After recently enjoying a glorious cruise on Iona I thought it a good time to share my thoughts on this magnificent ship in this P&O Iona Photo Tour And Review. You see I had no desire to ever cruise with P&O. Why? I have no idea now, I think I just thought it would be a little dull, too reserved and a little too British. But I was so wrong, Iona has totally blown my mind.
Dont get me wrong I am proud to be British, but 2 bars of Agadoo or Superman will have me running for the hills and I definitely dont want to talk about politics or current affairs you know the “B word”, there’s enough of that on the news.
But honestly my pre conceived ideas were totally wrong, the crowd on our sailing were a lovely bunch. Read on to see our thoughts and lots of photos of the stunning cruise ship that is IONA.
P&Os Iona Photo Tour And Review
P&O Iona launched in 2020, with Dame Irene Hays as the Godmother and Gary Barlow as Music Director. She has a gross tonnage of 184,700 has a passenger capacity of 5200 an a crew of 1800. This is one very special ship indeed, a bit like a floating centre of gastronomy and entertainment.
We have always gone for ships with mega activities such as Odyssey of the Seas, however Iona is a different kind of ship, she’s calm and serene. There was the odd area I avoided which wasn’t so calm (The Clubhouse, played Agadoo and Superman for the family market). But this ship is of huge proportions, so its easy to find favourite bars and cafes elsewhere, there is something for everyone on Iona.
P&O Iona Review, The Main Atrium On Iona
The atrium is stunning, very contemporary and minimal but it really works as a big open space with lots of smaller bars and restaurants branching off. You will also find a Costa Coffee bar which is included in your drinks package if you have one. The cakes are extra but wow they are delicious and have gluten free options.
Getting Around P&O Iona
P&O have created a colour coded system for Iona. It’s odd as the ship is huge, yes it feels it in sheer volume, but not in crowds. Some large ships can feel crowded, but Iona never felt like this. The layout and design is so well planned and thought out, we never once experienced a bottle neck. The only time on the whole time there was a crowd was during the silent disco in the atrium, but that would have been flat without a crowd.
To help navigate the ship there are wall maps at every lift area, the lift and stairwells are also colour coded to help you get your bearings.
- Blue, to represent the horizon and seas views is at the front of the ship.
- Grey to represent the moon above is mid ship.
- Red for the sunset is at the back of the ship.
Our Review Of The P&O App
As soon as you board Iona you download the Iona app, you dont need wifi to access it and can book all of your dining and entertainment easily. I have to say the app is excellent, easy to navigate and plan entertainment dining. There are also virtual queues for dining which we loved.
You can also track you onboard account, read port guides and pay for wifi packages. Its effective and super easy to navigate.
Iona Has An Onboard Cinema
I know all ships offer movie viewings, however IONA has an actual Cinema. We did plan to go and watch a movie, but there just wasn’t time. However what I can tell you is that there are four screens with a choice of movies showing daily and this does change several times throughout your cruise.
The choice of movies varies but we found there was something for everyone, and family options for families travelling with kiddies.You will also find a vending machine with snacks and popcorn, although there is a cost for these items.
Shopping Onboard Iona
The promenade shop is located on Deck 6, this is filled with essentials, books, and goodies. A sort of onboard convenience store, there is also a Harbour shop on the Atrium, deck 8. Between the two you will find a lot of convenience products.
The Shopping District on Iona is called Avenue Shopping and it can be found on deck 7 midship. The choice of luxury items is astounding, its the perfect place to treat yourself.
Brands You Will Find Onboard Iona Include:
- Raymond Weil
- Molten Brown
- Calvin Klein
- Jo Malone
Our Review Of The Bars On P&O Iona
There are a whopping choice of 18 bars on Iona, plus a gin distillery (I kid you not) this is great as it offers variety and choice for everyone, from late night clubs, gin bars, bars with board games and laid back bars that offer the perfect opportunity to people watch.
One of the things I adored about Iona is the choice and diversity of the bars onboard. With Brodies English pub offering pub quizzes or the Atrium offing offering piano music and chill vibes and the 710 offering Jazz, there is such a diverse amount of choice.
Bars You Will Find On Iona
- Beachcomber Bar (Deck 18) Forward
- Panorama Bar (Deck 18) Aft
- Vistas (Deck 6) Atrium
- Infinity Bar (Deck 16) Aft
- Sunset Bar (Deck 8) Aft
- Laguna Bar (Deck 16) SkyDome
- The Keel and Cow Deck 8) Atrium
- The Glass House (Deck 7) Atrium
- Crystal Bar (Deck 16) SkyDome
- Emerald Bar (Deck 6) Atrium
- The Crow’s Nest (Deck 17) Forward
- Brodie’s (Deck 7) Forward
- Anderson’s Bar (Deck 6) Midship
- The 710 Club (Deck 6) Atrium
- Sky Bar (Deck 17) SkyDome
- The Club House (Deck 8) Aft
- Sky Bar (Deck 17) SkyDome
- The Limelight Club (Deck 6) Forward
Kids Clubs On Iona
The kiddies complex is fabulous, for obvious reasons we didn’t get to go in, however they looked interactive and inspiring when we peeked in before it opened one morning. Here are the Iona clubs and ages from our sailing.
- Night Nursery (0-4 year olds) 6.00pm-12.00am
- Splashers (2-4 year olds)
- Surfers (5-8 year old)
- Scubas (9-17 year olds)
- Scene (13-17 year olds) 2.00pm-5.00pm & 6.00pm-10.30pm
Our Review Of The Shows And Entertainment
There is soooo much to do, I was doubtful I would love the shows on Iona, yet all entertainment was the the highest quality. The theatre decor and facilities are a quality and standard, one that any city centre theatre would kill for, with interactive stages that really enhance productions.
However the acts and cast of shows also showed their absolute worthiness to perform on the that stage. Cruise entertainment has come a long way, the booking team are pure genius. Now we are not avid watchers of Britains Got Talent, but the acts booked to come onboard were outstanding.
As was Ray Quinn of XFactor and Dancing on Ice Fame. The cover charge for the Limelight Club was worth every penny, Ray’s show was incredible, and the food and service was impeccable. I felt like we were in a West End supper club the whole evening was sublime.
Our Favourite Shows Of The Week
- Ray Quinn (Limelight Club)
- Festival (Theatre)
- Centre Stage (Theatre Music)
- Richard And Adam
Dining Options On P&O Iona
The food is so easy to review, I am going to create a post about the dining on P&O Iona, however in short its fabulous, some of the best I have ever experienced on a cruise ship. The beauty of P&O is that the 8 speciality dining venues offer choice and options.
In some of the speciality restaurants if you choose carefully do don’t need to spend any extra, thats bonkers right? But you do pay a cover charge to book some which get refunded from your final bill? I have popped and Olive Grove menu in below so you can see how it works. This is not the case in all the speciality restaurants but most of them.
However the great thing is even if you chose items with a cover charge, its not expensive at all. The most expensive item on the Olive Grove menu was £4.50 and the food was delicious with superb service.
We dined in many of the speciality dining venues and the were all incredible except for the Keel and Cow, however our server was really grumpy so the service was poor. We put it down to her having a bad day. This was our only experience of poor service on the whole ship for a week, so figured she may have had something going on.
Speciality Dining On P&O Iona
- The Keel & Cow
- The Olive Grove
- The Beach House
- The Glass House
- Limelight Club
- Ripples Ice Cream Bar
If you are a lobster fan head to the Chefs Table on Formal Night, you have to book you seats in the Horizon Restaurant as soon as you can. It’s a menu curated by Marco Pierre White and Olly Smith that offers a wonderful dining experience, which is also free of charge.
Dining Included In The Price Of Your Cruise On P&O Iona
- The Quays
- Horizon Buffet Restaurant
- Taste 360
We dined in all the the main dining venues, (yes we packed in a LOT of food that week) and none disappointed. The restaurants all fit more intimate, so although they may be busy the feeling is always chilled.
You will also find a fabulous pizza and burger and ice cream snack bars on deck 16 in the Skydome area. The food looked amazing but wasn’t gluten free. But going off the queues every day the food was as amazing as it smelt.
Food Allergies On P&O
I am gluten free and this wasn’t an issue on Iona. On the first night the head waiter came to see me and explained all them menus. When sailing on P&O you can plan meals ahead and chef’s with specially prepare options not ordinarily gluten free on the menu.
However I am not a planner so decided to go with gluten free options on the menu. I didn’t struggle at all, there were delicious options ever night. The only thing I did miss was a burger at lunch as they were never available as gluten free. But the Quays do offer awesome gluten free fish and chips. possibly the best I have ever had.
Pools And Tubs On Iona
There is sooooo much outside space on Iona, thus offering a good selection of pools. The amount of pools and tubs on Iona is astounding, and they are spread out which means so are passengers when on deck. You will find;
- Beachcomber Pool, Deck 18 forward
- 2 Tubs In The Retreat, Deck 18 Forward
- 2 Tubs Deck 18 Midship
- Panorama Infinity Pool, Deck 18 Aft
- 2 Tubs In The Skydome Deck 17
- Kiddies Splash Pool And Splash Pads On Deck 17 Aft
- Skydome Pool plus 2 Tubs in the Skydome, Deck 16
- Infinity Pool On Deck 16
- 6 Deck Tubs on Deck 8 Mid Forward
- 2 Tubs Deck 8 Aft
Open Decks On P&O Iona
Like all areas on Iona the outside areas are so well planned, there are lots of pockets of outdoor seating and sunbathing areas giving the feeling on space. If pools aren’t important to you there are lots of areas near hot tubs to get away from the buzz of the pool and also dine outside on warmer weather cruises.
The retreat is a separate adult only area at the front of the ship, we booked the retreat for £140pp for the week and it was worth every penny. You get a keycard to gain entry and for the price can enjoy a peaceful area with squashy sun-beds, superb waiter service, snacks, tea, coffee, water, lunch and afternoon tea.
Despite these pictures we did have sunny days on our sailing, but even on colder days it was possible so get a cocktail in the hot-tub and enjoy the views of Norway.
This is an area we would have spent a lot of time had our sons been with sailing with me! The sports deck was huge and there was lots going on.
The Laundry Room
It’s so handy having a laundry room on a ship and there are 9 laundry rooms across the ship. Thus meaning they can be found on most floors with accommodation. As you can see they are very spacious, ours on deck 16 had 4 washers, 4 dryers and 2 ironing boards.
The machines are free to use and you can purchase laundry capsules from the shop. However you can also use your own, which is better if you have sensitive skin or prefer a certain brand.
In Conclusion, Our Review Of P&O Iona
It was love at first sight, I joined my good friend Sue for a girls trip, plus I was curious about P&O I wanted to know if I was missing out on. The ship was friendly, so much going on and the quality of the food, service and entertainment was wonderful.
We are die hard Royal Caribbean fans and I have to say I preferred the food and service on Iona when comparing two cruises in the same month. Royal was fabulous, P&O was better, I surprise myself saying that, but there you go.
Would I book P&O again? Most definitely, I cant wait for my family to try it out! To find out more about Iona check out P&O Cruises.
I was gifted onboard credit to cover my onboard WIFI, but I paid for my cruise and all other aspects. As such my opinions are my own and you cant argue with love at first sight.