Royal Caribbean International have announced that its new cruise ship Icon of the Seas, the first of a new class of ships, and the first LNG-powered vessel in the fleet, will homeport in Florida and sail Caribbean itineraries.
Royal Caribbean hasn’t confirmed the homeport for the new ship, and currently operates from all major cruise ports in Florida, including Miami, Port Everglades, Port Canaveral and Tampa.
The North American deployment plans for Icon of the Seas were announced by Michael Bayley, President & CEO, Royal Caribbean International, along with confirmation of her 2023 delivery in the fall.
Bailey said that additional deployment plans will be revealed at a later date, and said that her inaugural itineraries would go on sale 18 to 12 months before her maiden voyage.
Icon of the Seas is currently under construction at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland, where to additional ships of the same class are on order and due for delivery in 2024 and 2025.
Little is known about the new class of ship beyond the fact that it will be 200,000 gross tons, slotting in between the Oasis-class and Quantum-class in terms of size, and will carry around 5,000 passengers.
Royal Caribbean has been vocal about the environmentally-friendly aspects of the ships design, including its LNG propulsion, while also hinting at other energy-efficient technologies and engineering.
LNG, or liquefied natural gas, is the cleanest marine fuel currently available. It emits virtually zero sulfur dioxides and particulates, and significantly reduces nitrous oxides, while also reducing carbon emissions by around 20%.
Icon of the Seas will also feature shore power connectivity to remove emissions while alongside, as well as advanced waste heat recovery systems that repurpose heat to be used as energy onboard.
Royal Caribbean has announced a plan to become a carbon-neutral cruise operator by 2050 in what it calls the Destination Net Zero program. Royal Caribbean is the second cruise line after MSC Cruises to announce such an initiative.
Royal Caribbean has previously stated that the new class of ships will be a “game changer”, featuring a mix of innovations and adventures “cruising’s never seen before.”
Meyer Turku is the same shipyard that built Royal Caribbean’s Voyager-class cruise ships between 1999 and 2003. At more than 137,000-gross tons they were at the time the largest cruise ships ever built.