It will be the first time that the company will introduced itineraries whereby a ship cruises to the same destination through a long period of time – in the case of Iona, from May to September. The cruises will be of seven nights’ duration.
Usually, the company’s ships sail on cruises that differ in terms of duration and destination: its itineraries include the Baltic, Norway, Western Europe and the Atlantic Islands plus the Mediterranean in the summer season. The itineraries run in duration from two nights to about three weeks.
Speaking at a presentation in London on 4 September, company officials sad that Norway offers a wide range of activities that can be offered on shore excursions to attract younger people. These include e.g. kayaking, mountain biking, hiking and skiing.
Norway used to appeal to an older clientele, but thanks to the activities on offer there, the age profile of customers choosing the destination has become younger.
In addition to the commercial reasons, there may be a more practical reason why Iona should make relatively short cruises to a single destination: availability of LNG.
It is easier to arrange bunkering of the fuel on repeated itineraries based on sailings from Southampton in the UK than if the ship followed the same pattern as other ships in the fleet of the company in terms of destinations visited and duration of cruises.
P&O Cruise has not disclosed where Iona, which is named after an island on the west coast of Scotland, would cruise in the winter of 2020-21. A second ship of the same type is due to join the P&O Cruises’ fleet in 2022 and company officials have indicated that further newbuildings are on the cards in due time.
The ships are based on a platform also shared by Carnival Cruise Line, AIDA Cruises and Costa Crociere, which are also parts of the Carnival Corporation & plc group.
Text: Kari Reinikainen
Photo: P&O Cruise