When Royal Caribbean (RCI) unveils ‘Icon of the Seas’ late next year, it intends to deliver, “the most transformational ship the world has ever seen,” according to a blog.
RCI has finally revealed details of what the company claimed will be the largest cruise ship yet built.
‘Icon of the Seas’ is the first ship in the new ‘Icon’ class. She is due to sail from Miami on her maiden cruise on 27th January, 2024 and offer alternative Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings.
The giant ship will be delivered at the end of October, or early November 2023 and since she is the first ship of a new class, extra trials and adjustments will be required before she can enter service.
When asked about previous plans for ‘Icon’ to sail initially from Southampton, RCI President and CEO, Michael Bayley said that was the plan, but things had changed.
The 1,197 ft long, 250,800 gt cruise ship will be contain 20 decks, of which 18 will be guest decks. She will have a capacity at double occupancy of 5,610 pax, and up to 7,600 pax if every cabin is full to the maximum capacity. The crew will number 2,350.
‘Icon of the Seas’ will be fitted with seven pools, nine whirlpools and six waterslides.
She is larger than the ‘Oasis’ class as ‘Wonder of the Seas’ measures 1,188 feet in length and has 18 decks.
Similar to how the ‘Oasis’ class ships introduced the concept of neighbourhoods to break up the layout of the ship, this concept has been included on ‘Icon of the Seas’, which will have eight.
Located at the top and front of the ship, the AquaDome is an area that is more than just a theatre. It has ocean views and is fully enclosed, which means the weather plays less of a factor in impeding shows, as in other ships, where the AquaTheater was open to the elements.
The show has the tallest waterfall at sea (55 ft), along with flying artists and divers.
By day, guests can enjoy the wraparound ocean views and take in the views of the waterfall as they enjoy food and drink.
‘Icon of the Seas’ will also be fitted with its own version of Central Park.
This open-air neighbourhood will have thousands of real plants and dining outlets, plus live music.
Borrowing the name from RCI’s Perfect Day at CocoCay, the Chill Island neighbourhood is designed to be a next-level pool deck. There are seven pools on board, including whirlpools, in-water loungers and views.
Among the seven pools on board, the four in this three-deck area include the Swim & Tonic, the line’s first swim-up bar at sea; and Royal Bay Pool, claimed to be the largest pool at sea.
Cloud 17 will be an adults-only retreat and home to the dedicated bar – the signature Lime & Coconut.
RCI has further revamped the Royal Promenade concept.
As guests embark onto the ship, they will be greeted by The Pearl, which is a new space that Royal Caribbean said the details of which will be revealed later.
One thing Royal Caribbean wanted to change with the Royal Promenade was to provide more ocean views. Guests will find more windows than fitted before in this neighbourhood, the blog said.
An ice area will also be located on the Royal Promenade, which will be the largest ice area yet built by the company. It will feature ‘Absolute Zero, where cutting-edge technology and Olympic-level ice skaters merge to bring show stopping entertainment to life,’ RCI claimed.
Meanwhile, Surfside is the first-ever neighbourhood on board ship dedicated to young families, with places to eat, drink, and play all day.
With the new Water’s Edge Pool and Splashaway Bay aquapark, Adventure Ocean, and the teen space Social 020, Surfside will be an all-day family area.
Water’s Edge is not adults-only, but designed to be an oasis for adults while kids enjoy the other pool areas. Surfside will also house a Baby Bay, Playscape and a carousel.
As for suites on board, ‘Icon of the Seas’ will offer the largest Suite Neighbourhood to date taking up three decks, including a two-level suite sun deck.
For suite guests, the Grove is a new dining venue, which is in addition to an expanded two-story Coastal Kitchen. This upgraded pool deck is for the exclusive use of Star & Sky Class Suite guests.
There will also be a suites-only private pool, whirlpool and a new casual Mediterranean dining venue.
Families can also stay in the first Ultimate Family Townhouse at sea.
Spanning three levels, this features an in-suite slide, a cinema space, karaoke, a spacious balcony, a private entrance to Surfside neighbourhood, and more.
Royal Caribbean has designed The Hideaway to have the same feel of a beach club or Las Vegas pool party, while incorporating ocean views, the blog said.
This is also where the first suspended infinity pool at sea will be located. It is surrounded by a multilevel terrace, whirlpools, a variety of seating and dedicated bar.
In Thrill Island, a Category 6 waterpark will be fitted – the largest waterpark at sea with 6 record-breaking slides – and Crown’s Edge, the ultimate aerial adventure and a new test of bravery.
‘Icon of the Seas’ will also be fitted with a number of new cabin types, including a variety of cabins for families.
Located in the Surfside neighbourhood, the Surfside Family Suite can accommodate up to four guests.
Another new type of cabin for families is the Family Infinite Balcony. With space for up to six guests, these are ideal for larger families.
RCI has also revamped the interior stateroom with the Inside Plus room.
Panoramic Ocean View suites and rooms on ‘Icon of the Seas’ all have wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling windows.
There are also non-suite panoramic ocean view balcony rooms, similar to the infinite verandah concept first introduced on ‘Celebrity Edge’.
‘Icon of the Seas’ will be the first RCI cruise ship to be powered by a combination of LNG and fuel cell technology. She will also rely on shore-power, where available, and a waste heat capture system to re-use excess engine heat.
Machine-learning technologies will also optimise the ship’s routes for maximum efficiency.
Similar to other new RCI cruise ships, ‘Icon of the Seas’ will be fitted with an air lubrication system that creates microscopic bubbles coating the ship’s hull and reducing friction while the ship is underway.
Claudia Diaz-Gonzalez, RCI’s Associate Vice President of Product Development, thinks putting the family vacation first is a major priority, “One of the things that stands out to me the most about the insights that we’ve received from our guests is that bonding with family, friends, or whoever you’re travelling with always comes to the top.”
RCI’s Senior Vice President and Chief Product Innovation Officer, Jay Schneider, recently said, “Simply put, ‘Icon’ will be the best family vacation in the world.”
“’Icon of the Seas’ is the culmination of more than 50 years of delivering memorable experiences and our next bold commitment to those who love to vacation,” said Michael Bayley, RCI President and CEO.
“Now more than ever, families and friends are prioritising experiences where they can bond and enjoy their own adventures. We set out to create a vacation that makes all that possible in one place for the thrill-seekers, the chill enthusiasts and everyone in between, without compromise. It’s this first-of-its-kind combination that makes Icon the future of family vacations, and that future is here,” he stressed.
‘Icon of the Seas’ was initially due to be delivered in late 2022 but was delayed due to the global health crisis of 2020.
In early 2021, RCI moved the delivery dates of a number of cruise ships by effectively delaying them for a year. Originally the three ‘Icon’ class ships were to be delivered in 2022, 2024 and 2025, respectively.
The delivery of ‘Icon of the Seas’ was moved to the third quarter of 2023, with the other two ‘Icon’ class ships to be delivered in 2Q25 and 2026, respectively.