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We’re quite agnostic as regards the size of ship we like. We’ve mostly cruised on biggish ships, to be fair – four on Ventura and three on Azura, for example, and enjoyed them. At least, we’ve enjoyed the facilities on board, and anything we didn’t like wasn’t to do with the ship. We’ve also cruised on Fred. Olsen’s Braemar (pre-stretch) and Black Watch, and on MSC’s Sinfonia (again, pre-stretch) to mention a few smaller ships.

That said, we do enjoy the facilities of the bigger ships. For example, we had a great evening in Britannia’s Limelight Club, and regular readers will know that we certainly enjoy the Glass House, regardless of which ship we’ve found it on. So when Iona was announced and details became available, I wasn’t put off by her size. I was, however, disappointed by her first summer’s itineraries – nothing but cruises to the Fjords. Well, we’ve done two of these and don’t really want to go back yet. Also, while I’ve said that we don’t mind bigger ships I can’t help feeling that a ship the size of Iona is too big for the ports she’ll be visiting. Britannia was big enough in Flam; Iona will be even bigger. So we turned away from Iona for summer 2020.

We’ve just read the winter itineraries, however, and they’re much more interesting. In particular, we like the look of the 7 night Channel cruises she’ll be doing. We were wondering about a Christmas cruise but none of the fleet are doing a short one, and of course cruises over Christmas and new year always attract a price premium, so we looked away from them. But the Iona cruise immediately before Christmas looked very interesting, with calls at Hamburg, Rotterdam (two days) and Zeebrugge, plus two days at sea – and all at very reasonable prices.So we’ve “expressed our interest” and paid our 5% deposit. Given that this is the English Channel in December, we’ve booked a Sea View cabin (no need for a balcony), amidships, and low down – on deck 4, in fact. We should be OK whatever the weather decides to do!

All we have to do now is wait the rather more than 21 months before we can go….

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