Royal Caribbean’s new, nearly 1,200-foot-long and 250,800 gross ton Icon of the Seas towers like a multilayered birthday cake with frosting on the top in the form of seven swimming pools, a whimsical striped carousel, groves of tropical greenery and twisting waterslides in green, pink, blue and orange.
When the $2 billion ship sailed into the Port of Miami with music blasting on January 10, after crossing the Atlantic from the shipyard in Turku, Finland, where it was built, it was greeted with a cacophony of fireboat salutes and a banner flag flyover. The commotion brought traffic to a halt along the causeway to Miami Beach that parallels the cruise ship channel.
Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi was even in on the ship’s early fanfare as the Icon of the Seas’ “godfather,” christening the 20-deck ship on January 23.
The ship is officially the biggest cruise ship in the world, with Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas, new in early 2022, trailing close behind at 1,188 feet long and 235,600 gross tons.
And when Icon of the Seas sets sail on her maiden voyage from Miami on January 27 on a sold-out, seven-night cruise to the Eastern Caribbean, passengers can expect some next-level experiences at sea.
Finding time to fit in everything onboard Icon of the Seas promises to keep passengers busy. And speaking of passengers, the ship can carry a whopping 7,600 guests at full capacity, along with 2,350 crew – so about the whole population of Sedona, Arizona.
Among the behemoth’s attractions, there’s Category 6 – the ship’s 17,000-square-foot water park, currently the largest at sea and sprawled across Decks 16 and 17, with six slides that include Frightening Bolt (the tallest drop slide at sea at 46 feet or 14 meters) and the first family raft slides at sea (Hurricane Hunter and Storm Surge).
The ship has the first cantilevered infinity pool at sea, as well as the largest swimming pool at sea (the 40,000-gallon Royal Bay) and the largest ice arena at sea (Absolute Zero, where guests can skate or watch a performance).
Some 50 musicians and comedians keep passengers entertained with ensembles that include the largest orchestra at sea (16 pieces) as well as the first at-sea performance of “The Wizard of Oz,” complete with flying monkeys. There’s even a resident golden retriever, Rover, dubbed the Chief Dog Officer, who is still a puppy and appears on her own schedule alongside a dedicated handler.