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Home Holidays > Cruise > P&O Cruises Latest Ship

Introducing the latest addition to the P&O Cruises family - IONA

2020 will put P&O Cruises in the history books once again. In two years P&O Cruises will introduce Britain's biggest cruise ship. The IONA will offer the next generation of guests the holiday of a lifetime on the next generation of P&O Cruises ships.

At 180,000 tons the IONA will offer more choice of accommodation, more places to dine in style, more spaces to relax, more entertainment and more freedom to make your holiday your own - wherever you are in the world.

2020 will put P&O Cruises in the history books once again. In two years P&O Cruises will introduce Britain's biggest cruise ship. The IONA will offer the next generation of guests the holiday of a lifetime on the next generation of P&O Cruises ships.

At 180,000 tons the IONA will offer more choice of accommodation, more places to dine in style, more spaces to relax, more entertainment and more freedom to make your holiday your own - wherever you are in the world.

What to expect

A world of even more choice on board

Choice, flexibility and the ability to create your own on-board experiences lie at the heart of the IONA, giving you the chance to rest and play your way. The IONA has been designed by the world’s leading design and guest experience teams to make sure you have a wealth of dining, entertainment, socialising and relaxation options to make your holiday extra special. And rest assured, P&O Cruises DNA will still shine through. You’ll be treated to the best British hospitality and standards of service that you know and love.


Choose from:

  • Over 15 places to eat to suit all appetites and occasions
  • 8 speciality restaurants
  • More than 10 places to enjoy a drink and take in sea views
  • 18 whirlpools
  • 4 swimming pools (three outside and one inside)
  • More than 6 places to have breakfast
  • Plenty of entertainment venues from the theatre to venues for adults only

Did you know?

The IONA is P&O Cruises most environmentally efficient yet

The IONA will be the most environmentally efficient ship in the history of P&O Cruises. Powered at sea and in port by liquefied natural gas, exhaust emissions will be significantly reduced to help protect the environment.

Did you know?

The IONA will have a capacity for 5,200 guests This makes it the largest cruise ship ever built for the British market.

P&O Cruises has partnered with some of the world's leading hospitality, interior design, maritime and architectural experts, as well as leading cruise ship designers and builders, to create unrivalled experiences and levels of luxury on board.

Design innovation is being taken to new levels by collaborations with award-winning architectural and interior design teams:

  • Meyer Werft (Papenburg): world-leading builder of luxury passenger ships. They have built ships for AIDA, RCI, Disney, HAL, NCL, Celebrity, Saga and Dream.
  • Jestico+Whiles (London): award-winning residential and commercial architects whose work includes Aquashard (London), the Yas Hotel (Abu Dhabi) and the W Hotel (London).
  • Richmond International (London): hotel architecture and interior experts. We’re once again joining forces with Richmond International (London), who worked with us on Britannia and whose luxury hotel portfolio includes The Langham Hotel (London and Chicago), The Four Seasons Moscow, and Sandy Lane Hotel (Barbados).
  • Partner Ship Design (Hamburg): experienced in maritime architecture and specialists in on board guest experience and flow. Projects include AIDA, Costa, P&O Cruises and Carnival.

The Grand Atrium is the beating heart of Iona; a lively signature space that encapsulates the spirit of the ship. Designed by UK architecture and interior design practice Jestico + Whiles, it’s a stunning focal point that makes the sea the star. And with daily entertainment and a different guest experience on each deck, it’s also the place to meet, drink, dine, be entertained and watch the world float by.

THE GRAND ATRIUM

Decks 6, 7 and 8

Iona’s Grand Atrium sits on decks 6, 7 and 8 and boasts three-deck-high glazed walls and a contemporary design that brings uninterrupted panoramic sea views and natural light into the space. 

‘The sea becomes the hero of the triple-height space; the sinuous curves of the architecture are shaped around it, framing and complementing the views outside,’ says Cecilia Vodret, project architect at Jestico + Whiles. 

A showstopping staircase will wow you as soon as you step into the Grand Atrium. ‘The stair, although designed as a fine piece of architecture, is also designed to complement and reflect the outdoor views. It harks back to the glory days of cruising: a sculptural centrepiece with its sweeping arrival at each deck,’ says Cecilia.

As one of four primary entertainment spaces on board, the Grand Atrium offers lots to see and do around the clock. By day, it’s a place to meet, dine, relax, be entertained or simply watch the scenery float past; by night, it’s an immersive destination venue, balancing intimate spaces with larger social areas. The space seamlessly transitions between day and night through lighting and sound. 

The Grand Atrium offers a different experience on each level. From morning coffee to a lunchtime bite to evening drinks, a world of choice can be found at the heart of the ship.

VISTAS CAFÉ BAR

Deck 6

Start the day right with a visit to Vistas Café Bar on deck 6, a warm and welcoming café with a buzzing atmosphere. Serving premium tea, coffee and snacks all day long, as well as a selection of tempting treats from P&O Cruises Food Hero and master pâtissier Eric Lanlard, it’s the perfect place to grab a light bite or enjoy a post-dinner coffee. From mid-morning there will be pop-up entertainment, and from early evening guests will be delighted by impromptu aerial circus performances. Grab a drink, browse the bookshop, sit back and enjoy the unending sea and coastal views.

EMERALD BAR

Deck 6

For evening glamour, the stylish Emerald Bar on deck 6 offers a relaxed living-room feel with a Covent Garden-style buzz. With a large menu of premium cocktails, it’s an ideal location for pre-dinner drinks or as a late-night bar. Guests can enjoy pop-up entertainment from mid-morning and aerial circus performances from early evening. Spectacular sea views add to the ambience.

THE GLASS HOUSE

Deck 7

The Glass House is dedicated to the love of fine wine and great food. This premium wine bar, located on deck 7, has an impressive wine list curated by award-winning wine expert and P&O Cruises Food Hero Olly Smith and offers a sophisticated environment in which to enjoy breakfast, a light lunch, a leisurely glass of wine or an evening meal with family or newfound friends. Wine connoisseurs are well taken care of: Cellar Door at The Glass House offers wine talks, tastings and wine-pairing dinners. 

The venue is light and airy with modern design features including floor-to-ceiling wine display cases and mixed furnishings to create a sense of intimacy in a sociable setting. Guests can also enjoy the Grand Atrium’s impromptu aerial circus performances, as well as views out to the horizon.

THE KEEL AND COW

Deck 8

A P&O Cruises first, The Keel and Cow is an unpretentious gastropub, where food and drink have been crafted into something truly special. Located on deck 8, it offers a quick and convenient breakfast for those going ashore, and lunchtimes bring top-quality, authentic gastropub fare to the fore, with dishes such as a signature beef and stout burger, beer-battered fish and triple-cooked chips, black-pudding scotch eggs and more. At night, guests can gather with friends to enjoy hearty dishes or select from a range of steaks from the dry-ageing fridge. With views over the Grand Atrium or out to sea, or even to the chefs at work in the open galley, The Keel and Cow is the perfect place to bring food, friends and family together in a relaxed, informal environment.

The gastropub is situated on the port and starboard sides of deck 8 with access to the Promenade Deck.

 

Day to night, there’s never a dull moment on Iona. From film to full-scale production shows, live music to impromptu aerial acrobatics, our new ship offers entertainment to suit any and every mood.

P&O Cruises Firsts

The 710 Club

Deck 6

It’s all about the music at The 710 Club. Located on deck 6, it’s a secret haven – exclusively for adults – in which to relax and enjoy the musical atmosphere, day or night. During the day, it’s a retreat from the hustle and bustle, offering something a little different. At night, it transforms into a sophisticated venue hosting a diverse range of top-class singers and bands tailored to British tastes: acoustic covers, ‘impromptu’ performances, classic and modern jazz, swing, Rat Pack, modern and acoustic rock music will feature. 

The 710 Club offers a fun and lively atmosphere, and is sure to captivate guests night after night.

SkyDome

Decks 16 and 17

A major new entertainment venue called SkyDome will be one of Iona’s star attractions. Set on decks 16 and 17 and featuring an impressive roof and a pool with a retractable stage, it offers a unique space whatever the weather and the time of day.

By day, SkyDome is the perfect place for relaxation and informal dining, with a swimming pool, Jacuzzi and poolside features, and shaded seating areas. By night, it comes alive with aerial performances, immersive shows and deck parties. Above it all is a glazed dome roof 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.

Ocean Studios

Deck 6

Here’s one for the film buffs: Ocean Studios on deck 6 offers a warm welcome, comfortable seating and a relaxing environment in which to be entertained and enjoy a premium cinema experience. Four cinema screens will show both classics and recent blockbusters in surround sound. With screenings throughout the day, there will be films to suit all tastes – and the opportunity to grab some popcorn and snacks before sitting back and relaxing in plush boutique surroundings.

P&O Cruises Signatures

The Club House

Deck 8

The Club House has a non-stop upbeat atmosphere. Located on deck 8, it’s a lively venue that offers a variety of exciting entertainment, day and night. Daytime sees the space function as a vibrant multi-purpose space that’s perfect for families to experience together, playing games and enjoying afternoon entertainment and game shows. When the sun goes down, The Club House becomes Iona’s late-night venue, offering entertainment and dancing in a modern ‘live lounge’ environment. Guests can also enjoy the sounds of Iona’s talented house band, Pulse, at night. An indoor/outdoor space, it boasts bar areas leading to the outdoor aft end of the Promenade Deck.

The Limelight Club

Deck 6

The Limelight Club on deck 6 is a feast for the senses, with fantastic food, great company and top-notch entertainment. The venue showcases established and emerging entertainers and is the dedicated space for resident performers, all accompanied by a gregarious compère and Iona’s house band. Exclusively for adults, it’s also a hotspot for dancing, with daytime classes and hosted dancing events.

Guests can enjoy a drink on arrival before tucking into a menu full of fun and innovative dishes. To heighten the sense of occasion, the menus have a ‘show business’ theme. After each night’s show, the club transforms into a late-night venue for post-show drinks and revelry.

No matter what’s on the playbill, a night at The Limelight Club is sociable, fun, lively and surprising.

Headliners Theatre

Decks 6 and 7

Headliners Theatre is perfect for a fun-filled night out on board. Classic yet contemporary, it offers a sleek and sophisticated theatre experience. Plush, comfortable seating and the latest LED technology deliver the ‘wow’ factor, while a two-deck-high auditorium on decks 6 and 7 ensures everyone has the best view in the house.

During the day, guests can enjoy matinee performances and activities such as talks, films and Q&As. When night falls, full-scale production shows hit the stage – think dazzling West End style performances, cabaret, comedy and more.

The Ivory Suite

Deck 17

Love is in the air in The Ivory Suite. As the primary venue for weddings and renewals of vows, it’s perfect for intimate and mid-sized ceremonies, all tailored to guests’ requests. The space offers a premium location on deck 17 next to the Crow’s Nest and The Epicurean, and its light, airy and elegant surroundings and ocean views provide a romantic backdrop for photographs.

When not in use as a wedding venue, The Ivory Suite will be used for other events, activities and private functions.

Travelling with the family is an exciting adventure, and we know how important it is to keep children happy around the clock when on holiday. As a family-friendly ship, Iona offers a safe, fun and welcoming environment for children of all ages, from toddlers to teens.

The Reef

Deck 17

The Reef is our free on-board activity programme for children; a place to keep them safe and entertained throughout the day and evening, and to give them the chance to forge friendships with other children their own age. Staffed by a crew of enthusiastic and qualified Reef rangers, it offers clubs with a wide range of age-specific entertainment.

On Iona, The Reef provides designated spaces for children aged six months to 12 years:

  • Nursery (6 months-2 years)
  • Splashers (2-4 years)
  • Surfers (5-8 years)
  • Scubas (9-12 years)

There’s also a secure outdoor play area and a designated splash park for these age groups.

A complimentary Night Nursery is available for ages six months to four years, open from 6pm to 2am each night. A quiet area is created to enable an infant to sleep, and parents are contacted via a pager if their child wakes up.

Scene

Deck 6

Scene is a secret on-board hang-out for teens aged 13 to 17. Located on deck 6, it’s separated from the rest of the children’s club, giving teens a chance to have their own space and allowing them to dip in and out of planned events.

Scene operates during high peak cruising season. In the low season, it becomes an entertainment space for adults.

Please note that in all children’s clubs, including the night nursery, allocation is on a first come, first served basis due to limited spaces available.


With Iona, P&O have put their guests at the heart of their new cabin designs. Working with hotel and hospitality design experts Richmond International, P&O are delighted to bring guests even greater levels of comfort and style. P&O are also offering even more choice and flexibility with the introduction of a brand-new style of accommodation, the Conservatory Mini Suite cabin.

Following in-depth research into the future of design for hotel, yacht and airline cabin accommodation, the interior spaces of their seven cabin types have been carefully configured to create a calm and sophisticated haven. The overarching design aesthetic takes its cues from seaside holidays, the sea and natural materials; a core colour palette of sands, light oak, beiges and whites is complemented by nautical navy blues and golds. These accent colours are used in stylish designs for carpets, textiles and soft furnishings while features such as porthole mirrors on light-blue walls add character and light to the interior spaces.

Conservatory Mini Suites

The Conservatory Mini Suite is an exciting new addition to the choice of accommodation and a signature option on Iona. The concept, which comes with mini suite benefits, brings the outdoors in with a personal and versatile conservatory-style room that forms an extension to the cabin. It offers great flexibility and creates a distinctive relaxation and socialising space.

This space, which includes stylish L-shaped seating, can be closed off or left open according to the time of day or mood. For example, in the morning guests can keep it closed to enjoy a quiet coffee overlooking the ocean while everyone else is still asleep. By day or in the evenings, the room opens out fully onto the balcony. With a direct connection to the sea, the space is cool and shaded – and perfect for chilling out in. In the evenings, it transforms into a spacious environment for private celebrations and socialising over pre-dinner drinks with friends and family. Leading directly onto the balcony, all configurations of this flexible space offer glorious seascape views.

Suites

Aft and Forward Suites are always special, giving guests the ultimate experience of relaxation in their own boutique-hotel haven. The suites on Iona take this to another level of comfort and style. The design direction is one of contemporary comfort and elegance – a luxurious space is created as the doors of interconnecting rooms open fully to create a larger, brighter studio ambience.

The furniture and material selection are focused on guest relaxation and comfort, and light tones add to the feeling of spaciousness. Furniture, including sofas, ottomans and lounge chairs, is upholstered in sands, beiges and off-whites. This core colour palette is complemented by soft furnishings and accessories such as cushions and luxurious twill throws in mustard hues with navy detailing. Lighting, fixtures and fittings, and bathroom finishes, and materials match this extraordinary quality of detail. In the spacious bathroom, the double sink units set in stunning black marble are a striking focal point, surrounded by elegant white marble walls and floor tiling.

As with all suites, guests benefit from the clever configuration of different interior zones with separate lounge and bedroom areas, segregated dressing areas and spacious en suite bathrooms. All suites have direct access to large balconies and benefit from a range of exclusive services, such as a personal Butler and a range of in-suite dining options.

Balcony cabins

The sea and coastline are the stars on Iona, and the Balcony accommodation gives guests the chance to enjoy them to the full, whether travelling solo or in a larger group.

There are four options to choose from – Deluxe (the most spacious), Balcony, Single and Standard Balcony – all of which offer an extended private space in which to relax and unwind. From enjoying a cup of tea in the morning to watching the sun set with a drink, guests can relax in their own private area. Balcony cabins also allow greater flexibility for outdoor dining using the Room Service menu.

For larger groups and families, the internal spaces have been skilfully designed to include attractive built-in drop-down bunk beds and flexible sleeping arrangements that maximise space and seating by day and provide comfortable bedding by night. 

Other cabin types

To complete the options of accommodation and offer great choice and value, Iona’s cabin selection of course includes Sea view (Outside) and Inside cabins. Here, too, the design and choices of colours and materials optimises the seaside feel. Porthole mirrors, blue feature walls and soft furnishings and accessories in gold and white textiles bring a sense of light and relaxation to the interior space.

The clever design of these cabin types maximises storage options and all cabins boast the personal touches that create a stylish and comfortable atmosphere – including tea and coffee-making facilities (with tasty biscuits provided daily), a well-stocked fridge, in-cabin TV with a host of channels to choose from, and a bathroom boasting soft cotton towels and quality toiletries courtesy of The White Company.

Richmond International is the expert design team behind Iona’s accommodation. Here, Director Terry McGillicuddy talks about the process of designing and building the cabins, the challenges and the rewards, and what guests can expect when they step inside…

1: You’ve worked with P&O Cruises before. In what way does Iona’s design brief differ?

The Richmond team were the interior architects for all the public areas and guest cabins on Britannia, and we were invited to work with P&O Cruises again to design some of the public areas, as well as the accommodation for Iona. Britannia’s interior design concept was based around the brief of a ‘5-star hotel at sea’, whereas Iona’s direction is ‘British contemporary luxury’. We’re focussing on a seaside feel and embracing the concept of the ‘sea as the star’.

2: How important is it to get the cabins right?

Guests spend a lot of their time in their cabins – sleeping, dressing and relaxing – so it’s particularly important to ensure the rooms have good storage solutions, great lighting and control, quality furniture and materials and an excellent level of personal comfort.

3: Can you tell us the basics of how you set about designing a cabin?

Cabins and suites on large cruise ships are normally complex spaces that require careful planning to maximise circulation and storage. In addition, the design needs to respect the structural coordination and accommodate all the mechanical, electrical and plumbing services of both the individual cabin units and the overall ship construction. We work to clearly defined briefs that outline the full service requirements and guest expectations.

The comfort and flow of the circulation in the cabins are extremely important factors to ensure guests feel relaxed and have a non-stressful experience. Internal planning is key to the success of a great accommodation design. The choice of furniture – light and fresh materials and colours, plus soft detailing of all the elements – is important to achieve a more spacious and relaxed ambience.

4: Where are Iona’s cabins being built? Can you tell us a bit about that process?

The cabins for Iona are being built in Germany in a factory close to the shipyard. They’re manufactured as complete individual enclosures with all floors, ceilings, partitions, windows, air conditioning, lighting, electrical and plumbing services, bathrooms, decoration and furniture fitted. The individual cabin construction and finishing process is carried out on a large, slow-moving conveyor belt system that passes through each technical construction and fit-out zone. The result is that completed cabins ‘roll off’ at the end. This is an amazing process to experience – it’s similar to a car manufacturing plant, but the major work is carried out by a skilled, hands-on workforce rather than robotic automation. These fully completed units are then transported to the shipyard and inserted one by one into the hull carcass. They are then finally connected up to the ship’s main services and structure.

5: What is the design mood for Iona’s cabins?

We’re experts in the field of hotel design trends and have also studied future trends in yachting and airline accommodation to define our direction. The mood is contemporary and stylish, yet with a sense of fun and being at ease – we want the space to create a relaxed holiday feeling. At heart, there’s a classic nautical mood with clean lines, a core colour palette in white, sands and natural hues complemented by accessories and soft furnishings in navy blues and gold. The interior aesthetic celebrates the sea and light with decorative touches such as the contemporary porthole mirror collection on a feature light-blue wall behind the beds.

6: The Conservatory Mini Suite cabins are new to P&O Cruises. Can you tell us more about them?

The new Conservatory Mini Suite cabins create an exciting addition to Iona’s accommodation options. We’ve created a personal, versatile outdoor/indoor room that can be an extension of the room – a space to either relax or entertain in. This space can be closed off in the morning for guests to enjoy a quiet early morning ‘coffee moment’ while everyone else is still asleep. The Conservatory Mini Suite area can then open fully and directly onto the balcony to provide the connection with the sea. It creates a cool, shaded area to chill out in by day. In the evenings, it can transform into a space for private celebrations or a social zone for pre-dinner drinks with friends and family.

7: What will make Iona’s suites distinctive?

Suites on P&O Cruises ships are always special. They provide guests with separate lounge and bedroom areas with segregated dressing areas and en suite bathrooms. They have additional space to enhance the luxury experience, and the special design features and finishes provide an extraordinary quality of detail.

Iona’s Suite design direction takes its cues from creating the feeling of a being in a luxurious haven – contemporary, comfortable and elegant rooms with interconnecting doors that can be fully opened to create a larger studio ambience. The light colour palette is soothing and sophisticated: sands, beiges, whites and neutrals are complemented by light and dark wood finishes and soft furnishings and accessories in rich mustards and gold. The impressive bathrooms offer double sinks set in unit of stunning dark marble – a striking contrast to the wider use of elegant white marble and tiling within the space.

All Suites also have direct access to large balconies, personal dressing zones and in-cabin dining facilities. Of course, Suites also come with a range of exclusive services to complete the luxurious holiday experience, including a personal butler.

8: When looking at fittings, fixtures and décor, what are the key considerations?

Functionality, aesthetics, comfort, quality, style, tactility and simplicity are all considerations that need to be addressed within the design and selection of items for the cabins and suites. These all need to reflect the overall design ethic of the brief and attain the comfort and demands for the guest experience. At the same time, we need to respect the strict maintenance and cleaning regimes to retain the high standard our guests expect. We work closely with the shipyard and their sub-contractors to select, specify and design every single element and ensure that the required quality is accomplished. Every detail is inspected and approved prior to final sign-off and installation.

The finishing touches, such as artwork, are also important. The selection of art to hang in the space should enhance the interior and create another dimension to the accommodation story.

9: What’s the most challenging aspect of the build?

The most challenging aspect of the cabin design is achieving the client’s vision and the guest expectations in both the design and budget. The final design must create surprise and excitement for the guest but also address their day-to-day functional requirements and comfort.

10: And what’s the most rewarding aspect of the cabin phase of design and build?

As hotel and hospitality designers, Richmond have created many bedroom and suite interiors. However, I’m always amazed that every design induces a different emotion on completion of a mock-up. The mock-up phase is extremely important to the project process. For each cabin a prototype is built with all the fixtures, fittings and decorative elements in place. It’s the first time the creativity, design development and services all come together in a final full-scale working model that reflects the concept and reinforces our vision. All the cabin design elements can be physically touched, tested, inspected and approved. The Iona cabin mock-ups achieved a positive response and won the approval of the client team in May this year with the wonderful ambience and sense of comfort that we’d created. Obviously, some small adjustments are then necessary before the final sign-off, but this mock-up phase is incredibly exciting. It’s the first celebration landmark for the project team and a key pointer to the successful vision that has been created.


Fancy discovering the wonders of the fjords? Find out why Iona is the ideal way to explore one of the world’s most spectacular regions
The Norwegian fjords are a wild wonderland of breathtaking scenery, cultural gems and action-packed adventure. This dramatic destination is on many travellers’ must-visit lists, and for good reason – once you’ve visited the fjords, you’ll never forget them.

Iona begins her inaugural season in this incredible region. With departures throughout the spring and summer of 2020, you’ll have even more opportunities to explore one of the world’s most iconic destinations. The itineraries have been carefully designed as an introduction to the region, offering something for everyone, all wrapped up in one unforgettable holiday. In each port, a collection of shore excursions will take you to the heart of Norway’s astonishing natural wonders and diverse cultural attractions.

Departing from Southampton, you’ll experience the best of all worlds. After a smooth embarkation with no luggage limits, there’s plenty of time to get to know Iona’s on-board attractions, then kick back and relax into holiday mode.

And what better ship to be on? Iona comes into her own as she travels through the fjords. Designed to maximise views and let the outside in, the glass walls of the Grand Atrium and an array of wow-factor indoor and outdoor spaces afford the best panoramas of Norway’s dramatic landscapes.

From taking in the scenic wonders on ship to discovering the awe-inspiring attractions on shore, Iona is the perfect choice for exploring the fjords like never before. Here, we give you a peek at some of the highlights you can expect to discover when Iona visits the Norwegian fjords.

Want a taste of Viking life? Scenic Stavanger is known as the ‘Cradle of the Vikings’ and offers the perfect introduction to Norway’s rich heritage. One of the region’s most dramatic natural wonders can be found here, too – Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock, is sure to take your breath away, from above or below.

Whether you’re an experienced photographer or an amateur Instagrammer, you’ll want to have your camera at the ready at all times in Olden. Dramatically positioned at the end of Nordfjord, the town is surrounded by natural beauty: the Briksdal and Kjenndal glaciers are a sight to behold, while the new Loen Skylift, which soars up from the Loen valley to the top of Mount Hoven, offers unforgettable views.  

The natural wonders keep coming. Geiranger, nestled at the head of Geirangerfjord, is surrounded by spectacular UNESCO-listed scenery, including some of Norway’s longest, deepest, narrowest and most dramatic fjords. Why not explore them by kayak, or see the sights from above from one of many stunning viewpoints?

If you’re looking for cosmopolitan culture and natural beauty in one spellbinding destination, beautiful Bergen fits the bill. The city’s historic centre, Bryggen, boasts cobbled streets and narrow alleyways that just beg to be wandered, while the city’s setting amongst seven mountains and seven fjords will leave you dazzled.

Can’t get enough of that fjordic scenery? On Iona, you’ll also enjoy the spectacular sights from on board as the ship sails by a number of magnificent fjords including Geirangerfjord, Sunnylvsfjorden, Storfjorden, Nordfjord and Innvikfjorden. Wonder at cascading waterfalls, dramatic cliffs, snow-capped peaks, fairy-tale forests and lush green pastures as you relax on ship.

If you're keen to explore a different view of the fjords, Iona offers two cruises that make a stop at Ålesund, at the entrance of Geirangerfjord. With its distinctive Art Nouveau architecture and unique positioning between land and sea, the charming town offers fjords, mountains, culture and outdoor activities galore.

Five unforgettable… Active adventures

After a bit of adventure? Whether kayaking through the fjords, hiking up a mountain or rafting down a river, you’ll find plenty of activities – and views – to get your adrenaline pumping and your heart racing.

1. Make a splash 

Fresh air in your lungs, sunshine on your skin, the feeling of your paddle gently gliding through crystal-clear waters… kayaking through Norway’s fjords is equal parts peaceful and exhilarating.

In Olden, paddle out onto the glassy green waters of the dramatic Nordfjord, once dominated by the Vikings. Take time to appreciate the stunning scenery, from snow-capped mountains and soaring waterfalls to dense forests and the glittering blue and white of the glaciers. Absorb the absolute peace and quiet of the green valley, an experience that will stay with you forever.

Geirangerfjord is one of nature’s masterpieces. The fjord basin curves between towering mountain peaks, making the fjord virtually free from wind (and making for a particularly pleasant kayaking experience). Paddle through the serene waters surrounded by steep mountain walls as you float past the amazing waterfalls the fjord is famous for like The Seven Sisters and The Suitor.

2. Hike up high 

Walking in Norway’s spectacular landscapes is an almost spiritual experience. Luckily, you’re never far from breathtaking trails that will take you up, up and away.

Bergen is blessed with beautiful Mount Fløyen. Soar to the summit by funicular and spend the day wandering its pretty trails to Skomakerdiket Lake. At Rundemanen, the highest point at 568m, take in the breathtaking 360-degree panorama.

From Olden, the dramatic Loen Skylift speeds you up to the summit of Mount Hoven, where walking trails capture the beauty of Mount Skåla and Lovatnet Lake in the east, Jostedal Glacier and Olden in the south, and the Nordfjord in the west.

If you like a dramatic end point to your walk, head up to high summer pastures from Geiranger (taking in stunning Geirangerfjord views) then zigzag your way across the mountain path to the spectacular Storsæter Waterfall – a suitable reward for your athletic efforts.

3. Stride out on a Nordic walk

This is no stroll in the park – Nordic walking is a fun, high-energy activity that’ll get your blood pumping as you see the sights. It’s popular the world over, but where better to learn or hone your technique than in the beautiful Norwegian countryside? Nordic walking is easy to learn, highly sociable and has benefits for all; plus, it burns around 50 per cent more calories than a regular walk, helps with mobility and is an all-over toning workout.

Wherever you go in Norway you’ll see locals striding out with their poles. Seize the opportunity to join them on one of Stavanger’s most popular trails. Head out to Godalen, where a glorious route takes you around the Storhaug peninsula. The 3km coastal walk takes in a series of small harbours, pretty beaches, open countryside, rocky outcrops and magnificent vistas of Gandsfjord and the mountains beyond.

4. Take the highs with the lows

As the old saying goes, what goes up must come down. The adage rings particularly true in the Norwegian fjords, where luckily, both ascent and descent are a whole lot of fun.

If you’re in the mood for a two-wheeled adventure with extraordinary vistas, get on your bike in Geiranger, at the head of the jewel in the crown of Norwegian fjords, Geirangerfjord. A favourite descent with thrilling views is the 17km route down from Djupvasshytta mountain lodge, on the shores of Lake Djupvatnet at 1,030m above sea level. The transfer up takes in an array of natural wonders – Geirangerfjord’s steep cliffs and waterfalls, the scenic Flydal valley, 1,500m-high Mount Dalsnibba and several glacial peaks. You’ll get plenty of opportunity to enjoy them all again as you bike down back to Geiranger.

Fancy adding some serious adrenaline as you take in the views? For an unforgettable look at Bergen, see it by zipline. The experience will take your breath away in more ways than one: Norway’s fastest zipline soars 300m from Mt Ulriken (at a height of 643m) to Mt Fløyen, while providing amazing panoramic views across the fjord landscape and out towards the North Sea.

5. Get your heart racing on a river-rafting ride

Norway is famous for its fjords and lakes, but its beautiful rivers deserve equal attention. To explore them from a unique (and thrilling) perspective, why not embark on a fun, fast-paced rafting adventure?

From Hellesylt, you’ll travel to Valldal, a valley north of the Norddalsfjorden. Exploring this unspoilt slice of paradise near the UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord is a treat for the senses.

Board your raft and get wet and wild as you paddle down 8km of fast-flowing river, navigating rapids and waves (and the odd calm patch). Catch your breath before the surrounding scenery takes it away again – you’ll pass soaring mountains and verdant landscapes as you travel along the river.  

Your efforts will be rewarded with a lunch enjoyed around a bonfire on the banks of the tranquil Norddalsfjord – the perfect end to a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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