the hull of the ship.
The event was hosted by DJ Jo Whiley and featured a performance from the ship’s music director, Gary Barlow, who sang Take That songs ‘Greatest Day’ and ‘Rule the World’ alongside a laser show. There was also a performance by The Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir and Mica Paris singing ‘Believe’, a song which was composed by Simon Haw MBE and dedicated to The Queen for the Commonwealth’s 70th anniversary in 2019.
“It is 427 days since we have been able to do what we do best – welcome our guests onboard and give them unforgettable, joyous holidays where they make memories on board and see the sights of the world,” said Paul Ludlow, president of P&O Cruises. “With our invited audience and millions more watching the ceremony on social media, today heralds a new beginning and new hope for the cruise industry. Iona is indeed a very visible symbol of our future.”
Iona will embark on her maiden voyage up to her namesake island of Iona in Scotland on 7 August before sailing a series of cruises around the UK coast. She is the largest ship to be built to serve the UK market, with capacity for 5,200 guests, and will be powered by LNG fuel.
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