20 decks, a skywalk, a water park: Inside the world’s biggest cruise ship

Lifestyle

A new cruise vessel is passing its sea trials swimmingly, and when it’s eventually cleared for passenger voyages it will break records as the world’s largest cruise ship.

Put simply, Royal Caribbean International‘s Icon of the Seas is a monster. At 365 metres long and weighing approximately 250,000 tonnes, it’s the biggest cruise ship ever built. (According to Royal Caribbean, it’s about six per cent bigger than the current record holder, their own Wonder of the Seas.)

The vessel made its foray into open waters this month, completing its first round of sea trials following its construction in Finland’s Meyer Turku shipyard.

Icon of the Seas marks the first of Royal Caribbean’s Icon Class cruise ships and the first new type of vessel created for the company since 2014.

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The countdown to the maiden voyage has begun: if all goes well in the second round of sea trials later this year, the Icon of the Seas will welcome its first paying passengers next January in Miami, Fla.

Here’s a look at some of the most impressive (and, sometimes, over-the-top) features of the Icon of the Seas.

The Icon of the Seas features 20 decks.


The Icon of the Seas features 20 decks.


Courtesy / Royal Caribbean

There’s no shortage of space on the Icon of the Seas. The 20-deck vessel includes eight “neighbourhoods” to explore and can accommodate 5,610 passengers and 2,350 crew.

The so-called neighbourhoods are designed to cater to every type of vacationer, the company says, with areas for young families and adult-only areas.

A rendering of the water park, including six slides, on the Icon of the Seas.


A rendering of the water park, including six slides, on the Icon of the Seas.


Courtesy / Royal Caribbean

Attractions on the ship are meant to mimic various land vacation experiences, with a six-slide waterpark, seven full-size pools, a dueling pianos bar, an indoor aquatic theatre and more.

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In case you’re worried about not seeing a waterfall, you can put those fears to rest — the company says the Icon will include a 55-foot-tall waterfall, making it the tallest waterfall at sea.

A rendering of the walk-up champagne bar that will be found in Central Park.


A rendering of the walk-up champagne bar that will be found in Central Park.


Courtesy / Royal Caribbean

The ship will also include a greenspace, called Central Park, which will have lots of live plants, live music and a walk-up champagne bar. An extensive pool area called Chill Island will feature the first swim-up bar at sea.

Category 6, the waterpark, will feature the tallest drop slide at sea, an open free-fall slide, family raft slides and two slides dedicated to mat-racing.

For the passengers who find it difficult to lounge around, there’s a part-skywalk part-ropes course designed to intentionally take you beyond the boat’s railings, as well as rock-climbing and surfing simulator expeditions available too.

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A rendering of the ship’s sky-walk and ropes course.


A rendering of the ship’s sky-walk and ropes course.


Courtesy / Royal Caribbean

“Every type of family and kind of adventurer can make memories together and on their own terms without compromise across record-breaking thrills, relaxing ways to chill, a neighborhood designed for young families, more than 40 ways to dine, drink and be entertained, and more,” Royal Caribbean says in its latest press update.

The ship also features 28 different types of cabins, giving more options for families and group travellers – including twisty slides and bunk beds in some quarters.

A rendering of the boat's three-storey family accomodation.


A rendering of the boat’s three-storey family accommodations.


Courtesy / Royal Caribbean

Families willing to shell out the money (US$75,000 per week, to be precise) can stay in a three-level townhouse, which comes complete with a white picket fence and a mailbox and is being touted as “the most impressive suite anywhere at sea.”

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The cruise line says it’s the longest time frame it’s ever dedicated to “designing the perfect home base.”

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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