P&O Cruises reveals Iona's SkyDome, glass-ringed atrium, flexible dining

Deck 6 of The Grand Atrium houses Vistas Cafe Bar with treats from P&O Cruises Food Hero and master pâtissier Eric Lanlard Deck 6 of The Grand Atrium houses Vistas Cafe Bar with treats from P&O Cruises Food Hero and master pâtissier Eric Lanlard

Iona's centrepiece will be a stunning Grand Atrium with panoramic sea views, framed by glazed walls stretching three decks high, while a glass SkyDome atop the ship will provide a new home for entertainment, a 'hidden' nightclub and boutique cinema. And a foodie market, gastropub and laid-back cocktail lounge will be among the many new dining and drinking options.

Show-stopping staircase, natural light

The Grand Atrium, a key entertainment space, is a new development for P&O Cruises, created by architecture and interior design practice Jestico + Whiles, the creators of W Hotel (London), Aqua Shard (a restaurant in the Shard) and The Yas Hotel (Abu Dhabi). A show-stopping staircase is a prominent feature.  

'The sea becomes the hero of the triple-height space,' project architect Cecilia Vodret said. 'The sinuous curves are shaped around it, framing and complementing the views to outside. The staircase is a sculptural centrepiece with its sweeping arrival on each deck.'

Each level of the Grand Atrium offers a different destination but with the same views and natural light. From morning coffee to evening drinks, the area will be buzzing with light and life. And as day moves into night, there will be a seamless transition as lighting creates a warm and intimate atmosphere.

The Grand Atrium will be home to The Glass House (Deck 7), with a wine list and menu curated by award-winning wine expert Olly Smith. Here, wines from around the world are served by the glass. A new experience, Cellar Door at the Glass House, will offer wine talks, tastings and wine-pairing dinners. P&O Cruises introduces its first gastro pub on Deck 8, with views over the Grand Atrium and the ocean. The Keel and Cow will deliver all-day dining, with traditional favourites, aged steaks and sharing platters.

Deck 6 of The Grand Atrium houses Vistas Cafe Bar with treats from P&O Cruises Food Hero and master pâtissier Eric Lanlard. The nearby Emerald Bar will offer a stylish living-room feel, with premium cocktails and the buzz of a Covent Garden venue.

SkyDome houses Iona's 'secret spot'

New for P&O Cruises, SkyDome is a contemporary entertainment venue located on decks 16 and 17. It promises to be one of Iona's star attractions, featuring an impressive roof and a pool with retractable stage.

No matter the weather, by day SkyDome is the place for relaxation and informal dining, while by night it comes alive with spectacular aerial performances, immersive shows and deck parties.

The glazed dome roof is designed by award-winning British engineers Eckersley O'Callaghan, the team behind glass masterpieces such as London's Embassy Gardens Sky Pool and Bulgari's flagship New York boutique.

Music and cocktail lovers will feel immediately at home in the 710 Club, which is being billed as Iona's ‘secret spot.' With the décor and atmosphere of a Covent Garden nightspot, the 710 Club has a stylish cocktail bar and is designed for live and acoustic music, from classic and modern jazz to swing and Rat Pack covers. Special guest stars will pop in, too.

Ocean Studios is another first for P&O Cruises. This boutique cinema provides comfortable seating in a premium style setting. Four cinema screens will run throughout the day and show a mixture of classics and recent blockbusters with the latest surround-sound technology.

New food concepts

The Keel and Cow will be a new concept for P&O Cruises, serving steaks chosen from a glass-fronted, dry-aging fridge and British gastropub dishes. The clean lines of the design will offer incredible views through the three-storey-high glass walls of the Grand Atrium and will also be open for quick and convenient breakfasts.

The debut of a new foodie market is another development for P&O Cruises. The Quays piazza will be home to a wide range of self-service and takeaway venues, with a lively atmosphere for sociable dining. The Quays is set to be a buzzing destination that will offer cuisines from around the world, from Asian street food to American diner classics.

With a choice of 30 venues, many open from early morning until late at night, this will offer passengers the widest selection of places to eat and drink on a ship built exclusively for the British market.

These new venues join P&O Cruises favourites such as The Glass House, with small plates, charcuterie and cheese as well as around 40 wines by the glass chosen by Olly Smith. British-Mediterranean specialities will be served in Epicurean, contemporary fine dining Indian cuisine in Sindhu and the best of British cooking in Brodie's.

Freedom Dining in all venues

As part of a new approach to more flexible dining, Iona will exclusively offer Freedom Dining in all its main restaurants, a first for P&O Cruises.

Iona is under construction at Meyer Werft and scheduled to enter service in May 2020. Holidays will go on sale in September.

Posted 09 July 2018

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Anne Kalosh

US editor of Seatrade Cruise Review and Seatrade Cruise News

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