The world’s largest cruise ship is on its maiden voyage from the Port of Miami, the Icon of the Seas, Royal Caribbean‘s marvel, has set sail to redefine the cruising experience.
This vessel, christened by soccer legend Lionel Messi and his Inter Miami teammates, a seven-day island-hopping adventure through the tropical havens.
Measuring an 1,200 feet from bow to stern, the Icon of the Seas is a cruise ship; it’s a floating city of innovation.
Royal Caribbean’s Group President and CEO, Jason Liberty, describes it as the “culmination of more than 50 years of dreaming, innovating, and living our mission – to deliver the world’s best vacation experiences responsibly.”
Upon its revelation in October 2022, the Icon of the Seas triggered a surge in bookings, is the single largest booking day and highest volume booking week in Royal Caribbean’s history. The magnitude of the vessel, capable of accommodating nearly 10,000 passengers and crew combined.
With eight neighborhoods spread across 20 decks, including six waterslides, seven swimming pools, an ice-skating rink, a theater, and over 40 restaurants, bars, and lounges.
The Empire Supper Club, offering an eight-course menu of American cuisine, and the beach club ambiance of The Hideaway are just a glimpse into the opulence awaiting passengers.
Icon of the Seas has innovations like the Category 6 water park, featuring the tallest waterslide at sea – the Frightening Bolt.
The ship’s entertainment lineup includes 50 musicians, comedians, and the largest orchestra at sea. Additionally, a unique offering is the ship’s resident golden retriever, Rover, serving as the Chief Dog Officer.
While the Icon of the Seas dazzles with its grandeur, it hasn’t escaped environmental scrutiny. The ship, powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), has criticism from environmental groups concerned about methane emissions.
Bryan Comer, Marine Program Director at The International Council on Clean Transportation, argues that LNG usage is a climate blunder due to methane-slip emissions.
Royal Caribbean counters these concerns, stating that Icon of the Seas is 24% more energy-efficient than required by current ship design standards.
The company plans to introduce a net-zero emissions ship by 2035. The ship’s parabolic bow and other design features aim to enhance fuel efficiency and reduce environmental impact.
The public reception to Icon of the Seas has been mixed. Cruise enthusiasts express excitement, while environmentalists question about the industry’s commitment to sustainable practices.
Cruise Critic’s Editor-in-Chief, Colleen McDaniel, says that the ship is the most researched topic on the cruising website in 2024.
As the Icon of the Seas charts its course through the Caribbean, the cruise industry faces scrutiny over its environmental footprint. European countries are implementing regulations to pollution from cruise ships in ports.
While LNG is currently the alternative fuel in the cruise industry, concerns about methane emissions persist.
Companies like Royal Caribbean are exploring other options, such as fuel cells, renewable hydrogen, and methanol.