Cruising Floats My Boat!

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Review Details

Views:
252
Overall Rating:
Cruise Line:
P&O Cruises
Cruise Ship:
Iona
Destination:
British Isles

Review Profile

Sailed:
September, 2021
Occasion:
Wedding anniversary
Cabin:
Balcony
Times cruised before:
10+
Age:
65+
Having deliberated for quite some time to cruise again after lockdown and our Ruby wedding anniversary fast approaching, feeling comfortable with P&O’s safety testing/ regulations, as well as the lure of cruising on the new ship ‘Iona’, we took the plunge and we weren’t disappointed! 

We drove to Southampton, allowing extra time for the covid testing, arriving safely with time to spare.  No queueing and a very efficient process, with a negative result via text within 20 minutes!  We were then able to drive on to the cruise terminal for embarkation where we joined the queue of passengers for registration where it was almost 2 hours before we could join the ship. 

Once on board, we headed directly to our cabin which was located at the very rear of the ship. We chose a larger balcony cabin and we made the right choice as the standard size would have been too small.  It was a lovely bright comfortable room with adequate wardrobe space including a safe for valuables. The ensuite was quite small but functional with a useful drying line.  There was the usual tea/coffee making facility and a mini fridge for chilling drinks. The balcony had a small table and a pair of chairs which was adequate for sitting but not for reclining a sun lounger; which was fine for us.  We appreciated the balcony more on this cruise as there were no port stops so no leaving the ship for a week.  The weather was hit and miss with a few sunny days and a few showers, however, it was warm even when cloudy with a breeze.  

Iona is huge and, as she was only sailing  at 50% capacity, there was lots of space with no shortage of seats and no problem social distancing. Most people adhered to the safety regulations of wearing face masks in public areas and using antiseptic gel, readily available everywhere on the ship. However, in the theatre it wasn’t always the case, as some people didn’t wear face masks or possibly removed them when the lights dimmed? 

There was a plethora of restaurants to choose from to suit everyone’s taste and where reservation was essential.  We prebooked our dining and entertainment options before the cruise. However, the ‘holiday app’ which we were all encouraged to use to make reservations, mysteriously cancelled all our prebooked reservations? We sought some help at the ‘Customer Relations’ desk and, with some friendly and efficient assistance, our reservations for the week were reinstalled. An alternative to the ‘holiday app’ was just to phone ‘Customer Relations’ desk directly from your cabin. 

We found all the staff we met were very approachable and polite and extremely helpful always offering ‘service with a smile!’

The entertainment was varied and very good. There were musicals with the ‘Headliners’ in the theatre (‘Festival’ was particularly good and recommended) as well as singers, comedians and a magician. There was also a group ‘Pulse’ who performed amazing 70’s/80’s music. Crows nest at the top of the ship is a cosy place to go for a nightcap. The atrium, at the heart of the ship on 3 levels, is huge and is a great place to have your morning coffee and chill with the daily crossword or catching up with current affairs in the daily newsheet provided free each day and some days there was entertainment provided.  There was also ‘Horizon’ a daily information sheet of the day’s activities and entertainment list. 

Prior to booking the cruise, we were a little apprehensive about being on board for a week, unable to leave the ship as there were no port stops. We need not have worried, as once onboard there is so much to do: dance lessons; various classes; state of the art gym; spa; cinema; shops; library; guest speakers; casino; various bars and restaurants that you’ll never be bored or go hungry! 

On the day of our anniversary, we displayed our cards in our cabin which we brought with us and they didn’t go unnoticed by our steward.  When returning to our cabin later that day, we were very pleasantly surprised.  There was a knock at the door and on opening, we were greeted by a staff member with a bottle of champagne for our anniversary with a card from ‘Housekeeping’!  Furthermore, a beautiful flower arrangement was also given to us from ‘Customer Relations’!  As if that wasn’t enough, we were presented with another bottle of champers from the restaurant where we dining on our anniversary!  These lovely kind gestures made the occasion extra special as it was totally unexpected and very much appreciated thank you! 

Our overall cruise experience with ‘Iona’ was really enjoyable and exceeded our expectations, enhanced by the wonderful staff and generosity shown to us, making our Ruby Anniversary very special and made us feel very special too! creating some happy memorable moments! Thank you P&O!  

Iona is a beautiful ship!,  highly recommended, and we’re now looking forward to sailing with P&O’s new addition ‘Arvia’ next year! 

Happy Cruising!



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