Last Updated on October 23, 2022
Today, Royal Caribbean announced the much-anticipated details on their newest and most innovative ship ever, the Icon of the Seas. This ship represents the next-generation class of cruise ships.
Icon of the Seas will be the largest ship in the world
Royal Caribbean has focused on mega-ships since it first introduced Oasis of the Seas in 2008. Since then, Royal Caribbean has continually had the largest cruise ships in the world, with each Oasis-class sibling getting just a little bigger.
The Icon of the Seas will be the biggest yet, coming in at 250,800 gross tons. However, it won’t feel drastically bigger if you’ve been on an Oasis-class ship. It’s only 11% larger than the Oasis of the Seas and 6% larger than Wonder of the Seas.
Even though it’s bigger, it will hold about the same number of guests as the Oasis-class ships when sailing at double capacity. But, interestingly enough, when at full capacity (all cabins filled with each bed accounted for), it’ll hold 13% more guests than the Oasis of the Seas. That difference is because of Royal Caribbean’s huge focus on families on Icon of the Seas.
An evolution of the Oasis-class ships
The Icon of the Seas takes the tried and true design of the Oasis-class ships and evolves it into a whole new class of ships.
Upon first looking at the designs for the Icon of the Seas, you can see the similarities to the previous ships. It has a spit superstructure design with two sections cut out of the middle of the vessel that are lined with interior cabins. It also has the distinct neighborhood layout, which breaks up large crowds and helps a massive ship feel less crowded.
But you’ll also notice the differences instantly. One of the biggest criticisms of the Oasis-class ships is that the ship is very interior facing. As a result, it feels more like a floating hotel than a ship on the ocean.
With Icon of the Seas, they focused on the water, with ocean-facing seating, lots of infinity pools and hot tubs, and glass windows in many venues. As a result, it’ll feel different from the ships before it.
Icon of the Seas Neighborhoods
There are 8 neighborhoods on Icon of the Seas.
- Central Park
- Chill Island
- Royal Promenade
- Surfside (instead of the Boardwalk)
- Suite Neighborhood
- The Hideaway
- Thrill Island
There’s a lot to cover here, but let’s look at some of the significant features of Icon of the Seas. Just be prepared; you’ll hear lots of superlatives, as we have a ton of firsts, biggests, and longests in our list below.
AquaDome Neighborhood on Icon of the Seas
When you first look at Icon of the Seas, the first thing you will notice is the new design in the front with a massive glass enclosure at the top. This new space is called the AquaDome. It’s kind of a combination of the fully-enclosed Solarium and Two70 lounge found on Quantum-class ships and the AquaTheater located at the rear of Oasis-class ships.
During the day, guests can relax and enjoy the panoramic views in various comfy seating options. The AquaDome will have dedicated bars and food venues, so you don’t have to wander too far. In addition, a 55-foot tall waterfall will give the space a relaxing feel throughout the day.
At night, the place transforms into a performance space. The AquaTheater on Oasis-class ships is known for having amazing performers walking a tightrope, diving off a high dive, and amazing guests. It’s a favorite of many, but unfortunately, Aquatheater performances are frequently canceled due to rough weather. Having an enclosed space will hopefully fix that problem. It also allows the venue to be fully immersive. The performances can feature project mapping video effects seen in some of the newer shows on Wonder of the Seas.
Central Park Neighborhood on Icon of the Seas
Central Park is the neighborhood in the center of the ship. While this neighborhood keeps its name on Icon of the Seas, the design has continued to evolve. The space features 20% more living trees than Oasis-class ships and has four living plant walls that span five decks.
The design is also different on this ship, with lots of warm tones and green shutters, giving it a distinctly different feel from the Oasis-class ships. Part of Central Park also winds past The Pearl, a massive dynamic video sculpture whose purpose we don’t fully know yet (see more below).
Even with the changes, it’ll still feel like “Central Park.” You’ll be able to find favorites like the Trellis Bar, Park Cafe, and Chops Grille. It’ll be a great place to spend a relaxing evening with quiet music drifting through the area.
Chill Island Neighborhood on Icon of the Seas
This neighborhood borrows its name from the Chill Island area on Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day at CocoCay. This area features 4 of the 7 pools found on Icon of the Seas. It’ll also feature 4 different implementations of the Lime and Coconut bar including the line’s first frozen cocktail bar.
Cloud 17 Pool
For those who want a little time away from the kids, check out the adult-only pool in Cloud 17. Guests sixteen and older can relax in the infinity pool, which offers beautiful views off the ship’s side and has many seating options as well as a cantilevered whirlpool.
This area also has a dedicated adults-only part of the Lime & Coconut Bar. Sadly, this means no more adults-only pool in the Solarium, which was so nice during bad weather.
Swim & Tonic Swim-up Bar & Pool
The Icon of the Seas will also debut the largest swim-up bar at sea. It sounds like this is where the parties will be happening with a DJ and a large dedicated pool.
Dry Thrill Side
The Ultimate Abyss is a polarizing feature on many Oasis-class ships as it blocks the ocean view from the Boardwalk and Boardwalk-facing balconies.
For Icon of the Seas, they kept the concept of the dry slide but moved it to an interior section of the ship, so it doesn’t block any views. It starts near the Swim and Tonic bar and winds its way down to the end of Central Park on Deck 8.
Royal Bay Pool
Located on Deck 15 above the Central Park neighborhood mid-ship is Royal Bay, the largest pool at sea. It holds over 40,000 gallons. That’s roughly the same amount as 3 standard inground backyard swimming pools. This long pool has in-water loungers and raised whirlpool.
The Cove Pool is another infinity pool located on the portion of the ship across from Royal Bay. Royal Caribean describes this as having a more “low-key vibe.”
Royal Promenade Neighborhood on Icon of the Seas
The Royal Promenade has been a staple on Royal Caribbean’s ship since 1999, when it debuted on Voyager of the Seas. This area typically spans the ship’s length at a lower level and is lined with shops, bars, and restaurants. You’ll also find live music, parades, and more. But a complaint about this space was that it felt “mall-like.”
The Icon of the Seas will continue the tradition and feature the Royal Promenade, but like everything else, it evolves. One of the most significant upgrades is the massive 36′ x 95′ glass wall providing ocean views and seating. It’ll help get rid of that “mall” feel.
The area also contains the mysterious attraction “The Pearl.” While we don’t exactly know what this massive sphere will do, we know it has moving parts and video effects. It’s the first thing you’ll see when entering the Icon of the Seas, adding that much-needed “wow” factor on entry that’s missing from current ships.
Surfside Neighborhood on Icon of the Seas
This new neighborhood is located on Deck 7 and replaces the Boardwalk on Oasis-class ships. This area is 100% dedicated to families, with a huge pool, Splashaway Bay splash park for kids, a carousel, and an arcade.
Just how big is the Water’s Edge pool in Surfside? It takes the place of the AquaTheater, so it’s massive. It’s right next to Splashaway Bay and Baby Bay which is filled with little slides, climbing features, and sprinklers to keep your kids entertained for hours. The pool isn’t kids only, and in their marketing materials, Royal Caribbean describes adults relaxing in the pool as kids play nearby, but we know, in reality, it’s going to be filled with children.
The smart part of this design is that it keeps the kid’s activities all in one place. Royal Caribbean even put the kid’s and teen’s clubs right at the end of this Surfside area, making it easy for families to spend time together without running all over this massive ship.
The Hideaway Neighborhood on Icon of the Seas
The Hideaway is centered around the first suspended pool at sea. Located on deck 15, the Hideaway Pool actually hangs 65 feet over the Surfside neighborhood below it. The design is meant to offer fantastic views of the aft of the ship. With the pool overlooking the horizon and a variety of tiered seating, it’ll be very popular at sunset. The area will also have a dedicated bar and music throughout the day.
Suite Neighborhood on Icon of the Seas
Like the Wonder of the Seas, the Icon of the Seas has an upgraded sundeck, bar, and restaurants for guests staying in suites. It’s located on two decks at the front of the ship, behind the AquaDome (hopefully cutting some of the winds that plague the front of ship spaces).
The sundeck here contains a dedicated pool and hot tub, as well as a bar and a new Meditterian dining venue called “The Grove.” It also has a supersized version of Coastal Kitchen, the dedicated dining room for suite guests. This restaurant is now two stories and has an incredibly grand feel.
Thrill Island Neighborhood on Icon of the Seas
The Thrill Island Neighborhood will feature some of the biggest thrills at sea that can push you to your limits.
Category 6 Waterpark
While they were late to the waterslide game, Royal Caribbean now has the Perfect Storm trifecta installed on many of its ships. They’re doubling down on that, literally, with a new water park with 6 slides. This area becomes the largest waterpark at sea and rivals some water parks on land.
Category 6 Waterpark has a lot of tallest and firsts. With the Frightening Bolt, the floor drops beneath you as you experience the tallest drop slide at sea. The Pressure Drop is the first freefall slide at sea.
There are also more family-friendly options. Two different family raft slides that hold 4 people are on Icon of the Seas. Guests can also check out the first duo-mat racing slides at sea on Storm Chasers.
The most unique of the new attractions is Crown’s Edge, where you’re suspended high above the ocean on the Royal Caribbean Crown and Anchor logo. It appears to be a cross between a ropes course and a skywalk. Guests are suspended 154 feet above the ocean and navigate across planks. Towards the end, the floor drops out from underneath you, and you slide back to safety.
It wouldn’t be a Royal Caribbean ship without a climbing wall, and Icon of the Seas has one called Adrenaline Peak.
Like the climbing wall, FlowRider is a must-have on a Royal Caribbean ship. However, unlike most Oasis-class ships (except for Wonder of the Seas), it will only have one on board. The FlowRider is flipped on this ship, so when you take pictures of your family riding on it, you get the majestic ocean vista in the background.
Lost Dunes Mini Golf
Every family cruise also needs some minigolf, and Icon of the Seas has Lost Dunes.
More entertainment options
While they don’t fit into any of the neighborhoods above, Guests can find several other entertainment options on the Icon of the Seas.
Absolute Zero – ice skating
Royal Caribbean’s Studio B ice rink gets a complete overhaul on the Icon of the Seas where it becomes Absolute Zero. They bill it as the largest ice-skating arena in the fleet. It looks like it’ll have upgraded design and projection options and feel a lot less “industrial” than the older Studio B implementations.
Music Hall returns
A very popular venue from the Quantum-class ships also makes an appearance on Icon of the Seas. It’ll have the two-story Music Hall, a great place to listen to live music and entertainment throughout this cruise. On the Quantum-class ships, it’s a spacious venue that can accommodate quite a few people, so everyone can enjoy live entertainment at night without being jam-packed into smaller bars.
More cabin options than ever
Royal Caribbean has added even more cabin types to the Icon of the Seas. So much so that it’s going to be hard to figure out which room you want to choose. There are 28 different cabin types available to choose from.
Some, like the ridiculous three-story Ultimate Family Townhouse, are going to be out of the price range of most guests and are really just for publicity and people with way too much expendable income.
Other cabins are much more practical, like the new Family Infinity Balcony room that allows families of up to 6 to sail together without needing multiple rooms. Kids had a dedicated bunk space in the room, and it has a split bathroom design similar to what’s seen on Disney cruises.
Icon of the Seas also features Royal Caribbean’s first Infinity Balcony rooms. Rather than traditional balconies, these rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows where the top panel slides down to give a balcony-like feel. They’ve been on Celebrity ships since the Edge, and while polarizing, they’re a welcome option here. You’ll notice them in the Central Park area, which makes sense. On Oasis-class ships, if you look at the interior facing balconies, many are empty during the day and lack privacy. Using Infinity Balconies here gives you fresh air and light while maintaining some privacy since you’re still in your room.
Icon of the Seas sailings start January 2024
The Icon of the Seas will do 7-day sailings from Miami starting in January 2024. It will alternate between Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, with all sailings stopping at Perfect Day at Coco Cay. Contrary to initial reports, there will be no sailings from Europe.
There’s still more to learn about this ship, like some of the new dining and bar concepts or what “The Pearl” is going to be. Stay up to date by signing up for our newsletter list.
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