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Icon of the Seas Review

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Jeannine Williamson

Icon of the Seas will be Royal Caribbean International's first Icon-class ship when it joins the fleet in January 2024. It is the line's first new class of ship in 10 years, and it is set to become the world's largest cruise ship, surpassing Royal Caribbean's Oasis class Wonder of the Seas (by gross tonnage).

Designed completely from scratch, Icon of the Seas is shaping up to become a ship of superlatives: the biggest this, the tallest that. There are so many options for cabins, restaurants, dining, entertainment and activities that you will feel like you are in a huge resort at sea -- which is exactly what Royal Caribbean wants you to feel.

Icon of the Seas will carry a maximum of 7,600 guests at full occupancy, 2,805 cabins and have a total length of 1,198 feet or 365 meters.

Icon of the Seas Deck Plans Include New Neighborhoods, Such as AquaDome and Chill Island

Icon of the Seas will feature 20 total decks, and 18 of them will be guest decks. The megaship will also have 8 neighborhoods, including 5 new neighborhoods: AquaDome, Thrill Island, Chill Island, Surfside and The Hideaway.

Located on the ship's bow, the glass-covered AquaDome is, according to Royal "the most complex neighborhood we have ever constructed", and it really does have the wow factor.

Soaring 82 feet high and 164 feet wide, the dome features 600 panes of glass and will have wraparound ocean views during the day, while at night it will house the signature AquaTheater, complete with a 50-foot waterfall.

This AquaTheater will feature a show called Aqua Action, have a transforming pool, four robotic arms which will throw the divers into the pool, and state-of-the-art projection capabilities. The AquaDome will also have a kids' show, Pirates & Mermaids.

The AquaDome will also house a number of restaurants and bars, including Rye & Bean, a café by day and a cocktail bar by night and Hooked, the seafood spot introduced on Symphony of the Seas. Also set to debut on Icon of the Seas ifs the AquaDome Market, Royal Caribbean's first food hall concept featuring five stalls. The options here will range from sweet and savory crepes at Creme de la Crepe and macaroni and cheese at Mac's to pitas and bowls at Feta Mediterranean, Asian-inspired food at GNGR, and sandwiches and salads at Toast and Garden.

Another new restaurant that will be introduced in AquaDome is Celebration Table, a 12-seat private experience that will feature American, Italian, Asian and seafood menus. The private venue will be located inside Hooked Seafood restaurant.

Just in front of the AquaDome, you'll find the Overlook Bar with stunning views over the bow of the ship and which features four Avatar-style pods for relaxing.

Chill Island will be located on three decks at the center of the ship and will feature four of the seven pools onboard. The pools are Swim & Tonic, the line's first swim-up bar at sea that will specialize on cocktails that use tonic as an ingredient; Royal Bay pool, billed as the largest pool at sea; the adults-only Cloud 17, which will feature an area for smokers; and the infinity-edge Cove Pool. This neighborhood will also be home to a version of Lime & Coconut Bar that will exclusively serve frozen drinks.

Thrill Island Neighborhood Will Have the Biggest Waterpark at Sea, with Six Waterslides and Other Attractions

Another one of the new neighborhoods that will debut on Icon of the Seas is Thrill Island, perched on the ship's top deck. The centerpiece of Thrill Island is the 17,000-square-foot Category 6, billed as the largest waterpark at sea. The name is a nod to fierce tropical storms (category 5 being the highest measured hurricane intensity in the Saffir-Simpson wind scale) but also alludes to the fact that the waterpark will feature a total of six waterslides.

The list of slides includes Pressure Drop, an open free-fall slide with a 66-degree incline; The Frightening Bolt, a 46-foot-tall drop slide; The Hurricane Hunter, a family raft slide that can accommodate four rides per raft; and Storm Chasers, a twin mat-racing slide.

Aside from the multiple slides, another standout attraction in Thrill Island is the brand-new Crown's Edge experience. Part skywalk, part ropes course and part obstacle course, Crown's Edge takes passengers 154 feet above the open ocean. The last portion of the course features a drop through, where thrill-seekers will be suspended by their harnesses and zip to the end of the course, back on the ship's deck.

Thrill Island will also feature Royal Caribbean's mainstay attraction -- the FlowRider surf simulator --, a rock-climbing wall named Adrenaline Peak a sportscourt and an adventure-themed mini-golf course titled Lost Dunes.

Thrill Island will also feature a couple of new dining venues. Basecamp will be a grab-and-go eatery specializing on hand-held meals. The menu will feature both complimentary items and items that cost extra. The second new venue in Thrill Island is Desserted, a gourmet milkshake stand that will offer traditional treats as well as elaborate milkshakes, with alcoholic options on the menu.

The Surfside Neighborhood will Focus on Young Families; Hideaway Boasts a Suspended Infinity Pool

The dedicated area for young families, Surfside, will feature two splash-and-play areas -- Splashaway Bay and Baby Bay -- as well as several new-to-Royal dining options including Pier 7, the line's first-ever dedicated family restaurant, where kids eat free and adults pay a small fee. It is described by the line as having a "laid-back West Coast vibe".

Other new spots include the Lemon Post, a bar which serves a variety of soft drinks for kids and harder varieties for adults; Surfside Eatery and Surfside Bites. Surfside will also have lounge areas, a bar, a carousel, an arcade and a lounge pool for adults. Perhaps it's biggest wow, however, will only be available to eight passengers -- the Ultimate Family Townhouse -- a triple-height suite with direct access to the fun.

The Hideaway on Deck 15 features what Royal Caribbean says is the first suspended infinity pool, some 135 feet above the ocean; a multilevel terrace, whirlpools and a dedicated bar, as well as plenty of lounge space.

Central Park and Suites Get Upgrades

Signature neighborhoods Central Park, Royal Promenade and Suite Neighborhood will also be present on Icon of the Seas. The open-air Central Park will be familiar to anyone who has been on an Oasis class of ship, with thousands of real plants including trees, as well as familiar spots including Chops Grille and the Trellis Bar. According to Royal, it will be 20% greener and have 50 more trees than on Oasis vessels, despite being pretty well the exact same size. It will also have no Rising Tide Bar.

However, there is a significant difference to Oasis class ships -- Central Park will have sea views. This is a first for Royal as on all Oasis class vessels the only natural light came from seven decks above. On Icon, the line has created a viewing area which looks out over the Pearl, to the ocean. Royal has also installed a bar, Lou's Jazz & Blues; Bubbles walk-up Champagne bar and moved Izumi Teppanyaki up here.

The Suite Neighborhood will be spread across four decks and will be home home to a two-level sun deck, featuring a private pool and whirlpool, and a new Mediterranean restaurant called The Grove. Below is a re-imagined two-story Coastal Kitchen, which includes two bars.

The Pearl Debuts in a Light-Filled Royal Promenade

Continuing with the natural light theme (one of the main criticisms leveled at Oasis-class vessels), the double-height Royal Promenade will have its first floor-to-ceiling ocean views with windows installed on the upper level. And it's not just the natural light that affords the reimagined Promenade an airier, more luminous ambiance. In contrast to the Oasis-class ships, Icon of the Seas' Royal Promenade will rely more on neutral light tones, making the venue equally appealing for daytime activities.

The big wow on the Promenade is the Pearl, a multisensory installation which allows access to the upper level via a giant pod filled with sound, light and movement. It weighs the same as a 787 aircraft, according to Royal, and leads to another new venue, the Pearl Café. An additional new venue will be located on Deck 5 behind the Pearl, and it will be appropriately named Behind the Pearl. This will be a lounge space, with indoor and outdoor seating, which in and of itself is a new feature of Royal Promenade.

Most of the rest of the Promenade will be familiar, with more than 15 restaurants, cafes, bars and lounges, including mainstays like Sorrento's, Playmaker's Sports Bar and Arcade, Boleros, Schooner Bar and the pub, which will be named Point & Feather. There are some new venues, however: Dueling Pianos, 1400 Lobby Bar, which opens to the outdoors and Absolute Zero, the line's largest ice arena, now in the round.

Icon of the Seas Will Feature a Broadway Show, an Aqua Show And Ice Shows

Icon of the Seas will feature The Wizard of Oz as its main Broadway show in the Royal Theater. Perhaps a slightly curious choice to pick a stage adaptation of a movie from 1939 on such a modern vessel, but Royal has nailed its colors firmly to the mast when it comes to family entertainment and this is about as wholesome as it gets (do expect a few modern touches, according to Royal's entertainment supremo Nick Weir).

Elsewhere on the ship, the rectangular ice rink on Oasis class has been rounded and will be called Absolute Zero. Icon sees the debut of two new shows for Royal: "Starburst: Elemental Beauty" and a family ice show, "Once Upon a Time.

The aforementioned Aqua Theater debuts "Aqua Action!" which incorporates robotic arms, a half pipe and scooters; and for the small kids: "Pirates vs. Mermaids".

Other entertainment includes the line's first dedicated comedy club, a new venue, Dueling Pianos, and making a welcome return, the Stowaway Piano Player, who pops in elevators and other unexpected spots around the ship (and also on its private island, Perfect day at CocoCay).

Icon of the Seas Cabins Have Categories for All Types of Families

Icon of the Seas will have 2,805 cabins and 28 cabin categories, including new layouts for families of three, four, five and more. The ship will have 13 suite categories, eight categories of balcony cabins, two categories of ocean view cabins and five categories of inside cabins. Of the 28 cabin categories, 14 will be new, including two types of inside cabins, four balcony cabins and eight suites.

A total of 179 of the cabins onboard Icon of the Seas will be suites. The largest suite on board will be the 1,772-square-foot Ultimate Family Townhouse, which can 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 neighborhood.

The Ultimate Family Townhouse belongs to the highest suite class on board Icon of the Seas -- the Star Tier -- which also includes the 2-bedroom, 1,482-square-foot (with a 705-square-foot balcony) Royal Loft Suite and the new Icon Loft Suite, clocking in at 656 square feet with a balcony that ranges from 151 to 183 square feet. Both lofts are spread over two decks.

The Sky Tier includes 8 suite categories: The Owner's Suite, the Grand Suite, the Panoramic Suite and the new Sunset Corner Suite, Sunset Suite, Infinite Grand Suite, Sky Junior Suite and Surfside Family Suite. The Sea Tier features two categories: the Junior Suite and the brand-new Sunset Junior Suite. Both suites accommodate up to four passengers.

At 1,815 units, balcony cabins make up the bulk of rooms on board Icon of the Seas. The four balcony cabin categories set to debut on the ship are the Family Infinite Ocean View Balcony, the Infinite Ocean View Balcony, the Infinite Central Park View Balcony and the Surfside Family View Balcony.

The five returning categories are Ocean View Large Balcony, Connecting Ocean View Balcony, Ocean View Balcony and Central Park View Balcony. Including the balconies, sizes range from 335 square feet on the Family Infinite Ocean View Balcony to 246 square feet on the Surfside Family 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.

What Dining Venues will be Featured on Icon of the Seas?

Icon of the Seas will have more than 40 dining venues and bars, 20 of them new. The majority of these venues will be located in the ship's eight neighborhoods. Firm favorites, Izumi will be back in Central Park, while Giovanni's Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar is set to be located in the Royal Promenade. The Suite Neighborhood will feature a two-story Coastal Kitchen restaurant along with a new, Mediterranean restaurant called The Grove.

Lime and the Coconut bar will return with four locations (three in Chill Island neighborhood), including Royal Caribbean’s first frozen cocktail bar. Chill Island will also be home to Swim & Tonic, the cruise line's first-ever swim-up bar.

Central Park will also feature Royal Caribbean's signature steakhouse Chops Grille as well as the breakfast and lunch eatery Park Cafe. In the bar category, Trellis Bar -- another Central Park standard -- will be present in Icon of the Seas. The neighborhood will also feature Bubbles, the line's first walk-up Champagne bar and Lou's Jazz 'n' Blues, a new live music venue. A brand new restaurant -- Empire Supper Club -- will consist of an eight-course menu of premium American cuisine as well as a drink paired with every dish.

Royal Promenade, the main thoroughfare of recent Royal Caribbean ships that serves as the entry point for embarking passengers, will feature more than 15 restaurants, bars, cafes and lounges on board Icon of the Seas. Other than Giovanni's, this neighborhood will house signature eateries like Sorrento's, Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, Boleros, Starbucks, Schooner Bar and the British-style pub, Point & Feather, as well as the Pearl Café on the upper level.

New neighborhood Surfside looks set to feature an equally novel bar named The Lemon Post, which will serve drinks for kids and adults. Dessert spot Sugar Beach -- found in The Boardwalk neighborhood on other Oasis Class ships -- will be featured in Surfside on Icon of the Seas. Other venues include Pier 41, a casual restaurant where kids eat free; Surfside Eatery and Surfside Bites.

AquaDome will be home to Royal Caribbean's New England-style seafood restaurant Hooked Seafood, as well as a café by day and cocktail bar by night, Rye & Bean; and an additional unnamed restaurant. Top deck neighborhoods Thrill Island and Chill Island will feature the Mexican-themed El Loco Fresh and Cantina Fresca, as well as Sprinkles, the complimentary soft-serve ice cream spot. Deck 15's The Hideaway neighborhood will feature the aptly-named Hideaway Bar.

Elsewhere, Royal Caribbean's fleet-wide complimentary buffet restaurant Windjammer will be located on Deck 15, while the Main Dining Room is set to be located in the aft of the ship across Decks 3-5.

Icon of the Seas Will Be First in Royal Caribbean Fleet with LNG Power

Under construction at Finland's Meyer Turku shipyard, Icon of the Seas and its siblings will be the first Royal Caribbean ships to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) to reduce emissions. Icon of the Seas will have 6 LONG-powered engines that provide 67,500 KW of energy to run the ship. The ship will incorporate other environmentally friendly technologies, including using shore power when in port.

When Will Icon of the Seas Make its Maiden Voyage?

Icon of the Seas is scheduled to be delivered in October 2023. The ship will then embark on its maiden voyage on January 27, 2024.

Where Will Icon of the Seas Homeport?

Icon of the Seas will homeport year-round in Miami.

What Itineraries Will Icon of the Seas Sail?

Icon of the Seas will spend 2024 sailing 7-day itineraries in the Eastern and Western Caribbean. Every itinerary will feature a visit to Royal Caribbean's Perfect Day at CocoCay private island destination in the Bahamas.

Other ports scheduled to be featured on the itineraries include Cozumel, Mexico; Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; and Roatan, Honduras.

Icon of the Seas Specs

Icon of the Seas will be 250,800 gross tons and carry 5,610 passengers at double occupancy as well as 2,350 crew.


Passengers: 5600
Crew: 2350
Passenger to Crew: 2.4:1
Launched: 2023
Shore Excursions: 198

Sails To

Western Caribbean, Eastern Caribbean

Sails From

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More about Icon of the Seas

Where does Icon of the Seas sail from?

Icon of the Seas departs from Miami

Where does Icon of the Seas sail to?

How much does it cost to go on Icon of the Seas?

Cruises on Icon of the Seas start from £1,257 per person.
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