With two Carnival Cruise Line cruise ships winning the most anticipated cruise ship category in the last two years, it was time for Royal Caribbean to step up to the plate and deliver. And deliver the Miami-based cruise line did with Icon of the Seas.
The largest cruise ship ever constructed, Icon of the Seas, will set sail in early 2024. Built as the ultimate family vacation, the cruise ship is packed with innovation and thrills, including the largest pool at sea and the biggest waterpark ever constructed on a cruise ship.
The World Awaits Icon of the Seas‘ Arrival
Icon of the Seas from Royal Caribbean International has been named the Most Anticipated New Cruise Ship in the 2022 Cruise Hive Ship Awards, receiving 37% of the votes.
This impressive cruise ship will weigh in at 250,800 gross tons. It will have space for 5,610 passengers at double occupancy and promises to be the ultimate family vacation destination.
Icon of the Seas will enter service in the first months of 2024, after a delay from its originally planned late 2023 launch, with a tentative sail date of Saturday, January 27. The cruise ship will operate from PortMiami, sailing on seven-day cruises to the Eastern and Western Caribbean, all with a call to Royal Caribbean’s private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay.
In second place in the awards was the Carnival Jubilee, with 32% of the votes. Carnival Jubilee is the sister ship to Carnival Celebration, the winner in 2021, and Carnival’s Mardi Gras, the winner of the most anticipated cruise ship category in 2020. Carnival Jubilee will operate from the Port of Galveston starting December 23, 2023.
In third place came Norwegian Viva, with 11% of the votes. The sister ship to Norwegian Prima will begin operations in August of 2023, sailing in the Mediterranean through October, before heading to the Caribbean for a season of sailings from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Other ships in the vote included the Celebrity Ascent, Brilliant Lady, Explora I, MSC Euribia, Seven Seas Grandeur, Silver Nova, Viking Saturn, and Vista from Oceania Cruises.
Voting opened in September of the year on Cruisehive.com, with readers allowed to cast one vote in a range of eight categories.
The World’s Largest Cruise Ship
The first of three Icon-class cruise ships, Icon of the Seas is the largest cruise ship ever built. The vessel is currently under construction at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland. This shipyard has now won the most-anticipated cruise ship award with a vessel constructed in Finland for three years running.
The first LNG-powered cruise ship for Royal Caribbean International reached a critical stage in her construction earlier this month when she was floated out for the first time on December 9.
From the largest pool to the biggest waterpark with six slides, Royal Caribbean thought of everything when it comes to entertainment and thrills onboard Icon of the Seas. The cruise ship will also have a never-seen-before entertainment venue onboard with Aquadome.
Shows include high divers from a pair of 60-foot high diving platforms, slackliners, and robots, along with 3-D flying aerialists. Special effects include high-definition screens, fog and smoke, lighting and water effects, and much more.
Construction will likely end in May or June next year, at which point the vessel will begin sea trials. This will take some time, seeing as Icon of the Seas is first in class, and systems need to be thoroughly tested before she can be released.
Two more Icon-class cruise ships are scheduled to be built in the coming years and are expected to enter service in 2025 and 2026, respectively.