AFTER one of the most challenging years the cruise industry has ever faced, today brought cause for celebration with the arrival of the Iona to the Port of Southampton.

P&O Cruises' new vessel has been described the largest cruise ship built for the UK market.

Port of Southampton will serve as her home and an official naming ceremony is due to take place later today on May 16.

Iona arrived into Southampton Water under an escort from two fire tugs.

The 185,000-tonne cruise ship repeatedly sounded her whistle as she made the journey up to Ocean Terminal.

Many residents braved the rainy conditions to watch Iona arrive into port.

The cruise ship is due to sail her seven night maiden voyage around the coast of the island of Iona and the Scottish Isles from Southampton on August 7.

Soak up the arrival with the gallery of pictures above, including many images from members of the Daily Echo Camera Club.

Find out more about the vessel by checking out the following stories