Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas is going to be the most impressive ship at sea when it launches in early 2024. I had the opportunity to visit the shipyard where the massive ship is being built in Turku, Finland, and all I can say is, get ready to have your mind blown.
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**I was a guest of Royal Caribbean for the purpose of this review. As always, my opinions are 100% my own.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I was invited to tour an incomplete cruise ship in Finland, but what I found was beyond my imagination. When I visited in early May, the ship was docked at the Meyer Shipyards in Turku, and it was 80% complete. Close to 3,000 people work on the ship every day, and it was truly a sight to behold. Keep reading to see what else I discovered.
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Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas Quick Facts
This might be hard to envision, but the ship has 20 total decks and will host up to 7,600 guests with 2,350 crew. It is literally a city at sea. The ship will have the largest waterpark at sea, the first suspended infinity pool at sea, five new neighborhoods, and an endless amount of entertainment. It will be the first ship at sea fueled primarily by liquefied natural gas, which is currently the cleanest fuel available.
Neighborhoods on Icon of the Seas
For those not familiar with Royal Caribbean’s typical layout, the ship is divided into “neighborhoods”, different themed areas of the ship. The Oasis Class ships (Harmony, Allure, Symphony, Oasis of the Seas) have seven neighborhoods, and Wonder of the Seas has eight (they have an additional Suite Neighborhood). Common neighborhoods are – Entertainment Place, Central Park, Boardwalk, Pool and Sports Zone, Youth Zone, Vitality Health & Fitness, and Royal Promenade.
Icon of the Seas will add five new neighborhoods, here’s what to expect in each.
This is the dome on top of the ship that offers spectacular 360-degree views. There are restaurants, bars, and even an AquaTheater which will feature nightly entertainment.
The AquaTheater will have a variety of performances. There is everything from ice skating and aquatic shows to the Wizard of Oz and The Effectors – Royal Caribbean’s superhero production.
This three-level pool area is home to Swim & Tonic, the company’s first swim-up bar at sea, Cloud 17, an adults-only area, Royal Bay Pool, and Cove Pool (the largest pool at sea and an infinity-edge pool). There’s also a frozen cocktail bar, so we are pretty sure this will be a popular spot on the ship.
This area is meant to feel more like a beach club, as it’s a “hidden spot” with an infinity-edge pool, bar, and plenty of sun loungers.
Surfside is made for families with young children and multigenerational groups. The swimming pool area includes a splash pad, playscapes, small water slides, a sea-themed carousel, restaurants, and a bar. There is easy access to Adventure Ocean, the ship’s arcade, and the ship’s teen club. The kids will be blown away!
Think of Thrill Island as a waterpark on steroids. This neighborhood has everything.
We’re pretty sure your family will never tire of the endless adventures and epic ocean views.
Thrill Island will be the largest waterpark at sea. It has six record-breaking slides, including the tallest drop slide at sea, the first family raft slides, and the first open free-fall slide. They’re all sure to get your heart racing.
For those who don’t love the slides, but still want in on the action, there’s a ropes course that goes out over the ocean, a rock climbing wall, a sports court, miniature golf, and a FlowRider surf simulator. Adrenaline junkies this neighborhood is for you!
Accommodations on Icon of the Seas
We weren’t able to see all of the rooms on the ship because they aren’t complete, but the rooms we saw were quite spacious by cruise ship standards. Icon of the Seas will offer 28 different ways to stay, with 2805 staterooms, making it much easier to find the perfect accommodation for your family.
Family Infinite Ocean View Balcony
We were able to see a finished version of the Family Infinite Ocean View Balcony room. This configuration has separate areas for the parents and children. There is an infinite balcony (not an actual balcony, but the room’s window can be rolled down to let the outside in). Next to this is a separate seating area (the couch is also a bed if needed), followed by the adult beds (which can be two twins or a king).
Between the adults’ area and the children’s bunk beds are the shower and toilet which are in separate “closets”. I love this because one person can use the toilet while another one showers. Why doesn’t everyone do this for families?
The space for kids is truly unique. It’s a set of bunk beds adjacent to a small alcove for reading or hanging out. Each bed has its own tv so no one needs to fight over the remote. Royal Caribbean really thought of everything when they designed this room.
Ultimate Family Townhouse
There are many other suites, lofts, and adjoining room options on Icon of the Seas, but the pinnacle of family cruise ship accommodation is easily the Ultimate Family Townhouse. This isn’t a room, but exactly as it sounds, an extended living space for families with multiple bedrooms.
It’s hard to explain how amazing this townhouse is, but envision this – a three-story townhouse with separate living areas for parents and kids, a game area, a movie room, and a slide that goes from the kids’ suite to the living room. You know families are going to love this! The only downside…there’s only one on the ship. So if you want a unique cruise ship experience, be sure to book this ASAP!
Food on Icon of the Seas
Royal Caribbean has stepped it up a notch when it comes to cruise ship restaurants and is offering over 20 dining options onboard. There’s everything from a food hall, AquaDome Market, to an elevated dining experience in the Empire Supper Club.
In the Surfside neighborhood, restaurants were created with families in mind and will feature kid favorites like tacos and chicken nuggets, plus a variety of desserts to satisfy those sugar cravings! Let’s just say, even if you have a picky eater, they are sure to find something they will love on Icon of the Seas.
Entertainment on Icon of the Seas
I think the entertainment offerings on Icon of the Seas might be some of the most impressive I’ve ever seen on a cruise ship. There are dueling pianos, comedians, a jazz bar, a karaoke bar, a casino, and an arcade. Add all of this to the performances in the AquaTheater and you’ve found entertainment for every night of your cruise!
Where Will Icon of the Seas Sail?
Icon’s home port will be Miami, and the ship will sail year-round, with 7-night vacations to both the Eastern and Western Caribbean. Each cruise will spend a day at Royal Caribbean’s private island, CocoCay in the Bahamas, which has beaches, waterslides, a wave pool, restaurants, and more. This itinerary is one that will thrill all ages.
Hopefully, I’ve provided a good overview of what to expect when Icon of the Seas launches early next year. As you can see, the theme is bigger and better than ever, and we think this ship will truly represent that on all levels.
Ready to book your cruise? Head to the Royal Caribbean website and secure your reservation!