As with all the cruise lines, Royal Caribbean is undergoing a complete reboot of its business. Now that every ship is sailing again and the pandemic is under control, we can stop looking in the rearview mirror and look ahead at what the line is doing next.
Always known for the next big thing, Royal Caribbean has plans for a new class of mega ships, an additional beachfront area on Perfect Day at CocoCay, and even a new destination in the South Pacific. Here’s what’s coming up for Royal Caribbean over the next few years.
Icon of the Seas
In January 2024, Royal Caribbean’s very first Icon-class ship is scheduled to debut: Icon of the Seas. The vessel will be the largest cruise ship in the world, coming in at over 250,000 gross tons — surpassing the Oasis class, which are the current largest cruise vessels.
Like the Oasis-class, Icon of the Seas will be divided into eight neighborhoods. Three will already be familiar: the Royal Promenade, Central Park, and the Suite Neighborhood.
Five neighborhoods will be brand new: Chill Island featuring lots of pools and a swim-up bar; Thrill Island with waterslides, a ropes course, and a themed mini golf course; Surfside — a neighborhood for young families complete with kids’ water parks, a carousel, and a family buffet; The Hideaway themed after a beach club with a suspended infinity pool, and the enclosed AquaDome at the top of the ship where the high-dive AquaTheater shows will be held.
Icon of the Seas will be Royal Caribbean’s first ship with fuel cell technology, and it’ll be powered by liquefied natural gas. The ship will operate seven-night eastern and western Caribbean cruises year-round from Miami.
Hideaway Beach at CocoCay
In the fall of 2021, Royal Caribbean announced expansion plans for the guest areas on its private island in the Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay. The adults-only space, called Hideaway Beach, is expected to open around the time of Icon of the Seas’ arrival. Hideaway Beach will increase the island’s capacity by 3,000 people.
Royal Caribbean hasn’t revealed specific details on what will be offered in the Hideaway Beach area or whether it will cost extra to enjoy it. The line also hasn’t said where on the island Hideaway Beach will be located, but local sources have revealed that it will be on the north side near Thrill Waterpark.
Hideaway Beach will be different from Coco Beach Club, which is an exclusive, capacity-controlled beachfront area on the island that guests have to pay to access.
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Perfect Day at Lelepa
Back in late 2019, Royal Caribbean announced that it would be opening a second private destination with the “Perfect Day” moniker, following the rebranding of its Bahamian island CocoCay to Perfect Day at CocoCay in spring of that year. The new destination will be called Perfect Day at Lelepa, and it’s located in the South Pacific country of Vanuatu.
The destination was originally supposed to open this year, but plans were pushed back significantly due to the global pandemic.
The island will be a port call on various Royal Caribbean itineraries out of Australia and New Zealand. Instead of featuring thrills like the water park on CocoCay, Lelepa will have a more chill atmosphere, with a focus on showcasing the natural beauty and local culture of Vanuatu. The cruise line also plans for Perfect Day at Lelepa to achieve carbon neutrality, with all energy consumed generated from renewable sources.
Royal Caribbean has not yet announced a new target opening date for Perfect Day at Lelepa.
Utopia of the Seas
Utopia of the Seas will be Royal Caribbean’s sixth Oasis-class ship, following Oasis, Allure, Harmony, Symphony, and Wonder of the Seas. The vessel is currently under construction at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, with a targeted debut date in 2024.
Utopia of the Seas will be Royal’s second ship powered by liquefied natural gas, following Icon of the Seas. It will also feature other environmentally-friendly initiatives including the ability to connect to shore power and heat recovery systems.
Ultimate World Cruise
For the first time, Royal Caribbean will be offering an epic 274-night Ultimate World Cruise aboard Serenade of the Seas departing in December 2023.
The voyage will visit all seven continents and more than 150 destinations in 65 countries. The adventure is also divided up into four segments that guests can take instead of the full world cruise: Ultimate Americas, Ultimate Asia-Pacific, Ultimate Middle East and Med, and Ultimate Europe and Beyond.
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