Ship Reviews

Ship Preview: Icon of the Seas

Icon of the Seas will be Royal Caribbean’s largest cruise ship to date, and the largest passenger ship in the world when she’s launched in 2023, with an on-board theme park, waterpark, 40 restaurants and bars, seven pools, and five new distinct ‘neighbourhoods’.

icon of the seas

icon of the seas will be the largest cruise ship in the world when launched

Icon of the Seas, the first is a new eponymously named series of ships for Royal Caribbean, is going to be similar to the Oasis-class, but even bigger, with a beach retreat, resort escape, theme park, kids’ facilities and more dining venues and bars than ever before at sea.

Icon of the Seas will be 250,000-gross tons, even larger than Oasis-class Wonder of the Seas, currently the world’s largest cruise ship, and will carry more passengers: 5,100 at double occupancy and as many as 7,600 when all berths are full.

The ship features eight distinct neighbourhoods, with three of the most popular aboard the Oasis-class having been carried over. These include Central Park, the Royal Promenade and the Suite Neighbourhood, Royal Caribbean’s ship-within-a-ship luxury enclave.

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central park aboard icon of the seas

Aboard Icon of the Seas, however, everything is bigger. Central Park has 20% more trees, including a 5-deck high living garden wall, while the Royal Promenade will boast 15 restaurants, cafes, bars and lounges, and floor-to-ceiling windows for the first time.

The Suite Neighbourhood is the largest luxury enclave on any cruise ship. Across its four decks there are a dozen suite categories, as well as a multilevel suite sun deck – The Grove – that has a private pool, whirlpool and dining, and a two-story Coastal Kitchen.

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the aquadome

Across the ship there are more than 40 dining venues, bars and cafes, while facilities iconic to the Oasis-class, such as the Amphitheatre and Royal Caribbean’s marquee aqua shows have been moved to a new location at the top of the ship, giving her that distinctive dome at the front-end of the superstructure.

Activities & Entertainment Aboard Icon of the Seas

The ship’s action-packed top deck will be home to mini golf at Lost Dunes, rock climbing at Adrenaline Peak, and other adventures at Thrill Island, one of the all-new neighbourhoods debuting aboard the ship.

This area will host the largest waterpark at sea, with six water slides, including an open free-fall slide, the tallest drop slide at sea, family raft slides that accommodate four riders at once and two mat-racing slides. All activities within Category 6 Waterpark are complimentary during the hours of operation between 9:00am and 10:00pm.

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thrill island

Also new aboard Icon of the Seas is the Crown’s Edge, a part skywalk, part ropes course, part thrill ride activity that tests passengers’ courage. At any moment, the floor could collapse and leave you dangling high over the ocean.  Height and weight restrictions will be shared at a later date.

Rendering of the ship released thus far show there will be one FlowRider surf simulator onboard, as well as a whole other new area called Surfside, offering splash areas for babies and kids. It will also feature a new pool-themed version of Royal Caribbean’s carousel and a bar with “mommy and me” matching mocktails for kids and cocktails for grownups.

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surfside

Down below there is Absolute Zero, Royal Caribbean’s largest ice arena, as well as a new neighbourhood called The Hideaway, offering a beach club vibe for adults. There’s a multilevel terrace, whirlpools, a variety of seating and dedicated bar.

The Solarium located at the front of other ships in the fleet has been replaced with an AquaDome area aboard Icon of the Seas. An indoor AquaTheater from the Oasis Class ships will be featured here, surrounded by huge floor-to-ceiling windows, offering 220-degree views. Shows here will feature aerialists, acrobatics, high dives, and the tallest waterfall at sea (55 feet tall).

Dining & Drinking Aboard Icon of the Seas

There will be 40 restaurants, cafes and bars aboard Icon of the Seas, many of which have already been announced, or hinted at in renderings and publicity videos.

The ship’s eight neighbourhoods will all be home to more than a dozen venues:

Izumi, Chops Grille, the breakfast and lunch eatery Park Cafe, Trellis Bar, and at least two more as-of-yet-unnamed restaurants as well as one more bar/lounge area, will be in Central Park.

Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar along with 14 other bars, cafes and lounges, will be located in the Royal Promenade. Signature eateries will include Sorrento’s, Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, Boleros, Starbucks, Schooner Bar as well as a new dining venue identified as Pearl Café on the ship’s renderings.

The Suite Neighborhood will feature a two-story Coastal Kitchen restaurant and a new, unnamed Mediterranean restaurant, while another new neighbourhood Surfside will feature a new bar named The Lemon Post, which will serve those mocktails and cocktails for kids and adults we mentioned earlier.

Also in Surfside will be the Sugar Beach sweet shop found in The Boardwalk neighborhood on other Oasis Class ships. At least three more eateries are visible in Royal Caribbean’s renderings of Surfside, but are yet to be named.

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pool area rendering for icon of the seas

Chill Island will feature the Lime and the Coconut bar in three different locations, along with a frozen cocktail bar and Swim & Tonic, the cruise line’s first-ever swim-up bar, while adjacent Thrill Island will offer the Mexican-themed El Loco Fresh and Cantina Fresca, as well as Sprinkles, the complimentary soft-serve ice cream spot.

AquaDome will be home to Royal Caribbean’s New England-style seafood restaurant Hooked Seafood, as well as an additional restaurant and bar, while the fleet-wide complimentary buffet restaurant Windjammer will be located on Deck 15. The Main Dining Room, meanwhile, will occupy Deck 4, 5 and 6 at the stern of the ship.

Staterooms Aboard Icon of the Seas

There are 28 categories across Icon of the Seas more than 2,805 cabins. There are new layouts made for families of three, four, five and more, like the Family Infinite Balcony and Surfside Family Suite – with kids alcoves tucked away from the adults – and the three-story Ultimate Family Townhouse, complete with its own white picket fence and mailbox.

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When it comes to views, among the best are from the brand’s first Sunset Corner Suites and Panoramic Ocean Views in AquaDome. A total of 179 of the cabins onboard Icon of the Seas will be suites across 13 categories, of which the Ultimate Family Townhouse will be the largest.

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loft suite aboard icon of the seas

At 1,772sqft, it will accommodate up to 8 passengers and will feature a 751-square-foot balcony, an in-suite slide, a cinema space, karaoke and a private entrance to the Surfside neighbourhood.

There will also be a 2-bedroom, 1,482-square-foot Royal Loft Suite with a 705-square-foot balcony and a new Icon Loft Suite, at 656 square feet with a balcony that ranges from 151 to 183 square feet. Both lofts are spread over two decks.

There are also two categories of ocean view cabins and five categories of inside cabins, with 1,815 balcony cabins across 9 categories (Family Infinite Ocean View Balcony, the Infinite Ocean View Balcony, the Infinite Central Park View Balcony and the Surfside Family View Balcony, Ocean View Large Balcony, Connecting Ocean View Balcony, Ocean View Balcony and Central Park View Balcony).

Icon of the Seas’ Ocean View cabins are the existing Panoramic Ocean View and Ocean View. Interior rooms include two new categories — Surfside Family View Interior and Interior Plus — as well as the Central Park View Interior, Spacious Interior and Interior categories.

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Icon of the Seas Itineraries

Icon of the Seas is scheduled to be delivered in late 2023, and will sail her maiden voyage on January 27th, 2024. She will homeport in Miami year-round, sailing 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries that visit Royal Caribbean’s private island destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay, in The Bahamas, as well as Cozumel, Mexico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Roatan, Honduras.

Perfect Day at Coco Cay is home to Thrill Waterpark’s 13 waterslides, including the tallest in North America; Coco Beach Club, featuring the first overwater cabanas in The Bahamas; and Up, Up & Away, a helium balloon adventure. The island will also be getting Hideaway Beach, with an expansive pool, and private cabanas with pools, ahead of the arrival of Icon of the Seas.

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