Cruise Ships

Icon of the Seas Royal Promenade and The Pearl Finally Revealed

Today, Royal Caribbean released more information about the Royal Promenade on the upcoming Icon of the Seas, including details about the mysterious Pearl. We combed through every frame from the video to see what we could find out. Learn more below. 

An evolution of the Oasis- and Quantum-Class Royal Promenades

The Royal Promenade is a signature of most of Royal Caribbean’s fleet. It’s a long internal corridor of the ship filled with restaurants, bars, and shops. It debuted on Royal Caribbean’s Voyager-class ships and was a long corridor with four levels of cabins looking down on the space. 

Over the years, it evolved. On the newer ships, they removed the cabins above it and widened the space to nearly double the width of the original Royal Promenade. 

icon of the seas royal promenade spotlight karaoke
The Icon of the Seas’ Royal Promenade is very open and wide.

On Icon, though, the Royal Promenade is a combination of the promenades found on the Oasis-class ships and Quantum-class ships (where it’s called a Royal Esplanade for some reason). It has a curving design and two levels with bars, shops, and restaurants. Looking at the renders, it seems like a town plaza or main street, inviting you to walk around. 

icon of the seas design
The gentle curves of the Royal Promenade evoke feeling of water.

The first Royal Promenade with a sea view

One of the biggest complaints about Oasis-class ships is that you feel like you’re in a floating hotel; there’s no connection to the water. Royal Caribbean sought to fix that throughout the ship. 

windows on royal promenade
The 3-story windows provide the first sea view in any Royal Promenade

On the Royal Promenade, they added expansive three-story windows overlooking the water. While not revolutionary (Carnival’s Excel-class and Norwegian’s Prima-class both have this in their main interior spaces), it’s a significant change for Royal Caribbean. 

exterior icon of the seas
3-story windows looking out at the water isn’t a new concept, but Royal Caribbean does it well on Icon of the Seas.

Icon of the Seas has an exterior promenade area

To further help guests connect with the sea, this Royal Promenade has an area where guests can go outside. 1400 Lobby Bar, located in the center of the Royal Promenade, has an exterior space where you can grab a cocktail and watch the water pass by. 

exterior seating on a cruise ship
1400 Lobby Bar has outdoor seating, a first for a Royal Promenade.

The Pearl Structure

One of the biggest mysteries around the Icon of the Seas was the giant sphere that was spotted going into the ship during construction. We’ve come to learn that this sphere is called The Pearl and is a massive 3-story structure found at the center of the ship. 

the pearl on icon of the seas
The massive Pearl is at the heart of the Royal Promenade and the stairs are sure to be full of Instagramers.

The Pearl is an artistic solution to an engineering problem. Because the Royal Promenade is so wide with few beams supporting it, adding floor-to-ceiling glass on both sides would provide a problem. They needed to add support, but adding columns would reduce the flow of the space. To get around that, they designed The Pearl, which serves as a support structure but is also an experiential art installation. 

moving tiles in the pearl
3,000 moving tiles combine with LEDs and sound to create amazing effects.

The Pearl is made up of 3,000 kinetic tiles that move around to produce visual effects. When combined with LED lights and music, they create a “multisensory experience.” In the middle of The Pearl is a stairway that connects Deck 5 and Deck 6 of the Royal Promenade. While many were guessing this would be a theater or a 3-D projection, like MSG’s Sphere in Las Vegas, it seems like it’ll just be a transitionary art piece. It’s sure to be jam-packed with people taking selfies for their Instagram accounts. 

What’s in Icon of the Seas’ Royal Promenade

The Royal Promenade will be hopping most nights with traditional Royal Caribbean venues and new spaces just for the Icon of the Seas. The designers said they wanted areas to blend into each other, so for many, they removed extra walls and boundaries between the venues. In addition, places like the Point and Feather and Sorrento’s, have seating right along the promenade, similar to the other ships in the fleet. 

royal promenade from level 2 on icon of the seas
Bars and restaurants can be found all along the Royal Promenade

Here are the main venues you’ll find on Deck 5 and 6 of the Royal Promenade:

Deck 5

  • Sorrento’s
  • Spotlight Karaoke
  • 1400 Lobby Bar
  • Point & Feather English Pub

Deck 6 

  • Boleros
  • Pearl Cafe
  • Schooner Bar
  • Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar
  • The Attic
  • Dueling Pianos
  • Playmakers

Shops, guest services, and excursions will also be available in the Royal Promenade. 

pearl cafe on icon of the seas
The whale sculpture is only in some renders, but if it ends up on Icon of the Seas, it’ll look amazing.

Our take: A nice upgrade, but maybe a step too far

The upgraded Royal Promenade finally addresses some of the biggest criticisms of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ship; lack of sea view. With two expansive windows on both sides of the ship, this Royal Promenade will feel more open and airy. It puts them more in line with other cruise ships from other cruise lines. 

giovannis italian on icon of the seas
Bars and restaurants can be found all along the Royal Promenade

Also, looking at the video they provided, it’ll be one of the most awe-inspiring entries on any Royal Caribbean ship. With a combination of an ocean view, the spectacle of The Pearl, and the scale of the Royal Promenade, jaws are sure to drop when boarding. 

entrance of icon of the seas
The entrance on Icon of the Seas will be the most impressive in the fleet.

That being said, we do have a bit of concern about how much they’re putting here. In the video, they emphasized how many different venues they’ve put here and how many of them are now completely open. They said they want the area the be “high energy” and “activated throughout the day.” But in reality, it may just be too much. For example, in the Royal Esplanade of the Quantum-class ships, the music from the English Pub, Music Hall, Bolleros, and the Schooner Bar all spill into each other, making a loud mess. 

See Royal Caribbean’s whole video below

More about Icon of the Seas

Royal Caribbean Doubles Down on Grab-and-Go Food Concepts on Icon of the Seas

Icon of the Seas Steps Up the Adult Entertainment

A Look Into Thrill Island on Icon of the Seas

A Closer Look at Icon of the Seas’ AquaDome

Inside Surfside and Thrill Island on Icon of the Seas

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Randy Young

Randy Young is the founder and editor-in-chief at Cruise Spotlight. He has been in marketing for 19 years and has been cruising for just as long. Over the years, he's worked with products like TVs, copiers, light bulbs, and EV chargers, but cruising has always been his passion. There's nothing Randy likes more than the first couple of hours on a ship, exploring every nook and cranny and seeing how it's different from everything else out there. He's known for providing detailed and analytical coverage of cruising to help cruisers get a comprehensive picture of a ship's offerings.