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Icon of the Seas Officially Joins Royal Caribbean Fleet

Icon of the Seas Officially Joins Royal Caribbean Fleet

Royal Caribbean’s newest cruise ship Icon of the Seas officially joined the fleet during a celebration at Finland’s Meyer Turku shipyard.

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Royal Caribbean International has welcomed the highly-anticipated new ship Icon of the Seas to the fleet in a celebration at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland. After more than seven years of dreaming and 900 days of design and construction by thousands of experts, cruise line reps signed for the new ship—set to be the biggest cruise ship in the world—just two months before her maiden voyage in January.

Icon of the Seas will be the first of the cruise line’s Icon Class ships, and will be joined by sister ship Star of the Seas in 2025.

Related: Royal Caribbean Reveals Name of Next Icon Class Ship

More than 1,200 crew members and staff attended the celebration, joined by Royal Caribbean Group president and CEO Jason Liberty, Royal Caribbean International president and CEO Michael Bayley, and Meyer Turku’s CEO Tim Meyer.

In attendance at Icon of the Seas‘ welcome celebration were more than 1,200 crew members and workers, along with executives from Royal Caribbean and Meyer Turku (photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

“Today, we are celebrating more than a new ship; it’s also the celebration of the culmination of more than 50 years of innovation and dreaming at Royal Caribbean to create the ultimate vacation experience,” Liberty said.

“Delivering Icon of the Seas represents all that can be accomplished with strong partnerships and a commitment to delivering memorable vacations responsibly, and we thank Meyer Turku and an incredible village of skilled partners for joining us on this journey. The memories millions of families and vacationers will make on Icon will be our greatest accomplishment yet,” he continued.

The delivery of Icon of the Seas, marking the transfer of ownership from Meyer Turku to Royal Caribbean, also commemorates a series of accomplishments from more than two years of construction. These feats include installing the AquaDome—the single largest glass and steel structure to be lifted onto a cruise ship—and the engineering of more water on board than ever before across seven pools and six record-breaking waterslides.

Icon will next sail from Turku to Cádiz, Spain, where the cruise line will put the final touches on the new ship before she heads to Miami. Beginning Wednesday, November 29, cruise fans can track Icon of the Seas’ progress by visiting Royal Caribbean’s Icon countdown page.

Icon of the Seas departing Turku, Finland on her way to Cádiz, Spain for some final touches before her debut (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.

“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.”

Icon of the Seas will feature eight distinct neighborhoods

The ship’s five brand-new neighborhoods and three reimagined favorites will be destinations in themselves—filled with a variety of experiences, live entertainment, restaurants, and bars.

Thrill Island

This exciting new neighborhood includes Category 6, the largest waterpark at sea with six record-breaking slides; Crown’s Edge, a hybrid skywalk-ropes course-thrill ride combo that will swing cruisers 154 feet above the ocean; the FlowRider surf simulator; and the Lost Dunes minigolf course. Thrill Island is also home to new casual dining venues Basecamp and Desserted.

Related: Royal Caribbean Reveals Reimagined Dining on Icon of the Seas

Chill Island

Four of Icon‘s seven pools are on this three-deck neighborhood, each with its own distinct vibe and ideal ocean views. The vibrant Swim & Tonic features Royal’s first swim-up bar at sea, and Royal Bay boasts the largest pool at sea. For a relaxing experience, Chill Island also has the adults-only retreat Cloud 17 and the infinity-edge Cove Pool.

Cruisers can unwind day and night with tunes from live bands and DJs while enjoying poolside bars and quick-service dining venues including The Lime & Coconut (with a new frozen cocktail bar!) and El Loco Fresh & Cantina Fresca.

Related: Royal Caribbean Reveals New Nightlife Options and Bars on Icon of the Seas

Surfside

At the first neighborhood designed specifically for young families, cruisers can spend the entire day splashing around at the new Water’s Edge pool for adults near Baby Bay or at the Splashaway Bay aquapark for kids.

Icon of the Seas‘ Surfside neighborhood is specifically designed for families with kids (artist rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

Surfside also offers new dining options including the Surfside Eatery buffet, Pier 7 for all-day breakfast, and the quick Surfside Bites. The neighborhood’s new bar The Lemon Post will feature two menus, one for adults and one just for kids.

Related: Cruising with Kids: 19 Essential Tips for Family Cruises

AquaDome

This new neighborhood promises to be a calm sanctuary by day and a bustling hotspot by night, with wraparound ocean views, new and returning restaurants and bars, a 55-foot-tall water curtain, and the next-level AquaTheater, which will introduce the first cast of robots, skateboarders, divers, and more.

AquaDome is home to Royal Caribbean’s very first food hall, AquaDome Market, as well as Rye & Bean—a new bar for lattes and coffee-infused cocktails. The new Overlook bar and pods will feature views of the cruise line’s popular aqua shows.

The Hideaway

A new neighborhood tucked away 135 feet above the ocean, The Hideaway aims to recreate the positive vibes of beach clubs around the world. At the heart of it all is the first suspended infinity pool at sea, with 180-degree ocean views that make it the ideal place to watch sunsets while enjoying the dedicated DJ and bar.

Royal Promenade

At the heart of Icon of the Seas, the Royal Promenade includes more than 15 restaurants, bars, and lounges, including Dueling Pianos, Royal Caribbean’s first dueling pianos bar. The new 1400 Lobby Bar, inspired by shipbuilding history, offers an ocean-facing terrace that opens the reimagined neighborhood to the outdoors for the first time. Cruiser favorites also return—but with a twist—like Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, Starbucks, and more.

This interior neighborhood also debuts floor-to-ceiling ocean views thanks to The Pearl, the world’s largest kinetic art sculpture.

Related: Royal Caribbean Launches Artist Discovery Program for Icon of the Seas

Central Park

Royal Caribbean has redesigned the open-air Central Park with more ways to dine, drink, and be entertained than ever before. Thousands of real plants fill the neighborhood where cruisers can find new experiences and reimagined favorites like Izumi—which has a new location and a walkup window—and Chops Grille, the classic American steakhouse.

Central Park on Icon of the Seas will be filled with thousands of live plants (artist rendering courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

Empire Supper Club, a decadent experience pairing a whopping eight courses with wine, cocktails, and music will debut in Central Park, along with Lou’s Jazz ‘n Blues for live jazz and soulful pop music.

Suite Neighborhood

Royal Caribbean’s most expansive Suite Neighborhood ever spans four decks and includes larger suites and a new Grove Suite Sun Deck with a private pool, whirlpool, and dedicated Mediterranean dining. Suite guests can also enjoy a two-level Coastal Kitchen with views of the AquaDome and the ocean.

Icon of the Seas will be Royal Caribbean’s most sustainable cruise ship

Icon is also the first ship in Royal Caribbean’s history to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). The ship’s dual-fuel engines will be used in conjunction with a number of energy-saving efforts and industry-leading environmental programs on board, including the first waste-to-energy plant at sea.

The cruise line’s most sustainable ship ever will be 24 percent more energy efficient than the standard required for ships being developed today, marking the latest milestone in parent firm Royal Caribbean Group’s drive to introduce a net-zero cruise ship by 2035.

Cruising aboard Icon of the Seas

Whether you’re planning to cruise as a family, a couple, or with a group of friends, Icon of the Seas promises to include lots of firsts and favorites for everyone across her eight neighborhoods.

You’ll find thrilling activities, plenty of spaces to relax, over 40 dining and drinking options, and cutting-edge entertainment across the ship’s four iconic stages—air, ice, water, and theater. Even the rooms are deliberately planned for every type of vacationer, with 28 different options to stay, including the new three-level Ultimate Family Townhouse.

Plus, cruisers can island hop in the tropics aboard Icon at any time of the year. Each 7-night Eastern or Western Caribbean adventure from Miami will feature popular destinations across the Caribbean and a stop at Royal Caribbean’s private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Debuting at Perfect Day in January 2024 is the resort’s first adults-only escape, Hideaway Beach. The extra-fee area will be an all day experience complete with an exclusive beach and pools, new dedicated dining venues and bars, private cabanas, live music, and more.

Read more: Royal Caribbean Reveals Adults-Only Hideaway Beach on Perfect Day at CocoCay

Thinking about booking a cruise on the new Icon of the Seas? For the lowest fares, I always recommend CruiseDirect. They offer a best price guarantee, exclusive perks, and never charge a booking fee.

More news about Royal Caribbean

Do you have a cruise booked already on Icon of the Seas or are you considering it? What are you most looking forward to on this new ship? Let me know in the comments below!

Carrie Ann Karstunen