P&O Cruises to launch onboard gin distillery

In a world first, P&O Cruises are opening their own gin distillery at sea.

Monday, 14th October 2019, 10:57 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 12:07 pm
P&O Cruises president, Paul Ludlow, said, 'Salcombe Gin is the perfect partner for us as it shares our zest for adventure and discovery.' (Photo: Shutterstock)

The travel company announced that their newest fleet member, Iona, will produce a unique recipe of gin in a purpose-built still onboard.

Guests on Iona will be able to enjoy the new flavour, which is being developed by Salcombe Gin and is yet to be named, before anyone else on the planet.

P&O Cruises president, Paul Ludlow, said, “Salcombe Gin is the perfect partner for us as it shares our zest for adventure and discovery.

“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.”

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When will it be available?

P&O Cruises newest ship, Iona, is still being constructed in Papenburg, Germany, but is due to make its maiden voyage in May 2020.

Iona will take thousands of passengers from Southampton on cruises around the Norwegian Fjords next summer.

The gin distilled on Iona will be shared across other ships in the P&O fleet, meaning that other guests will be able to try it later on.

How engineers overcame the challenge of building an on-board still

Matthew Servini, of Craft Distilling Business – the company that designed the state-of-the-art gin still, said: “Health and safety is a priority for every build; however, a distillery on a ship, in a confined bulkhead concentrates the mind.

“We spent a lot of time in planning to ensure that the strength of the alcohol coming off the still would not create an explosive environment.

“One challenge that we have never come across before was how to accommodate the pitch and movement of the ship at sea.

“We designed a unique sump below the boiler for the heating element to sit in thereby ensuring that the heating element will always be covered in liquid as the ship pitches. We tested a prototype on a seesaw.

“Another challenge was to make sure that the micro-distillery was as low maintenance as possible as the ship will not spend much time in port.”

More on Salcombe Gin

Salcombe Gin have not given any details of the recipe they are working on yet, but have said that it plans to create other, limited edition gins inspired by Iona’s ports of call.

The company is based in the seaside town of Salcombe, on the Devon coast, and produced its first gin, called “Start Point”, in 2016.

P&O claim that they and Salcombe Gin will develop “a gin recipe that’s tailored to the bold and daring spirit of Iona.”