World’s (New) Largest Cruise Ship Officially Joins Royal Caribbean Fleet

Move over Wonder of the Seas, there is officially a world’s new largest cruise ship. Icon of the Seas — the highly anticipated new vessel from Royal Caribbean — has officially joined the cruise line’s fleet.

In a ceremony at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland, more than 1,200 workers and executives from both the shipyard and Royal Caribbean were on hand to celebrate as the ship was signed over. This transfer of ownership means that Icon of the Seas is now finally in the possession of the cruise line.

Icon of the Seas signing ceremony
In a ceremony marking the official arrival of Icon to the Royal Caribbean fleet, more than 1,200 people celebrated inside the ship’s AquaDome. Image courtesy of Royal Caribbean.

“Welcoming Icon of the Seas to the Royal Caribbean family is a remarkable accomplishment years in the making for thousands of innovators, engineers, architects and designers,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Seven years ago, we had an ambitious idea to create the first vacation truly made for every type of family and adventurer; now, it’s in our hands, and in this final stretch, we’ll bring it all to life for the biggest debut in our history in January 2024.”

In total, Royal Caribbean says the ship took nearly 900 days of design and construction — amounting to roughly three years — to build. That includes time during the pandemic when cruising itself was stopped.

Icon of the Seas marks not only a big deal for the cruise line but also the cruise industry. It’s the first of the newest class of ship from Royal Caribbean (Icon class) that promises to pack more things onboard to do, see, and experience than ever before.

Icon of the Seas now is officially the world’s largest cruise ship, and packs on more than what has ever been seen at sea. Image courtesy of Royal Caribbean.

At roughly 250,000 gross tons, the ship can carry up to 7,600 passengers at full capacity. In total, it’s roughly 6-8% larger than Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships, which had set the market for the largest cruise ships on the planet.

Onboard are eight different neighborhoods, including the new Thrill Island, complete with the Category 6 waterpark that boasts six different slides at sea. The new Surfside neighborhood is made for families with small children and is another all-new area of the ship.

There’s also the new AquaDome, housing lounge space with sweeping views, a waterfall, and new indoor theater for aquatic shows. New stateroom categories make their way to the ship, including infinite balconies (where the wall is a sliding window that opens to essentially make the entire cabin a balcony). And the Royal Promenade gets an update with The Pearl, a new art sculpture that you literally walk through that serves as a centerpiece.

Any new ship is exciting, but with what Icon of the Seas promises for passengers, it’s rightly getting even more buzz. And while it has officially joined the fleet, passengers can’t yet sail for a couple of months. The ship will head to Spain for final touches before sailing to Miami. Passenger voyages begin in late January 2024.

For more on Icon of the Seas, see our previous articles here:

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