A new Aquadome for aquatic performances with a massive waterfall… 28 different types of rooms to choose from (and 2,800+ cabins)… the largest pool at sea… and an entire waterpark?
Honestly, that’s just a taste of what Royal Caribbean unveiled today with the introduction of its newest ship under construction — Icon of the Seas.
The first ship in the all-new Icon class, the ship takes Royal Caribbean’s push to always offer the biggest and most innovative experience at sea and puts it on steroids. With the new details just released (after months of being tested by the cruise line about what was to come), we finally have an idea of what passengers can expect when the ship enters service in 2024.
Here’s what’s in store…
Icon of the Seas Will Be the New Biggest Cruise Ship in the World
Let’s start with the size of this massive ship. Royal Caribbean already lays claim to the largest cruise ships in the world with its Oasis-class vessels. Wonder of the Seas, which first sailed in 2022, is currently the largest cruise ship on the planet at about 236,000 gross tons.
Icon of the Seas will come in even larger. A fact sheet shared by Royal Caribbean says the ship will be 250,800 gross tons. It will also measure 1,198 feet long and carry 5,610 passengers at double occupancy. A max capacity for its 2,805 staterooms comes in at a whopping 7,600 passengers.
The Ship Features a Full-Fledge Waterpark (Category Six)
Waterslides on a cruise ship are a must these days. And on most ships you might get two or three different slides if you’re lucky. Icon of the Seas will feature a whopping six different slides in its Category Six park.
This includes Frightening Bolt, which at 46 feet, the cruise line calls the “tallest drop slide at sea.” There will also be the Pressure Drop, which will be the first open freefall slide on a cruise ship. Families can enjoy the Hurricane Hunter, which is a family raft slide where four people can ride at once.
Renderings of the waterpark show an unreal amount of slides and certainly looks like nothing else we’ve seen on a cruise ship.
The Rest of the Ship Offers Even More Thrills
The waterpark is a signature of Icon of the Seas, but there’s still a lot more to do for those that want some adventure. The Flowrider of course makes an appearance. Splashaway Bay is also there for smaller kids who want to get wet. The climbing wall is also on the ship. But for the first time Royal Caribbean is introducing “Crown’s Edge.”
The cruise line describes this as “part skywalk, parts ropes course, part thrill ride.” From the looks of it, you’re strapped into a harness and then have to navigate a ropes course above the ship. But then, as the course moves out over the water, there is no more floor and passengers take a ride in their harness more than 150 feet above the open water.
Royal Caribbean Has Gone Big on the Pools (Literally)
Aboard the new ship will be a staggering seven different pools (and nine whirlpools), meaning even with tons of people on the ship, there should be a spot to lounge or swim. But of course, Royal Caribbean had to offer up the biggest and best for Icon.
In this case, the cruise line is introducing Royal Bay, which will be the largest pool at sea.
In addition, there will be Swim & Tonic, which is the cruise line’s first swim-up bar on a cruise ship and there will also be the Cloud 17 area, an adults-only spot with the infinity edge Cove Pool.
In the new Surfside neighborhood (and outdoor pool/splash area made for families), the grown-ups can hang out in one pool while watching the kids in Splashaway Bay or Baby Bay.
But perhaps the most interesting pool will be in The Hideaway neighborhood. Here is the first suspended infinity pool at sea — towering 135 feet up on the ship.
Introducing the AquaDome
There’s definitely a lot of attention paid to the new features on the pool decks, but that’s not all that’s new. The unveiling of Icon of the Seas also sees the introduction of the first AquaDome.
Taking the position of the Solarium on Oasis-class ships at the front of the vessel, this spot seems like it’s part Solarium, part AquaTheater, and part Two70 theater from Quantum-class vessels. It’s a large lounge with circular seating and sweeping views like Two70, with translucent panels like you find in the Solarium. But the centerpiece is a towering waterfall in the middle and the diving platforms that are part of the AquaTheater shows on the ship.
Another new feature? The theater will have four robotic arms that play a part in the performances aboard Icon of the Seas.
“The Pearl” Revealed?
While it wasn’t mentioned in the press release from the cruise line, a big emphasis of the teaser videos that Royal Caribbean has offered in the past has been an enormous white sphere. It’s never said exactly what this is, but we had a hunch that thousands of small moveable panels would line the inside of the dome, which we thought might be some sort of theater.
Now we know from some renderings released that this sphere will be a centerpiece of the promenade, with a staircase running through it up to a multi-deck view of the ocean and seating for the Pearl Cafe. The renderings look stunning. While we haven’t heard the official name, having a white sphere next to the Pearl Cafe seems to obviously point toward calling it “The Pearl.”
Central Park and the Ice Skating Rink (Absolute Zero) Make a Return
Of course, there are a number of favorites on the ship that passengers come to expect. Specifically, with the split design of Icon of the Seas, Central Park makes an appearance just like on Oasis-class vessels. This is one of our personal favorite spots on Oasis ships, so we’re happy to see in aboard.
As well, there will be Absolute Zero, which is the ice skating rink with digital projections on the ice that’s become a staple on many Royal Caribbean ships.
Icon of the Seas Will Start Sailing From Miami
We have also learned that Icon of the Seas will homeport in Miami when it starts sailing with passengers in January 2024. From there, it will cruise 7-night trips around the Caribbean and The Bahamas, including obvious stops at CocoCay.
And while that debut isn’t for over a year, booking is available starting October 25. If you’re a Crown & Anchor member, then you get earlier access beginning October 24.
For more on the ship and everything it has to offer, you can check out Royal Caribbean’s website.