What to Know About Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas Cruise Ship: Photos

What to Know About Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas Cruise Ship: Photos

I took one of Icon of the Seas’ preview cruises and spent most of my three nights lost and in awe of her size and amenities.
Brittany Chang/Business Insider

  • Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas will begin its first seven-night sailings in January
  • The world’s new largest cruise ship has unprecedented features such as a six-slide water park.
  • Here are nine things travelers need to know about what it’s like to be on the new mega-ship.

I was one of the first guests to float Royal Caribbean’s newest ship: The $2 billion Icon of the Seasthe largest cruise ship in the world.

Yes, it was huge. Yeah, I’ve never seen anything like it. And yes, it was a sensitive load. (I think I need a vacation from this one.)

The Symbol of the seas the ship is unlike any existing floating resort. As the first ship in Royal Caribbean’s new Icon class, the 250,800 gross ton ship dwarfs nearly all of its predecessors in size and number of water slides, pools, dining and stateroom options.

Before its debut on January 27th, Royal Caribbean invited me to a free, three-night preview. Unfortunately, I lost most of my time and overcame.

To avoid this, here are nine things you should know before you do 2024 Icon of the Seas holiday.

1. If you have dinner or show bookings, leave much earlier than expected.

The Icon of the Seas can accommodate almost 10,000 people, including crew.
Brittany Chang/Business Insider

Traversing the 1,198-foot-long, 20-deck ship takes time, especially with crowds of up to 7,600 guests, slow elevators and inevitable distractions.

Being an often punctual person, I was shamelessly late to almost every event. It turns out that I can’t walk for long the largest cruise ship in the world in two minutes.

2. Thankfully, most desired activities are located in the same section.

The water park has six slides, including what Royal Caribbean calls the tallest at sea.
Brittany Chang/Business Insider

It is the home of Thrill Island A symbol of the best possibilities of the seas.

Adrenaline junkies can get their fix on the water park’s six slides, a surf simulator and the Crown’s Edge ropes course, which suspends participants more than 150 feet above the water.

For the more adventurous traveler, the area also has a sports court, mini-golf course and rock climbing wall.

3. You probably underestimate the number of children you will see on board.

There are seven pools in the icon of the seas.
Brittany Chang/Business Insider

About 25% to 30% of the cabins on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships—the largest ships in the world—are included. The Miracle of the Seas “Royal Caribbean International” president and CEO Michael Bailey told reporters during the trip that it is designed for families.

A cool 80% of the 2,805 cabins on this new ship can accommodate parents and their children.

If you are afraid of young children, stay away from Surfside.

The Surfside neighborhood has an arcade, a water playground, and an all-day breakfast spot where kids eat free.
Brittany Chang/Business Insider

Surfside is designed for families with children ages six and younger.

This colorful escape – complete with a giant pink flamingo and an eclectic carousel – is where the youngest guests can enjoy daytime rides around the water playground and nighttime stories.

4. There are several adult-only spaces on board.

Royal Caribbean says Icon of the Seas is the first cruise ship to feature a suspended infinity pool.
Brittany Chang/Business Insider

Respite from the hordes of screaming kids can be found in kid-free zones like the DJ-helmed Hideaway. Here, adults can lounge in luxury with a cocktail in hand in the beach club-like hanging infinity pool.

5. Some of Icon’s features come at a luxury price.

The Ultimate Family Townhouse can accommodate up to eight guests.
Brittany Chang/Business Insider

The most expensive two-story Ultimate Family Townhouse According to a Royal Caribbean employee, the salon is booking between $100,000 and $200,000 a week.

Despite this huge expense, eight guest cabins are already reserved for most of 2024.

6. You can still go over your vacation budget without splurging on these luxuries.

El Loco Fresh is the ship’s complimentary Mexican-inspired buffet.
Brittany Chang/Business Insider

Only half of the ship’s 21 restaurants are free.

days unlimited lobster on cruises gone: The much-coveted crawfish costs extra in the main dining room. Dinner at sushi, steakhouse, seafood, and Italian restaurants are also options, to name a few.

If you’re a drinker, you’ll be clamoring to check out Icon’s 20 bars and nightlife venues.

The Overlook is one of the many watering holes.
Brittany Chang/Business Insider

But without a drink package, the price of these drinks can quickly increase.

And it’s hard to avoid them: everywhere you go there are opportunities to drink it. One neighborhood—the Royal Promenade, lined with watering holes—practically turns into a bar crawl at night.

7. It’s about drinking and cruising no longer equaling piña coladas and mai tais by the pool.

In the Central Park neighborhood is a small champagne bar, Bubbles.
Brittany Chang/Business Insider

The Icon boasts a unique roster of watering holes, including a dueling piano venue and a swim-up bar.

Young adults will also be delighted to see their favorite espresso martini At Rye and Bean, flavoring tea and coffee.

8. Your cabin may be smaller than expected.

My ocean view balcony cabin had 50 square feet of private outdoor space.
Brittany Chang/Business Insider

Royal Caribbean assigned me one balcony cabin with ocean view during a three-night cruise.

As a solo traveler, the 204-square-foot interior was surprisingly cramped.

I’m not sure if a family of four could coexist peacefully in this small cabin.

The ocean view balcony cabin had a small bathroom that could fit only one person.
Brittany Chang/Business Insider

I should have packed elbow pads: The bathroom was so small that I accidentally bumped into the walls more often than I care to admit.

One more minor gripe: I hate body wash and shampoo in one. I would love a conditioner for my chlorine soaked hair.

9. For a cruise line that follows the typical “dinner and a show” model, nightly entertainment is varied.

“The Wizard of Oz” is one of the ship’s six shows.
Brittany Chang/Business Insider

Icon shows includes an ice skating performance and a water-based spectacular with nine-foot-tall robotic arms and high divers.

For Broadway fans, the ship also hosts a performance of The Wizard of Oz. As an anti-cruise, anti-musical cynic, the musical, I hate to admit it, was moving and entertaining. It’s hard not to be childishly delighted at the sight of Dorothy and Toto flying around the theater on a big hanging bed.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *