It’s confirmed: One of the UK’s top superstars, a performer who was voted best British songwriter of all time, will take the stage onboard a P&O Cruises’ ship twice in fall 2024 to perform charity shows. Gary Barlow, former frontman of the band Take That, will be the star musician on two cruises from Southampton.

P&O Cruises has revealed that Gary Barlow will perform two charity concerts onboard Iona in September and October 2024, with ticket proceeds to benefit two organizations, Teenage Cancer Trust, and Child Bereavement UK.

Barlow is a singer, songwriter, record producer, and TV personality, and was lead singer of Take That from 1990 to 1996. He developed a wildly successful solo career, and in 2009 was voted best British songwriter of all time.

Barlow also is known for serving as a judge on the hit TV show “The X Factor” and has won eight BRIT Awards and sold over 45 million records.

The performer is the music director and the inspiration behind the P&O Cruises’ adult-only music lounge, 710 Club, onboard Iona and Arvia. The live music venue highlights up-and-coming musicians, and is known for its vintage vibe and stylish cocktails. Tickets for Barlow’s performances will be offered as raffle tickets for £10 ($13 US), and can only be purchased onboard.

“I’m so proud to be P&O Cruises’ music director and I can’t wait to be back onboard Iona to put on two more nights of exclusive performances for guests,said Gary Barlow, the award-winning UK singer-songwriter

There’s something magical about sharing my passion for music with the guests onboard whilst fundraising for two incredible charities,added Barlow.

Gary Barlow

P&O Cruises, one of nine Carnival Corporation brands, caters to the UK market with a five-ship fleet.

Both of Barlow’s performances will be held aboard 14-night cruises operating roundtrip from Southampton. The first departure is on September 21, 2024, a Spain, Portugal, and Canary Islands sailing, with port calls at Madeira, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Seville (from Cádiz), and Lisbon. Cruise fares are from £1199 ($1,524 US).

The second departure, a Spain and Portugal cruise, is on October 5, 2024, calling at La Coruna, Vigo, Lisbon, Valencia, Barcelona, and Seville. Fares start at £899 ($1,140 US).

The cruise line noted that P&O Cruises’ Food Hero, José Pizarro, a Spanish celebrity chef known as the master of tapas, will be aboard the September sailing. It also pointed out that Barlow will not be onboard Iona for the duration of the voyages, and his travel dates could be subject to change.

Barlow’s performances will be held in Iona’s Headliners Theater, with its eye-popping LED backdrop. The singer has a longstanding relationship with the ship, since he performed at Iona’s christening ceremony in 2021. He headlined a spectacular laser show and sang two songs, “Greatest Day” and “Rule the World” during the event in Southampton. 

Iona, a 184,000-gross ton, 5,200-passenger Excel-class ship, debuted during the pandemic in 2020, but her maiden voyage was not held until 2021. Built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, Iona was the first LNG-powered British cruise ship and the largest ever built for the UK market.

P&O Iona Cruise Ship

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The cruise line earlier this month announced that Iona’s planned dry dock in March 2025 was being delayed until October 2025, and as a result, two scheduled cruises, on October 4 and 18, were cancelled.

The ship was to depart October 4, 2025 on a 14-night roundtrip voyage from Southampton to Spain, Portugal, and the Canary Islands. Her October 18, 2025 sailing, also roundtrip from Southampton, was a 7-night cruise to Hamburg, Germany; Rotterdam, Holland; and Zeebrugge, Belgium.

A few days later, P&O Cruises revealed it had added two voyages in March 2025, since the ship’s dry dock was postponed. 

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