If you follow cruising at all — or try to watch an NFL game the past few weeks where commercials have aired constantly — then you’ve no doubt heard the buzz surrounding Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas.
The new ship sets the mark as not only the new largest cruise ship in the world, but also sets a completely new bar as to what’s possible at sea. Now for the first time, the ship arrived at its homeport in Miami ahead of its first paid passenger cruise later this month.
Built in Turku, Finland the ship has slowly made its way to Florida. It stopped in Cadiz, Spain for multiple weeks for final outfitting before crossing the Atlantic. Then it made a stop in Ponce, Puerto Rico and then CocoCay (royal Caribbean’s private island) before arriving in Miami this morning.
The ship’s arrival was livestreamed on Facebook, covered by cameras on board, drones taking close-in shots, planes flying banners, and tugs shooting water. The crew and staff all decked themselves out in pink “Icon of the Seas” and waved pom-poms to add to the spectacle.
Coming in at more than 250,000 gross tons and more than 2,800 staterooms, the ship has stirred interest since the first renderings were released more than a year ago.
For one, Icon of the Seas — the first ship in the completely new Icon class — looks like nothing else at sea. Of course, the size is the first thing you’ll notice, but so is the massive waterpark atop the ship, the AquaDome (an indoor water theater) that sits at the front of the vessel like a hat, and even a swimming pool with infinity edge that spans the two towers of the ship and is suspended over the decks below.
All told, the ship features seven different pools, including the cruise line’s first swim-up bar and the largest swimming pool at sea. Of course, that speaks nothing to what you’ll find around the rest of the ship.
There are a total of eight neighborhoods, more than 20 spots to get a bite to eat, three different theaters in total, and a completely new feature called The Sphere that’s a main centerpiece of the promenade. It features thousands of moving panels, which passengers can walk through to interact with the piece. The ship also features larger staterooms and some cabins that are new to Royal Caribbean like those with infinite balconies.
At double occupancy the ship carries around 5,600 passengers, but Icon of the Seas was built with families in mind. It contains a large number of rooms that can hold up to four passengers, pushing its maximum occupancy to a reported 7,600 passengers. Add on the 2,350 crew members and the occupancy tops at just under 10,000 people when full.
As of now Icon of the Seas is scheduled to sail 7-day cruises from Miami through at least 2025. Trips begin later this month, and in the meantime the ship will feature a number of events and special sailings, including a naming ceremony with the “Icon of Icon” (the ship’s godfather), Lionel Messi on January 23.
Royal Caribbean is not just resting on its laurels with the arrival of Icon and setting the mark again as having the largest cruise ships on the planet. Already another ship in the cruise line’s Oasis class — Utopia of the Seas — is slated for later this year and a second Icon-class vessel — Star of the Seas is under construction.
Star of the Seas will sail from Port Canaveral near Orlando in 2025. Icon will sail her inaugural cruise with paid passengers on January 27.
More on Icon of the Seas:
- Icon of the Seas: 12 Big Things to Know About the New Ship
- Royal Caribbean Names Soccer Star Messi as “Icon” of its Newest Ship