Iona Nears Delivery as First Cruise Ship Completed After COVID-19
P&O Cruises’ new ship the Iona is moving closer to delivery after delays in construction due to the coronavirus health crisis. Currently completing her outfitting, she may become the first large cruise ship to be delivered after the public health emergency delayed and interrupted shipbuilding across Europe.
The Iona is expected to depart from Bremerhaven, Germany as early as May 30, for technical and nautical trials in the North Sea, before proceeding to Rotterdam for the final steps in her construction. Scheduled to arrive in Rotterdam on June 2, the Iona will enter dry dock for inspection work prior to her delivery.
The Iona had been scheduled for an early spring delivery to the cruise line for her maiden voyage at the beginning of May. She emerged from Meyer’s building hall in Papenburg, Germany in mid-February and completed her conveyance on the river Ems to Bremerhaven a month later. However, Meyer was forced to briefly suspend work on the ship while a plan was developed in coordination with the Port Medical Service (Hafenärztlicher Dienst, HÄD) and the Bremerhaven Port Authority which allowed the continuation of the outfitting work with precautions for the coronavirus.
“On board, everyone is working hand-in-hand to complete the fiftieth cruise ship built by Meyer Werft,” they said in a press announcement. “The work has been on-going since the ship was transferred over the river Ems. Nevertheless, the corona crisis is causing considerable restrictions in the final fitting of Iona.”
At 184,000 gross tons and measuring 1,130 feet in length, the Iona will be one of the largest cruise ships in the world and only the third cruise ship that will be operating on liquefied natural gas (LNG). The ship is similar in design the AIDANova and Costa Smeralda, both also built by Meyer, for other cruise lines owned by Carnival Corporation.
Meyer Werft reported that it is in close coordination with P&O Cruises for a delivery date of the Iona. P&O’s cruises are currently canceled through the end of July 2020, and no official date has been announced for Iona’s delayed maiden voyage.