The RMS Titanic was once considered the largest ship in the world before it met its demise in the Atlantic Ocean. Now, Royal Caribbean International has created a “first-of-its-kind” ship nearly five times that size that will soon make its debut.
The cruise ship, called Icon of the Seas, is massive – measuring 1,198 feet long with 250,800 gross tonnage. Capable of carrying 7,600 guests and 2,350 crew members, the ship is equipped with 20 total decks, seven pools, and what Royal Caribbean describes as six “record-breaking” waterslides.
When the RMS Titanic embarked on its ill-fated maiden voyage in 1912, it measured more than 852 feet long with 46,329 gross tonnage. Icon of the Seas’ tonnage is more than five times that amount.
The new ship will soon be ready for use, starting in January 2024, the cruise company says, after hitting a milestone last month with the successful completion of its initial round of sea trials. During those trials, the ship was put on the open ocean for the first time.
The ship is divided into eight primary areas:
- The “AquaDome” sits atop the front of the ship, offering 220-degree views and a 55-foot waterfall
- The “Suite Neighborhood” with a Mediterranean restaurant and two-floor sundeck
- A five-deck-high open-air “Central Park” with living plant walls
- “Chill Island” with four pools and a swim-up bar
- “Thrill Island,” featuring what the company says is the largest waterpark at sea, called “Category 6”
- An area dedicated to families called “Surfside”
- The “Royal Promenade” with ocean views
- “The Hideaway,” which offers 180-degree views at the back of the ship and an infinity pool
Icon of the Seas first opened up for reservations in October of last year while the cruise industry was still recovering from the downturn it faced during the coronavirus pandemic. At the time, prices started at $1,537 a person, but they have since increased by a few hundred dollars.
Royal Caribbean now lists the cheapest ticket at $1,851 for an interior room on a seven-night cruise from Miami to the Western Caribbean in September 2024. The most expensive is substantially higher – $10,864 for a suite on the same cruise in March. The ship also offers a seven-day trip to the Eastern Caribbean.
And while many are excited about the chance to ride the ship to the Caribbean, calling it “stunning” and like a “scene from sci-fi movie” on social media, some others have expressed otherwise.
“Every time I see a picture of the Icon of the Seas cruise ship I am filled with an intense dread,” one person said.
“Infection of the Seas by Royal Caribbean,” another person jested, seemingly alluding to past COVID outbreaks on cruise ships during the pandemic.
But for Royal Caribbean, it’s all about the excitement. The day it opened up tickets for the ship in October, Royal Caribbean said it had the single largest booking day in the company’s 53-year history.
“The enthusiasm and excitement for Icon are undeniable in more ways than one,” Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, said in October. “The incredible response we have received from our loyal guests, vacationers new to cruising, crew members and travel partners continues to come in, and this is just the beginning. We can’t wait to share more of what Icon has in store in the coming months.”