In the azure waters of the Caribbean, a colossal marvel is about to embark on its maiden voyage, promising an unparalleled experience at sea. Royal Caribbean's iconic 1,198-foot vessel, the Icon of the Seas, is poised to set sail from the vibrant shores of Miami, Florida on January 27, 2024. This behemoth of the seas has already made waves in Ponce, Puerto Rico, where it underwent rigorous regulatory inspections and final preparations for its historic journey.
Setting Sail into Grandeur
As Michael Bayley, the president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, excitedly shared, "Oh look who just arrived early this morning into the port in Ponce, Puerto Rico!" The 20-deck wonder, with a capacity for up to 5,610 guests and 2,350 crew members, is a testament to engineering brilliance and maritime luxury.
A Triumph of Innovation
The Icon of the Seas was officially handed over to Royal Caribbean at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland, on November 27, 2023. Its construction, spanning an impressive 900 days, showcases a dedication to precision and excellence. The ship promises a seven-day adventure around the Caribbean, featuring destinations like St. Maarten, Mexico, St. Thomas, and Royal Caribbean’s private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay in the Bahamas.
Unparalleled Onboard Extravaganza
Setting the stage for an extraordinary journey, the Icon of the Seas boasts the world’s largest waterpark at sea, eight unique neighborhoods, and an array of 40 bars and dining options. The Hideaway introduces the world’s first suspended infinity pool at sea, while Chill Island offers four of the ship's seven pools and an exclusive adults-only zone. Thrill Island takes excitement to new heights with a ropes course/thrill ride, a FlowRider wave simulator, and a mini golf course.
Messi: The Official Icon
Adding a touch of stardom, Argentine soccer legend Lionel Messi has been named the official icon of Icon of the Seas. Messi, Time Magazine’s Athlete of the Year for 2023, will play a prominent role in the naming celebration later this month, elevating the anticipation and grandeur surrounding the ship.
Weathering Criticisms with Elegance
While Icon of the Seas has garnered attention since its revelation in October 2022, not all commentary has been positive. Last July, an image of its stern section went viral, with some branding it a "monstrosity" and a "pile of decadence." However, cruise expert Stewart Chiron dismissed the negative reactions, stating that such responses were typical from non-cruisers. The ship's vibrant and colorful design, he suggested, had garnered overwhelmingly positive feedback.
A Celebration of Innovation
In the words of Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty, "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." Icon of the Seas not only takes the "world’s largest cruise ship" title but promises an unforgettable journey, blending luxury, innovation, and the sheer joy of exploration.