Introduction to the Largest Cruise Ship ever to Sail, Icon of the Seas
Icon of the Seas, the Largest Cruise Ship to ever sail is now in operation, sailing from her home Port of Miami, Icon will offer alternative Eastern and Western Caribbean Cruises, year round.
At over 250,000 GRT* and 365 Metres Long (yes the Cruise365 Team did love this fact !!) and an impressive 20 decks high, Icon is biggest and most modern ship to sail as of 27 January 2024. *GRT stands for Gross Registered Tonnage, social media pictures have shown Icon of the Seas next to Wonder of the Seas and it has been said, Icon is no bigger, for the cruise geeks like me, GRT is a measurement of cubic capacity not weight (I am still imagining how big the scales would be to measure such a thing if it was actual weight). In simple terms GRT means the volume of interior space, so Icon has more enclosed space than any other cruise ship.
I (Anthony Blackmore) was lucky enough to be invited to cruise on Icon of the Seas on her naming ceremony voyage between 23 & 26 January 2024 and i am delighted to share my review of this amazing ship. As there are so many amazing aspects of Icon of the Seas i have broke this down into sections:
When a ship can actually boast an area called ‘Thrill Island’ you just hope this is going to live up to expectation, after experiencing Thrill Island for myself I can categorically say it does and more…..
The Cruise365 team didn’t know how much of an adrenaline junkie I actually am and I surprised them by trying out all of the Waterslides on both Icon of the Seas and Perfect Day at CocoCay and by trying the Crown Edge and dangling 154 Foot over the edge of the ship !!!
Top Outdoor Thrill’s on Board Icon of the Seas:
1) Crown Edge, the ultimate adrenaline rush as you navigate an obstacle course 154 ft over the side of the ship, before zip lining round the Crown and Anchor ! if you want to see more on Crown Edge and Slides i would look up a social influencer called Alex Ojeda who has some amazing videos and was great fun onboard Icon of the Seas.
2) Waterpark, Royal Caribbean have literally managed to keep the Perfect Day at CocoCay vibe onboard Icon of the Seas, 6 Slides including the Frightening Bolt (46 feet tall and 282 feet long), Frightening Bolt lives up to its name as you the floor below you disappears you have a straight drop before being slowed down in the water. the Waterpark is included within the cost of the a stay on Icon of the Seas, allowing daredevils to play all day, don’t forget the waterproof sun tan lotion !
3) Flowrider, Sports Court & Rock Climbing Wall, Royal Caribbean have been adding exciting included thrill experiences since Voyager of the Seas in 1998, Icon of the Seas has the ever popular Flowrider, Rock Climbing Wall and a large Sports Court, included in the with the cost of your stay on Icon of the Seas.
4) Thrills for the Little Ones, Why should the little ones miss out, ! Icon of the Seas is the Ultimate Ship for younger children with the most amazing area called Surfside (this replaces Boardwalk on Oasis Class Ships), its a nice calm environment, perfect for the little one’s with 3 Water Experiences (Water’s Edge, Splashaway Bay & Baby Bay), you are never far away from family dining with the Surfside Eatery, Surfside Bites & Pier 7 meaning you can dine together and let the kids play longer.. I was very impressed in general with the number of lifeguards on duty and seating close to the pools on surfside so you can take care of the little ones and let them have small bit of independence.
5) Summary, Icon of the Seas has plenty of Thrill’s for all ages and I was very impressed with how the casual dining options were close to all of the Thrill Areas (on Thrill Island and in Surfside) meaning you don’t have to stop the fun to go and eat, something that I feel will make families enjoy their experience together even more.
Icon of the Seas has plenty of Chill Time to go with the Thrills.
Boasting 7 Swimming Pools and 8 Neighbourhoods Icon of the Seas has a space for everybody, Icon of the Seas isn’t just about the Children, it has space for adults to relax and unwind, some of my favourite ‘Chill’ areas are:
1) Central Park, Every Morning and most early evenings I would have a little chill time in Central Park, this is the inward facing part of the ship where you find a park like relaxed atmosphere (even the bird noises relax you), a lot of the speciality restaurants and new concepts including ‘Bubble’s’ the Champagne Bar are in Central Park. My stand out favourite also features on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ship the ‘Park Cafe’, I enjoyed my morning coffee and light breakfast here with fresh fruit, yogurts and a bagel bar. On an evening Central Park comes alive with live music, outdoor dining and general relaxing vibe.
2) Pools, Pools Pools, Did I mention that Icon of the Seas has 7 Pools ? The unique design of the ship which gives the back the unmistakable look means there are more pools than ever all with a different style. Personally 3 pools stood out for me to ‘Chill’, they are Royal Bay Pool, Swim and Tonic (Royal Caribbean’s first swim up bar at sea) and the unique Hideaway Pool with its amazing views of the wake and adult only party vibe.
3) Drinks, It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere, was actually words that I heard a fellow cruiser use when she ordered a champagne from Bubbles as it opened at 8am (calm down Susan the sun doesn’t set until 6pm !). Joking apart, you are on holiday and your not driving, my only warning to guests who have never cruised is drinks are strong on ships and cocktails taste pretty damn good, so make sure you hydrate and take a break (or you will miss the nighttime entertainment).
4) Summary, Icon of the Seas has an amazing spa and so many placed to relax and chill but lets face it, Icon of the Seas is a resort at sea, based in the Caribbean year round so being outdoors and enjoying the climate is a key attraction. I live in the North East of England with long dark winters, my Chill Time will always be outside when in the Caribbean. Icon of the Seas has so many unique outdoor spaces (to sunbath or in the shade) that your worries can literally melt away.
A Perfect Day Doesn't have to end on the Island
One of the Jewel’s in Royal Caribbean’s Crown is its private island in the Bahamas ‘ Perfect Day at CocoCay’.
For those who have been lucky enough to experience Perfect Day at CocoCay you will know that the ship basically goes ashore, you have various dining area’s, pools, beaches and even a water park that are exclusively for guests on board. You have no concerns of needing taxis, no worries of taking your wallet and even the wifi works on the island.
In my opinion Royal Caribbean has taken the Perfect Day at CocoCay vibe and placed this on board Icon of the Seas, after enjoying what can only be described as a Perfect Day on the Island, the fun didn’t stop when we got back onboard as our group went straight to Swim and Tonic before enjoying the fireworks as we sailed away from Perfect Day at CocoCay.
On Perfect Day at CocoCay you have Chill Island Beach, Oasis Lagoon Pool Area (with Swim Up Pool) and plenty of dining options included in your cruise fare (if you purchase a Royal Caribbean Drinks Package and/or wifi this also is included on the island). If you are looking for an adult only vibe then pay a small surcharge and enjoy the Hideaway Beach Club which is new or for that extra special occasion try Coco Beach with a premium lunch or splash out on a private Cabana facing the Ocean. The children’s waterpark is included in the fare but if you are a dare devil and want to try the thrill slides this is at an additional cost, I tried the slides and loved them.
In summary Icon and Perfect Day are the perfect combo and the ease of walking off at the pier meant more time for fun and of course a little Pier Running* at the end to board the ship before sail away.
* Well Pier Running was actually a nice trolly bus ride as Perfect Day at CocoCay has an excellent transportation system.
Evening on Icon of the Seas
As you have seen above in Thrills, Chills and Perfect Day Icon of the Seas has excitement, fun and relaxation for everybody. But what happens when the sun goes down ?
Icon of the Seas comes alive at night with so many choices of dining and entertainment, I will start with Entertainment.
1) Entertainment, Well I couldn’t describe Icon as having a Headliner Show as it simply has so much entertainment included on the fare (which would cost 100’s of £’s per person back in the UK). I was lucky enough and amazed to experience the exclusive ‘Wizard of OZ’ Stage Show on board Icon, Royal Caribbean have licensed the original stage show and it literally was like watching the original film in stage form, Wizard of Oz has the most amazing set, incredible actors (fun fact, Dorothy is played by an English Actress called Ruby !) and the largest live orchestra at sea for any show (16 in total). To compliment the best stage show I have ever seen is the Aqua Theatre which is located forward on the ship and the Ice Skating Show in the new ‘Round’ Ice Rink. All experiences are included on the fare and are worthy of any West End production.
2) Entertainment, Away from the exclusive amazing shows Icon of the Seas has so much more entertainment to offer, The two story Royal Promenade brings Icon alive and Royal Caribbean have tried to be true to its original self with some old favourites including the Schooner Bar & Boleros Latin Bar as well an Adult Only Comedy Club, Dueling Pianos and Karaoke, all on the second floor of the new Royal Promenade. Walk down through the unique Pearl to the lower floor and more bars, shops, guest services and even a Starbucks greats you. Other nightspots exist including the Casino, Music Hall and the Overlook with its Rye and Bean Concept Bar. Royal Caribbean have perfected the mix of old favourites and new spaces on Icon of the Seas.
2) Dining, With so many exciting concepts on Icon of the Seas we all need to be fuelled and Icon of the Seas takes dining options to the max. Whether you want light bites, formal dining or premium dining Icon of the Seas has it all. As I said earlier the casual dining is a massive hit which allows guest to grab light bites so they can enjoy more of the thrill and chill without having to slow the pace, my personal favourite’s are the Aqua Dome Market with its Asian, Mac and Cheese and even Feta for the Greek Kebab fans, El Loco Fresh an authentic Mexican quick bite area, Base Camp near the pools and Water Park, Park Cafe, Pearl Cafe and Vitality Cafe. The Main Dining room harks back to Voyager Class with a three tiered restaurant that shares one chandelier, the ever favourite Windjammer with amazing views and the best pancakes i’ve seen are all included options. If you want to treat yourself to a premium speciality experience then you must try Empire Supper Club, this is a tasting menu paired with cocktails and champagne in 1920’s style jazz bar, this is the ultimate food experience on Icon of the Seas with one sitting each evening, don’t be late as once the doors close and the experience starts late comers wont be allowed in.
Icon of the Seas - The Ship to Cruise On
As you can see Icon of the Seas has so much to offer and is the perfect ship for a warm weather cruise, with so many well designed outdoor areas and so many included extras, Icon is a delight to the senses. Dining offers you the largest mix of casual as well as more formal dining and the synergy Icon of the Seas has with Perfect Day at CocoCay is just mind blowing.
Icon of the Seas is the new Royal Caribbean, even bolder than ever before but still with a nostalgia of previous classes of ship. It is the perfect Multi Generational Family Holiday on Land or Sea.
I will certainly be back on an Icon Class ship as it really is a ship to make you feel Happy.