What It's Really Like to Sail on the World's Largest Cruise Ship

Icon of the Seas, Royal Caribbean

There’s family holidays, there’s cruise ships and then there’s a family holiday on the record-breaking, freshly-launched cruising wonderland that is Icon of the Seas. The largest cruise ship ever built: it weighs in at over 250,000 gross tonnes, towers over the waterline at a staggering 20 storeys and accommodates more than 5600 guests at double occupancy. The newest jewel in Royal Caribbean International’s fleet is a combination of resort, theme park, entertainment arena and a way to explore the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. Seven years in the making, every square centimetre of this colour-drenched vessel – the first in Royal Caribbean’s brand new Icon class – has been designed to saturate the senses.  

What is it?

Icon of the Seas, Royal Caribbean

From the moment you step on board and straight into ‘The Pearl’ – a decorative sphere bathed in a rainbow of shimmering lights that begs for a selfie – you know you’ve arrived at vacation nirvana. Icon of the Seas is divided into eight ‘neighbourhoods’ with their own personalities, such as the ice-creams and merry-go-rounds of Surfside for the under-sixes, or the adults-only Hideaway, which features an infinity pool and DJ beats. 

There are 40 eateries and bars, many included as part of your fare, though speciality restaurants such as the cocktail-paired degustation at Empire Supper Club or the theatrical hibachi feast at Izumi cost extra. 

Seven pools, nine whirlpools and a thrill-packed water park with six slides in total, including the highest to ever be built at sea, keep the action at full throttle. You can feast on unlimited pizza one minute, then strap yourself into a harness and scramble up a full-sized rock-climbing wall the next. There’s even a tree-lined outdoor plaza called Central Park designed for strolling around and several mind-boggling entertainment arenas featuring high-rise diving boards and an ice rink. In short, you won’t find a dull deck anywhere.                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Why you should care

Icon of the Seas, Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean has a phrase they like to use when describing the amenities and attractions on their vessels – “E for Everyone”. They’ve researched their customers’ every whim to make sure all ages and interests are catered for, with a bunch of niche, specialist activities thrown in for good measure. For that reason, plenty of guests will book a berth on Icon for the ship itself. But for those who want to stretch their sea legs on land, the ship has a tempting range of seven-night Caribbean itineraries with stops that include Saint Kitts and Nevis, Honduras and the US Virgin Islands. A visit to Royal Caribbean’s own private island, Perfect Day At CocoCay, is included in every voyage.

When can I go 

Icon of the Seas will adventure to the Caribbean from its home port of Miami for all of 2024 and 2025.

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SEE ALSO: Which Cruise is Right For You?

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