P&O Iona Photo Tour And Review

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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&O Iona Ship Tour and Review
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

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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 in Hellesylt
P&O Iona in Hellesylt, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

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.

Atrium Stairs
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids
Main Atrium on P&O Iona
Main Atrium on P&O Iona, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids
Cake From Costa Cafe
Gluten Free Cake From Costa Cafe , Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

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.

Navigating P&O Iona
Navigating P&O Iona, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

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.
Getting About on P&O Iona
Colour Coded Art Helps You To Get Around Ship, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

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.

Onboard Cinema on Iona
Onboard Cinema on Iona, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

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.

Cinema on Iona
Cinema on Iona, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

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.

Convenience store on P&O Iona
The promenade Shop On Iona, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

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.

Iona Shopping District
Iona Shopping District, Avenue Shopping, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

Brands You Will Find Onboard Iona Include:

  • Mulberry
  • Pandora
  • Raymond Weil
  • Molten Brown
  • Calvin Klein
  • Barbour
  • TAG
  • Jo Malone
  • Clinique
  • Joules
Mulberry Shop on Iona
Mulberry Shop on Iona, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids
Shops onboard
Beauty Store On Iona, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

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.

The Atrium On Iona Has Bars And Restaurants On All Levels
The Atrium On Iona Has Bars And Restaurants On All Levels, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

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
Emerald Bar on Iona
Emerald Bar , Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids
Andersons Gin Bar and Library
Andersons Gin Bar and Library, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids
Gin Distillery
Gin Distillery , Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids
Sky dome pool on P&O Iona
Sky dome pool And Bar on P&O Iona, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids
Sunset Bar on P&O Iona
Sunset Bar on P&O Iona, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids
Sunset Bar on Iona
Sunset Bar With Stunning Views, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

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
Kids Clubs on Iona
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

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.

The theatre on P&O Iona
The theatre on P&O Iona, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

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.

Dinner in the Limelight Lounge
Dinner in the Limelight Lounge,Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

Our Favourite Shows Of The Week

  • Ray Quinn (Limelight Club)
  • Festival (Theatre)
  • Centre Stage (Theatre Music)
  • Richard And Adam
Festival on Iona
Festival on Iona, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

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.

The Olive Grove Menu
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

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.

The Olive Grove Chargrilled Peri Peri Chicken
The Olive Grove Chargrilled Peri Peri Chicken, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

Speciality Dining On P&O Iona

  • The Keel & Cow
  • The Olive Grove
  • Sindhu
  • Epicurean
  • The Beach House
  • The Glass House
  • Limelight Club
  • Ripples Ice Cream Bar
Dining in the Olive Grove
Dining in the Olive Grove on Iona, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids
Sindhu Indian Restaurant
Sindhu Indian Restaurant On Iona, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids
Ripples Ice Cream Bar on Iona
Ripples Ice Cream Bar on Iona, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

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.

The Chefs Table, Formal Night
The Chefs Table, Formal Night, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

Dining Included In The Price Of Your Cruise On P&O Iona

  • The Quays
  • Horizon Buffet Restaurant
  • Coral
  • Pearl
  • Aqua
  • Opal
  • Taste 360
  • Sundaes

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.

Main Dining Room
Main Dining Room, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

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.

Hanging Kebabs from the Beach House in Iona
Hanging Kebabs from the Beach House in Iona,Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

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
The Reef Pool On Iona
The Reef Pool On Iona, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids
Kiddies Splash Zone on P&O Iona
Kiddies Splash Zone on P&O Iona, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids
Infinity Pool On P&O Iona
Infinity Pool On P&O Iona, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids
Jacuzzi s On The Promenade Deck Of Iona
Jacuzzi s On The Promenade Deck Of Iona, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

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.

Outside Areas On P&O Iona
Outside Areas On P&O Iona, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids
P&O Iona In port in Norway
P&O Iona In Port In Norway, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids
Outside Deck Seating Areas
Outside Deck Seating Areas, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids
Lots Of outside areas on Iona
Outside Sindhu, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

The Retreat

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.

Cabana Beds In The Retreat
Cabana Beds In The Retreat, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids
The Retreat On P&O Iona
The Retreat On P&O Iona, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids
Spa with a view in the retreat
Spa With A View In The Retreat, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids
Hammocks in the retreat on P&O Iona
Hammocks In The Retreat , Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

Sports Deck

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.

Sports Deck on P& O Iona
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

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.

Laundry on P&O Iona
Laundry Room On P&O Iona, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

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 P&O Cruise Ships.

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.

P&O Iona
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids
The Grand Atrium On P&O Iona
The Grand Atrium, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids
Skydome Pool on P&O Iona
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids
The Club House On Iona
The Club House On Iona, Photo Credit: Sarah Christie, Cruising With Kids

Author

    by
  • Sarah Christie

    Sarah also writes for Mini Travellers Family Travel Blog and Extraordinary Chaos Craft and Lifestyle Blog. Both are award-winning blogs with a travel and family focus. She is married and has two boys, aged 18 and 22, who all love cruising as a family. Nothing is better than waking up every day in a new port with new and exciting things to explore. She aims to share how cruising as a family with young adults is the perfect choice for family travel. Her boys are sporty and love the activities, sports and dining options cruising offers. Sarah has worked with brands such as Walt Disney World, Mark Warner, Ikos Resort, Center Parcs, Laura Ashley, Belling and Next.

7 thoughts on “P&O Iona Photo Tour And Review”

  1. We were on a cruise on Iona from 17th sept 2022. I couldn’t agree more with the review above. We booked another cruise with P&O whilst on board for 2024. Quite honestly I can’t think of anything the ship, crew, staff could have done to make this cruise any better. A brilliant, relaxing holiday and that’s not even including the scenery and excursions.

    Reply
    • Totally agree Colin, it was our first cruise on P&O and wont be our last.

      Reply
  2. I agree with all that was stated above, we have just come back from the Norwegian Fiords on Iona, it is one of the smoothest Cruiseships we have sailed on. The crew and passengers
    We so friendly , The only drawback was, we couldn’t dock for the last few visits as the weather was too stormy ,
    We were so disappointed but
    safety I suppose is the Captain’s main priority.
    Perhaps we may try and do this Cruise again earlier in the year. It’s a Cruise that was breathtaking, with the Beautiful sites of the Norwegian Fiords.
    So thank you Iona for such a
    Memorial and Beautiful Cruise that the six of us will
    Never forget.X

    Reply
    • Totally agree Gloria we loved it too, we also missed a port but it just didn’t seem to matter we had to much to do on the ship.

      Reply
  3. It sounds wonderful,we were pleased to see various aspects of the ship.. We are celebrating our 56th wedding anniversary on the 8th of October as we board. It was very nice to get an idea of all we have to look forward to.

    Reply
  4. Awesome write up, and totally agree with every word. Our first cruise (mid July, Norway) and hooked already. Iona is an absolutely stunning ship, and all the staff are a credit to it. Can’t wait for our next adventure 😁

    Reply

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