The announcement comes amid the rapid rollout of vaccines; full vaccination will be required by those wishing to embark on one of the ‘Ultimate Escape’ cruises.
‘Given recent announcements, we have every hope that our guests will be able to enjoy a holiday this summer,’ said P&O Cruises President Paul Ludlow. ‘Whilst there is still uncertainty about holidays abroad this summer, we are delighted to be able to offer our guests the ultimate escape here in the UK.’
He continued, ‘As the start of Iona’s very special maiden season, the new Ultimate Escape series of holidays includes a memorable seven night maiden voyage sailing around the Scottish islands. Iona will anchor off Iona, the island after which she was named, with a celebratory extended stay until sunset for magical views of the historic shores.’
He concluded, ‘We really will look at the weather forecast each cruise and aim to take our ships where it is warm and sunny.’
Britannia is set to offer three night and four-night itineraries sailing the south coast of England as part of a Southampton roundtrip, plus one six-night journey, running from June 27 through to September 19.
Iona will sail two seven-night cruises, including a maiden voyage, along the Scottish Isles. Departing August 7 from Southampton, with journeys running through to September 18, the ship will traverse the Inner Hebrides and island of Iona.
The ship will also sail the Channel Islands and French coast as part of a separate itinerary and roundtrip from Southampton.
Full board meals and on board entertainment is included in the ticket price, with bookings opening March 22.
Passengers will need to have been fully vaccinated seven days ahead of sailing, with evidence required prior to boarding, and travel insurance is mandatory.
Enhanced sanitation measures, appropriate social distancing and the wearing of masks in certain areas of the ship will be required; according to P&O, crew will undergo a rigorous testing and quarantine regime, as well as regular testing during their time on board.
Entertainment and dining
Films, full-scale shows, live music and aerial acrobatics will feature on board each vessel, with SkyDome an added feature on board Iona.
Gourmet dining and poolside bites, cocktails and coffees, shopping and spas will be available.