Editor's Note: On March 20, it has been reported that German cruise ship builder Meyer Werft has suspended work on P&O Cruises' Iona; the ship has been docked in Bremerhaven for the time being.
(11:30 a.m. GMT) -- P&O Cruises' new ship, Iona, is set to leave the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, today (March 18) to begin sea trials in the North Sea.
The 5,200-passenger, LNG-powered ship -- the largest ever built for the UK market -- will transit the River Ems to Eemshaven, the Netherlands, where it is expected to arrive on March 19.
With the assistance of two tugs, Iona is set to proceed up the river Ems in reverse, according to the shipyard.
Iona is the first new ship from P&O Cruises in five years -- since Britannia launched in 2015 -- and is slated to debut in May 2020.
However, due to the current situation around the coronavirus pandemic, the line revealed yesterday that it is reconsidering the maiden season of Iona, which is due to spend the summer sailing to the Norwegian fjords.
P&O Cruises’ President, Paul Ludlow, said: "Given the immediate situation we are also looking at Iona’s itineraries in light of current restrictions in Norway and will provide an update to guests when we have more clarity."
This follows news earlier this week that P&O Cruises joined a growing number of lines to suspend fleet operations as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic. All voyages through April 11, 2020, have been cancelled and the line’s fleet is returning to Southampton.