A bronze coin from the historic Iona Abbey and a slice of green Iona marble from the Scottish island were placed under the block housing the ship’s bow thrusters before the block was then lowered onto these items.
Iona will be launched in May 2020 and will spend its maiden summer season in the Norwegian Fjords sailing seven night holidays from Southampton followed by a winter in the Canaries, Spain and Portugal.
As part of the ceremony, the ship’s central steel block, the mega block, was floated out on to the water.
Iona, which will be powered by LNG (liquefied natural gas), will be the largest cruise ship ever built for the UK market.
The ceremony was attended by P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow, who said: “It is very special to think that a small part of the island of Iona will live within our own Iona.
"We hope that the qualities of beauty, heritage, pride, camaraderie, mutual support and loyalty from the island which attracted us to the name will be inherent in our ship, its crew and guests.
“The build of any ship is an incredible achievement but to see one of this size and scope is an extraordinary feat of skilled design and engineering."
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