Spoilt for Choice – the 30 bars and restaurants on P&O Iona
Iona, the latest ship to join the P&O fleet, is also their largest. With a total of 30 bars & restaurants over the 18 decks, Iona offers a world of culinary choice for her primarily British customer base. In addition to being the first British ship fully powered by LNG, Iona features a few design innovations, including the Sky Dome – a 105-ton, 340-pane glass dome acting as the centerpiece of the ship.
But at Cruise Ship Hospitality Expo, we’re mostly interested in how Iona will bring the best in hospitality to its customers. We know that Iona will feature the first gin distillery at sea – but what are the offerings if you want something a little lighter to drink, or a bite to eat? Take a look at Iona’s 30 bars and eateries below…
The Horizon Buffet is open any time of day, providing a wide range of choices for the cruiser. With views of the ocean, there are worse places to fill up on buffet food.
The Quays is a multi-venue piazza. Featuring cuisine from Fusions Asian Kitchen to Hook Line & Vinegar fish & chips, The Quays has a street-food atmosphere with an array of dining options to suit every mood, with both indoor and outdoor dining.
The Beach House was inspired by South American and Caribbean cuisines, offering steaks, ribs, grills, and burgers alongside hanging kebabs and sharing dishes. The Hickory Glazed Cedar Plank Salmon sounds particularly good, served with sour cream and spring onion potato salad, buttered green asparagus and cherry tomato compote.
The Keel and Cow is the closest you would get to a British Gastropub on a cruise ship, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner classics such as scotch eggs or beef and stout burgers. The venue also features views over the Grand Atrium, or out to sea.
Taste 360 is one of Iona’s signature venues, and is a street food style dining experience out on deck. P&O Food Hero Jose Pizarro creates Spanish dishes for Iona’s voyages to Spain, while Marte Marie crafts traditional Norwegian food for the sailings to Norway.
The Glass House is headed up by P&O Cruises Food Hero Olly Smith, and is a flexible dining venue featuring light bites, lunchtime tipples, afternoon aperitifs, and an informal dinner menu. The menu also features wine pairings for each dish, adding an elegant touch to the informal dining experience.
Featuring the best of contemporary Indian cuisine, Sindhu provides dishes such as ginger and mint tiger prawns alongside the signature dish, a trio of fragrant curries.
The adults-only Limelight Club features musical entertainment from household names and up-and-coming vocalists. During intervals, a themed multi-course menu is served, with options such as sesame crusted Asian sea bass, or poulet de bresse with a lentil, cep, and red wine cassoulet for the main course.
The emphasis at The Epicurean is on ‘grand style and flawless service’. Serving up a fusion of classic dining elements with the best of modern British dining, The Epicurean provides dishes that are prepared table-side for an added personal element to a formal dinner.
On celebration nights, The Chef’s Table provides a unique menu created by Marco Pierre White and Eric Lanlard, with wines selected by Olly Smith – a celebrity combination for a special night out on board.
The Olive Grove serves up southern and eastern Mediterranean cuisine with sharing platters and authentic dishes, with the choice to sit in the restaurant or in the conservatory area. P&O says the Olive Grove is the ideal venue for intimate dinners or a celebratory meal.
The Ocean Grill by Marco Pierre White provides steaks and seafood with the ambience of a London grill restaurant. While creating Ocean Grill, Marco’s philosophy was to create something special and memorable, using the finest ingredients.
Ripples serves up as many flavours of ice cream and gelato as you can shake a cone at, alongside afternoon tea, cookies, and sundaes.
Master pâtissier Eric Landlard provides an Afternoon Tea complete with pistachio petit choux with red berries, marble swirls red velvet cake, and orange blossom and bee pollen scones – a decadent twist on the humble afternoon tea.
Vistas Café Bar combines Costa coffees, teapigs teas, and sweet treats from Eric Lanlard with pop-up performances and displays from aerial artists.
Something a bit stronger
Iona will feature the first gin distillery at sea. With a still created by The Craft Distilling Business named Columba, the distillery will distill, bottle, and label the custom-made Marabelle Gin on board. Created by Salcombe Distilling Co., the Marabelle Gin is a new recipe made exclusively for P&O, which cruisers can drink on board, or take home in bottle form. The still can be found in Anderson’s Bar, where cruisers have the chance to make their own gin concoctions.
There is a total of seven Deck Bars on Iona, all of which serve a selection of beers, wines, cocktails, soft drinks, and luxury gelato delivered straight to the table.
At the aft end of the promenade deck, you can find the Sunset Bar, an outdoor drinking area for day or night. This is coupled with The Club House next doors.
Situated in the Grand Atrium, the Emerald Bar is the place to go for an experimental cocktail, complete with high-flying aerial artists.
The Crow’s Nest is a night owl’s haunt – with a live pianist and late-lounge vibe, the venue serves up timeless cocktails to match the ocean views. By day the bar is quiet, lending an area to those looking for a restful drink.
If it’s Gary Barlow you’re looking for, The 710 Club is where you’ll find him. Crafted by Gary’s creative vision, the club is atmospheric and low-lit, serving up live music and cocktails late into the night.
Brodie’s is a classic British pub, serving a range of beers, ciders, and real ales along with traditional pub snacks.
Iona also features a few family-friendly lounges and bars, including the Sky Bar, Lagune Bar, Crystal Bar, Beachcomber Bar, Panorama Bar, and Infinity Bar.
It’s safe to say there’s something for everyone F&B-wise on board Iona! Due to set sail on 24th April 2021 on her inaugural cruise to the Norwegian Fjords, Iona is bound to whet the appetite of many a traveller.