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For more than 20 years, P&O Cruises has been part of Carnival Corporation. With a combined fleet of 100+ ships visiting more than 700 ports around the world, P&O is a holiday company that delivers holidays of a lifetime. It does so by combining spectacular adventures on shore and cruise ship experience.
Two of its best cruise ships are the Iona and Britannia. The P&O Iona and Brittania cruise ships sail the high seas in style and with the sophistication of five-star hotels. As some of the largest cruise ships built for the British market, they allow guests to discover sunshine and surprises in the Caribbean. Besides the Caribbean, the cruise ships sail to Portugal, Spain, Norway and other destinations.
If you’re considering booking a cruise with P&O Cruises, it’s best to research and learn the features available on each cruise ship. In this post, we look at the differences between P&O ships: Iona and Britannia.
Iona Is Bigger Than Britannia
The P&O Iona has a length of 344 m compared to the Britannia with a length of 330 meters. As a result, the Iona has a guest capacity of 5,200 compared to the 3,647 guest capacity that the Britannia can hold. This is because the Iona has 15 guest decks, two more than the Britannia has.
Besides guest capacity, the Iona also stands out when it comes to crew capacity because it’s the bigger ship. It has a crew capacity of 1,800 while the P&O Britannia has a crew capacity of 1,350.
Lastly, we have the weight of the cruise ships. The Iona, which is longer and has more guest decks, weighs 184,700 tons. This is more than Britannia which weighs 143,000 tons. The tonnage or Gross Registered Tonnage of the cruise ships is usually calculated by the total volume from inside the ship’s hull and decks.
Basically, 1 GRT = 100 cubic feet of space. So, the bigger the GRT of the ship, the more space it has for cargo, passengers, etc.
Iona Offers Better Luxury Accommodation Than Britannia
When it comes to accommodation, there are plenty of choices that include cabins and suites. Basically, guests have the choice of the inside, balcony, sea view and suites. Inside is a pocket-friendly choice for guests in need of a comfy place to lay their heads. The balcony provides an outdoor space where you can savour your continental breakfast while enjoying the breeze.
If you’re in search of a cabin with a view and plenty of natural light, then the Seaview Cabin is for you. Each cabin has a similar layout and features available in the Inside cabin but with the addition of a porthole and window for natural light. This cabin option is not available in the Britannia.
Lastly, we have the suites. Designed to provide VIP treatment to guests with butler service, the cabins are spacious – 434 to 530 square feet of space. They also come with a superior bathroom with a full-size whirlpool bath, room service and more.
Iona Has More Cabins Than Britannia
P&O Iona Cabins are catered for everyone. It’s home to 2,614 cabins. This includes 811 inside accommodations, 174 sea-view cabins, 1,366 balcony cabins and 120 deluxe balcony cabins.
She also has 2 family cabins, 22 single cabins, 24 suites and 95 conservatory mini-suites. The conservatory mini-suites are a brand new innovation available in the Iona and Arvia. What’s unique about these cabins is that they have an additional lounging area with floor-to-ceiling glass plus an external door.
This door is between the balcony and the main cabin area. Thanks to its unique design, guests can relax inside or out in complete comfort while enjoying the incredible views of the sea.
Like the Iona, Britannia also has accommodation that suits everyone. It’s home to 1,837 cabins including 64 suites, 92 superior deluxe balcony, 1,206 balcony and 27 single cabins.
Iona Has More Restaurants, Cafes and Bars Than the Britannia
The Iona has 14 restaurants on board. That includes the Sindhu, The Quays and the Olive Grove. The four different Freedom restaurants offer various dishes from around the world. At the Horizon buffet, you can enjoy an informal meal any time of day.
Taste 360 is another onboard restaurant on the Iona and Britannia. It serves delicious street food-style bites inspired by dishes from the many destinations you’ll visit. If you want to treat yourself to some speciality dining experience, we recommend the Keel and Cow.
They serve aged steaks and gourmet burgers. Besides the restaurants, the cruise ship is home to 19 bars and cafes. At the Limelight Club, you and your family can catch dinner with a show or enjoy your dinner served on small plates and paired with wines at the Glass House.
Britannia has 9 different restaurants including Freedom and Club dining options. As such, you and your family can treat yourself to a speciality dining experience. In fact, you can do so at restaurants such as the Glass House, Sindhu or the Limelight Club. If you’re in for informal meals, try the poolside grill or pizzeria.
Iona Has More Hot Tubs Than the Britannia
The Iona has 4 pools, 6 Infinity whirlpool spas, an Infinity pool, 12 whirlpool spas, a steam room and a sauna. The 18 whirlpool spas are more than enough for the 3,000+ guests onboard the Iona.
When it comes to Britannia, it has only 4 pools, 4 whirlpools and a steam room. The hot tubs available for public use are not enough for everyone on board. Yes, there are two hot tubs in The Retreat but you have to pay extra to enter.
If you’re cruising with your kids, then you need to know that the Iona does not permit the use of swimming nappies in the pools. However, she has a small baby pool at the kids’ Splash Zone where kids can use swimming nappies.
In Britannia, parents travelling with kids can use swimming nappies in the splash zone located next to The Reef Adventure Zone. Another pool that allows the use of swimming nappies on the Britannia is the Lido pool.
Iona Is More Environmentally Friendly Than the Britannia
The Iona is an excellence-class cruise ship built in Papenburg by Meyer Werft, a German shipbuilder. Built at a cost of $730 million, the Iona became the largest cruise ship upon delivery until Arvia, its sister ship, was delivered in 2022.
Powered by LNG, the Iona is the first LNG-powered ship which makes it environmentally friendly. This is because Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) is a much cleaner fuel compared to diesel that powers cruise ships like the Britannia.
Thanks to the use of cleaner fuel, the Iona only produces 30% less carbon dioxide. This is unlike the Britannia and other diesel fuel-powered cruise ships. Besides cutting CO2 emissions, LNG also eliminates sulphur dioxide pollution and cuts nitrogen oxide emissions.
Iona Has a Promenade
The promenade is a deck usually located midway through a cruise ship. Open to the air, the promenade provides a walkway around the ship. On most cruise ships, it’s common to find lifeboats and other mechanical equipment. The promenade deck can also be home to games such as shuffleboard or walking tracks.
For modern cruise ships that move the deck to the interior, it acts as a walkway with an array of food venues and shops. Some even have staterooms and cabins overlooking the promenade.
The Iona has a wraparound promenade on Deck 8. It offers plenty of space for walks and features 6 Infinity whirlpools, an alfresco dining area, two large whirlpools and the Sunset Bar. The Britannia has no promenade, but it does have a walking track on Deck 18.
Iona Has a Grandeur Atrium Than the Britannia
Iona has a Grand Atrium that sits on decks 6, 7 and 8. The atrium boasts three deck-high glazed walls. It also has a contemporary design that provides panoramic sea views plus natural light into the space.
Set at the heart of Iona, this lively focal point encapsulates the spirit of the cruise ship. The atrium balances the intimate areas with larger social places. This allows guests to enjoy the changing views thanks to the three-storey high glass walls.
The Grand Atrium has a staircase that takes guests through the open area. Home to The Glass House on Deck 7, you and your family can enjoy good wines and food with views of the sea.
The Britannia also has an atrium which provides space for guests to meet and mingle. It also provides space for guests to plan their next move under the stunning starburst chandelier. While the atrium is dazzling, it’s not grand like the Iona’s atrium.
Both P&O Iona and Britannia offer exceptional family cruises from Southampton. They each have their strengths, but when considering newer facilities and cutting-edge amenities, Iona edges out as the better choice.
This modern vessel is likely your best bet, offering an updated take on family-friendly cruising. So, if your family appreciates innovative features, style, and state-of-the-art amenities, the Iona would be an excellent choice.
Regardless of the choice between Britannia or Iona, rest assured that P&O’s dedication to providing memorable cruising experiences remains steadfast. Whichever ship you select, an unforgettable family adventure awaits. Pack your bags – the sea is calling!