Take That, Iona! Gary Barlow to perform as P&O Cruises names their new mega ship on 16 May
The singer will perform a short set at the Southampton event, which will be broadcast to a VIP audience, as part of his role as music director.
The Take That star oversees the ship’s 710 Club music venue and is involved in curating new talent to perform on board.
Dame Irene Hays, owner and chair of Hays Travel Group, will be godmother to Iona – Britain’s largest and most environmentally-friendly ship.
Dame Irene Hays, founder of Hays Travel, is Iona’s godmother. Photo: Steve Dunlop
Dame Irene founded Hays Travel with her late husband John in 1980 and it has grown to become the UK’s largest independent travel agency group.
Together they were instrumental in the expansion of the Sunderland-based company, particularly in the acquisition of Bath Travel in 2013 and Thomas Cook’s retail travel agencies in 2019.
‘With domestic cruising opening up from 17 May and with our series of UK coastal cruises proving very popular this summer, recovery is certainly on the horizon. Iona’s arrival into the UK and naming ceremony will be the ray of hope the cruise sector has needed for a long time’
P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said ‘We are absolutely delighted that Dame Irene Hays will be Iona’s godmother, taking centre stage alongside Gary Barlow in a landmark naming ceremony which will be the first stepping stone on the path to the return of the UK cruise industry.
‘Since the inception of Hays Travel there is no one who has been more supportive of cruising or more of an ambassador for the travel industry. As such there is no one more appropriate to name Iona in this prestigious event than Dame Irene as we celebrate her achievements.
‘The travel industry as a whole has been paused for over a year and has been devastated by the events of the last 13 months. We are so immensely grateful for the support we have received from travel agents across the UK, all of whom have faced commercial challenges none of us could have imagined.
‘With domestic cruising opening up from May 17 and with our series of UK coastal cruises proving very popular this summer, recovery is certainly on the horizon and Iona’s arrival into the UK and naming ceremony will be the ray of hope the cruise sector has needed for such a long time.’
Gary Barlow is Iona’s music director
The singer is also involved with curating onboard talent
Iona is Britain’s most environmentally-friendly and largest cruise ship. The mega-ship was originally scheduled to become P&O Cruises’ flagship last April, ready to set sail to the Norwegian fjords on her maiden voyage.
Instead, after months of waiting and delays because of the coronavirus pandemic, the 5,200 passenger ship was handed over in an official ceremony with Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany on 9 October, 2020.
Weighing in at a whopping 185,000 tonnes, measuring 345m in length and with 17 passenger decks, Iona has a SkyDome, gin distillery and even a hidden nightclub.
She is now set to showcase her amazing facilities on board on her seven night maiden voyage around the coast of her namesake island Iona and the Scottish Isles from Southampton on Saturday August 7, 2021. Visit pocruises.com