Iona Gin Distillery: The First at Sea!

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P&O Cruises’ new ship Iona is set to feature the world’s first gin distillery at sea. With so many British cruisers enjoying a gin and tonic of an evening, P&O Cruises have decided that the best way to keep up with the thirst for gin, is to distil it right on-board the ship!

As well as the unique gin distillery, this new 5,200-passenger ship which is set to launch in August 2021 will also have a dedicated gin bar serving over 300 varieties of gin and gin masterclasses where passengers can learn about how the gin is made at sea.

Iona’s limited-edition gins

Photo credit: P&O Cruises

New cruise ship Iona will have its own sea-inspired signature gin, made to a recipe that’s tailored to the ‘bold and daring’ spirit of Iona. Named ‘Marabelle Gin’, this unique recipe will be made from 18 botanicals include heather, citrus, green apple, blackberry, rose petals, mint and sea kelp.

Iona will feature a revolutionary, custom-made 450-litre copper still. This one-of-a-kind distillery will allow Iona’s signature gin is to be distilled, bottled and labelled on-board the ship, before being enjoyed by passengers.

Many of the gin varieties created on-board Iona will be limited edition drinks with recipes inspired by ingredients local to the various destinations that Iona will cruise to.

Iona’s signature gin, ‘Marabelle Gin’ will also be made in a distillery in Salcombe, Devon, so that it can also be enjoyed by guests on every ship across the P&O Cruises fleet –  Britannia, Ventura, Azura, Arcadia and Aurora.’

P&O Cruises president, Paul Ludlow, said: “The world’s first gin distillery at sea will be one of the stand-out star attractions on our new ship. Marabelle means star of the sea so this is a perfectly apt name for our unique-recipe gin created on board Iona, a ship set to make sea the star.”

Gin masterclasses on Iona

Iona gin masterclass
Photo credit: P&O Cruises

Passengers cruising on-board Iona will be able to attend one of two gin masterclasses during their cruise. In each gin masterclass, guests will learn about the history of the popular spirit and how it’s made.

  • In the first masterclass, a gin expert will reveal the secrets to distilling a smooth and well-balanced gin and guests can then enjoy a gin tasting session
  • In the second class, guests can blend their own gin to create their own unique recipes before tasting their masterpieces

Passengers on-board Iona can also purchase souvenir bottles of Iona’s exclusive gin to take home and share (or not share!) with friends.

P&O Cruises’ partnership with Salcombe Gin

Iona gin distillery
Photo credit: P&O Cruises

To bring P&O Cruises’ Iona gin still dreams to life, the British cruise line has partnered with Devon-based distillery, Salcombe Gin.

“Salcombe Gin is the perfect partner for us as it shares our zest for adventure and discovery,” said P&O Cruises president, Paul Ludlow. “It has an unrivalled passion and attention to detail, not only in the award-winning gins created, but also in the unique gin experiences offered.

“We are incredibly excited by the bespoke gin being created for us, the maiden production run of which will be distilled in the first ever distillery at sea.”

Iona gin still
Photo credit: P&O Cruises

Angus Lugsdin, the co-founder of Salcombe Distilling Co, commented: “This exciting partnership unites two British brands with a love of ocean adventures in a beautifully crafted gin. Iona and the sea have been the inspiration for every element of Marabelle Gin from the name and the design of the bottle label, with the star formations in the night sky overhead, to the flora native to the island of Iona, juniper and heather, used in the recipe.

“The bottle label is the shape of a gin pennant flag, a symbol of hospitality flown by sailors for years. When hoisted it invites people to come aboard for a G&T, so it’s the perfect icon to symbolise our gin brand and partnership.”

You can learn more about P&O Cruises’ partnership with Salcombe Gin in this short video…

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2 thoughts on “Iona Gin Distillery: The First at Sea!”

  1. I can’t get on this ship soon enough! This is going to be an epic addition to an iconic ship. Mine’s a perfect serve please. You can rest assured my duty free will comprise of two bottles of this 😂

    • Yesss, Steph! That first sip of gin on Iona is going to taste soooo sweet! Jenni

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