It’s official: After more than seven years of dreaming and 900 days of design and construction by thousands of experts, Royal Caribbean International welcomes the highly anticipated Icon of the Seas to the family in a momentous celebration at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland. The world’s largest cruise line hosted a ceremony on the first-of-its-kind combination of the best of every vacation, where representatives signed on the dotted line just two months before the new ship’s January 2024 debut in Miami.
Marking the milestone at the celebration were more than 1,200 crew members and workers, who were joined by Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley and Meyer Turku CEO Tim Meyer.
“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 Jason Liberty, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group. “Delivering Icon of the Seas represents all that can be accomplished with strong partnerships and a commitment to delivering memorable vacations responsibly, and we thank Meyer Turku and an incredible village of skilled partners for joining us on this journey. The memories millions of families and vacationers will make on Icon will be our greatest accomplishment yet.”
The transfer of ownership, commonly known as the delivery of a new ship, between Royal Caribbean and Meyer Turku also commemorated the series of never-before-seen feats accomplished during more than two years of construction: from the installation of the AquaDome, the single largest glass and steel structure to be lifted onto a cruise ship, to engineering more water on board than ever before across seven pools, six record-breaking waterslides and more. Now is when Icon will sail from Turku to Cadiz, Spain, where the cruise line will start to put the finishing touches on the world’s best vacation before it heads to Miami. Starting Wednesday, Nov. 29, adventurers can follow Icon’s journey by visiting Royal Caribbean’s website.
“Welcoming Icon of the Seas to the Royal Caribbean family is a remarkable accomplishment years in the making for thousands of innovators, engineers, architects and designers,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Seven years ago, we had an ambitious idea to create the first vacation truly made for every type of family and adventurer; now, it’s in our hands, and in this final stretch, we’ll bring it all to life for the biggest debut in our history in January 2024.”
Whether “family vacation” means getting away as a family, couple or friends, Icon’s all-encompassing lineup features firsts and next-level favorites for everyone to make memories their way every day across eight neighborhoods. There are adrenaline-pumping thrills, unrivaled ways to chill, more than 40 ways to dine and drink, cutting-edge entertainment across the cruise line’s four signature stages – air, ice, water and theater – and more. And with 28 different ways to stay, including the new three-level Ultimate Family Townhouse, even the rooms are thoughtfully designed for every type of vacationer.
The five brand-new neighborhoods and three reimagined favorites are destinations in themselves filled with a variety of experiences, live entertainment, restaurants and bars, including:
Thrill Island – The new center of thrill features Category 6, the largest waterpark at sea, with six record-breaking slides; Crown’s Edge, part skywalk, part ropes course and part thrill ride on which adventurers swing 154 feet above the ocean; the FlowRider simulator; the Lost Dunes minigolf course and more. In between adrenaline rushes, just steps away are new spots to grab laidback bites or sweet treats: Basecamp and Desserted for over-the-top milkshakes.
Chill Island – Four of the seven pools on Icon are at this three-deck slice of paradise, each with a unique vibe and prime ocean views: the lively Swim & Tonic, the cruise line’s first swimup bar at sea; Royal Bay,the largest pool at sea; Cloud 17, an adults-only retreat; and the serene, infinity-edge Cove Pool. With different tunes from live bands and DJs, and poolside spots for drinks and quick, casual food – like The Lime & Coconut and its new frozen cocktail bar, and El Loco Fresh & Cantina Fresca – vacationers can chill day and night.
Surfside – Introducing the first neighborhood made for young families. Adults and kids can stay and play all day between ways to splash, like at the new Water’s Edge pool for grownups nearby Baby Bay and the Splashaway Bay aquapark for kids, and new, dedicated dining options such as the Surfside Eatery buffet, Pier 7 for all-day brunch and the convenient Surfside Bites To chase down the bites, there’s The Lemon Post, a brand-new bar that features two menus – one for adults and the other for kids.
AquaDome – A tranquil oasis by day and vibrant hot spot at night, the new neighborhood is filled with wraparound ocean views, new and returning restaurants and bars, a 55-foot-tall water curtain, and the next-level AquaTheater that debuts the first cast of robots, skateboarders, divers and more. From Royal Caribbean’s first foodhall, AquaDome Market, and Rye & Bean – a new bar for lattes and coffee-infused cocktails – to the new Overlook bar and pods, and the cruise line’s marquee aqua shows, it’s a transformational experience.
The Hideaway – Tucked away and sitting 135 feet above the ocean is a new neighborhood that combines the good vibes of beach club scenes around the world. The first suspended infinity pool at sea is at the center of it all, and it has 180-degree ocean views that make it the perfect place to watch sunsets from the point of view only a cruise can offer as vacationers enjoy the dedicated DJ and bar.
Royal Promenade – The heartbeat of Icon features more than 15 restaurants, bars and lounges, including Dueling Pianos, Royal Caribbean’s first dueling pianos bar; the new 1400 Lobby Bar, inspired by the history of shipbuilding, with an ocean-facing terrace that opens the reimagined neighborhood to the outdoors for the first time; and favorites with a twist like Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, Starbucks and more. The all-time favorite also debuts floor-to-ceiling ocean views, an engineering feat made possible by The Pearl, the world’s largest kinetic art sculpture.
Central Park – Lusher and livelier than ever, the open-air neighborhood is reimagined with more ways to dine, drink and be entertained. Thousands of real plants line new experiences and favorites with a twist, such as the popular Izumi, with a new location and a walkup window; and American steakhouse Chops Grille. Making their debut are spots like Empire Supper Club, an extravagant experience that pairs eight courses with wine, cocktails and music; and Lou’s Jazz ‘n Blues, for live performances of soulful jazz, jazzy pop music and more.
Suite Neighborhood – Spanning four decks, Royal Caribbean’s most expansive Suite Neighborhood features larger suites, the new Grove Suite Sun Deck, complete with a private pool, whirlpool and dedicated Mediterranean dining; and a now two-level Coastal Kitchen with views of the AquaDome and the ocean.
Icon is also the cruise line’s first ship that can be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), a transitional fuel. The dual-fuel engines will work alongside a lineup of energy efficiency initiatives and industry-leading environmental programs on board, like the first waste-to-energy plant at sea. Twenty-four percent more energy efficient than the standards required for ships being designed today, the cruise line’s most sustainable ship yet will mark the next step in parent company Royal Caribbean Group’s journey to introduce a net-zero cruise ship by 2035.
Every type of family and adventurer can get away on the world’s best vacation and island hop in the tropics at any time of the year. Each 7-night Eastern or Western Caribbean adventure from Miami features idyllic destinations across the Caribbean and an unmatched day of thrill and and chill at Royal Caribbean’s award-winning private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay in The Bahamas. Plus, dialing up the perfect on Perfect Day in January 2024 is the private island’s first adults-only escape, Hideaway Beach, an all-day experience complete with a private beach and pools, new dedicated spots for drinks and bites, exclusive cabanas, live music and more.
More details about Icon and the latest news are available at www.RoyalCaribbean.com/Icon.