The long-awaited Icon of the Seas officially joined Royal Caribbean International’s fleet on November 27 as the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland handed it over.
After 900 days of construction, the delivery of the world’s largest ship represents a win over the unique challenges that went into building it and new experiences for cruise passengers.
“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,” said Royal Caribbean Group’s President and CEO, Jason Liberty.
“Delivering Icon of the Seas represents all that can be accomplished with strong partnerships and a commitment to delivering memorable vacations responsibly… The memories millions of families and vacationers will make on Icon will be our greatest accomplishment yet,” he concluded.
Over 1,200 crew members and workers attended the event. In addition to Jason Liberty, the cruise line’s CEO Michael Bayley and Meyer Turku’s CEO Tim Meyer were also present for the ceremony.
Successfully overcoming engineering challenges
The Icon is 250,800 gross registered tons, is 1,198 feet long, and has 20 decks, making it the biggest cruise ship in the world.
Due to its immense size, the shipyard had to overcome several challenges such as installing the largest glass and steel structure, the AquaDome, onto the ship. Engineers also found ways to have it carry more water than other cruise vessels because of its seven pools and six waterslides.
Other amenities include five new neighborhoods or areas that will host the largest waterpark at sea, a simulator, a mini-golf course, over 20 dining establishments, a 55-foot water curtain, a state-of-the-art theater, and more.
Icon of the Seas is the first ship in Royal’s fleet that is capable of running on liquefied natural gas (LNG), a clean-burning alternative fuel. It also features other environment-friendly features like the first waste-to-energy plant at sea and operations that are 24% more energy efficient.
After its successful delivery in Finland, the ship will head to Cadiz in Spain to receive its finishing touches.
Ready to enter service in January 2024
The delivery occurred two months before its inaugural cruise on January 27, 2024. After homeports in Miami, the Icon will leave for a 7-night inaugural Eastern Caribbean sailing to St. Thomas, St. Kitts, and Perfect Day at CocoCay.
Upon its return, Icon of the Seas will embark on alternating 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. With each trip, the vessel will carry anywhere between 5,610 and 7,600 guests plus 2,300 crew members. Due to strong demand, many slots for 2024 have already been booked, but interested passengers can still reserve itineraries for 2026.