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(Update: well, I made a mess of the first version of this…. I was comparing the news about Iona with the wrong AIDA ship! Now revised.)

P&O continue to drip-feed bits of information about their new ship, Iona, which will join the fleet sometime in 2020. They released some information about the Grand Atrium a few weeks ago, and now it’s the turn of the cabins.

As you’d expect there are the usual mix of cabin types – Inside, Ocean-View, Balcony, and Suite. But there’s an additional cabin class – “Conservatory Mini-Suites”. This is how they’re described in the information on the P&O site:-

“The concept 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 zone. This space, which includes stylish L-shaped seating, can be closed off or left open according to the time of day or mood.

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.”

All of which sounds very interesting. But what does it mean? The first paragraph includes some factual information: “a … conservatory-style room that forms an extension to the cabin”. Not very clear. But here’s something I knocked up while wondering what they might mean:

Actually, I didn’t ‘knock this up’ at all. It’s a steal from the Aida Cruises web site, and it’s an image of the ‘Veranda Cabin mit Lounge’ from the Accommodation page for AIDAprima.

What’s the relevance of this? – after all, AIDAPrima has been in service since 2016, and certainly isn’t a sister to Iona. Aida’s forthcoming ship AIDANova will be, of course. I’ve had a good look at the accommodation types descriptions for AIDAnova and I can’t see anything like these cabins listed – but see further below.

Back to the cabins on AIDAprima. These do seem to fit the description that P&O give above for this new type of mini-suite: you can see the cabin itself on the top-left of the image; then there’s the Lounge area, with some sort of simple furniture; and then there’s the actual balcony. The image seems to show sliding doors between each area, which would be sensible. Finally, given that the description above says that “…the space is cool and shaded…“, I’m guessing that the Lounge is covered, i.e. not open to the sun. So is it possible that the same sort of cabin as is already on AIDAprima could find its way onto Iona? Well, at the moment I don’t know, of course, and what’s also odd is that as far as I can see there’s no reference to cabins of this type on the AIDAnova accommodation page.

But there is something else interesting. Have a look at this extract from the AIDAnova deck plans, just below:

That’s on Deck 8, the top deck of the Atrium. If you look at the plan for that block of cabins, 8044 to 8052 (port side) and 8051 to 8059 (starboard side) you can see what looks like a two-part balcony. Now, this could be a mistake in the graphic, or some other type of error, but it could also be representation of the type of cabin that P&O are talking about for Iona. As far as I can see, cabins with this type of balcony are only shown in this location.

Hopefully, we’ll discover more when P&O publish deck plans for Iona.

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