Royal Caribbean’s newest cruise ship, Icon of the Seas, will be the biggest cruise ever built when she sails. The LNG-powered ship is currently under construction, and until now, we expected that the new Icon-class of ships would be slightly bigger than the Quantum-class but smaller than the current largest cruise ships, the Oasis-class.
Will Icon Of The Seas be The Biggest Ship In The World?
Somewhat unexpectedly, Royal Caribbean confirmed this week that its newest class of ships, the Icon class, will be bigger than the Oasis class of ships.
As reported by Travel Weekly, the Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations, Sean Treacy, confirmed, “Icon will be the biggest. It launches in the fall of next year and will be the first new ship class for Royal in a decade,” Sean Treacy said.
It was further confirmed by a spokesperson for the cruise line, who said: “Icon-class ships will be bigger than our Oasis-class.”
Icon of the Seas is the first of two Royal Caribbean ships currently under construction powered by LNG. Two sister ships will join her in 2025 and 2026, respectively.
The ships will be over 200,000 gross tons but are expected to have a lower capacity than the Oasis-class. Even with lower capacity, the Icon class could still be larger, and that may be due to more open spaces and features. Royal Caribbean will be releasing further details in the future.
Royal Caribbean said the following about Icon of the Seas earlier this year: “Icon will set sail next year with the latest innovations and signature features Royal Caribbean’s teams have imagined and reimagined in bold, new ways, including a shift toward cleaner energy.”
“The first of three Royal Caribbean ships will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) – the cleanest fossil fuel available to cruise ships today.“
“Combining LNG with a lineup of the cruise line’s proven applications, such as shore power connection and waste heat recovery systems that repurpose excess energy to help power the ship’s operations, Icon will be the next important step in Royal Caribbean’s journey toward a clean-energy future.”
Icon of the Seas is currently under construction at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland. In April 2022, the vessel just recently reached a major milestone with the keel-laying ceremony. The ship’s physical construction first started in June 2021.
Michael Bayley, Royal Caribbean’s president and CEO, recently said: “Five years ago, we began dreaming of Icon of the Seas, and now the next phase of this iconic adventure is beginning. As this game-changing ship takes shape, the excitement from families and travelers alike, travel advisors and our partners continues to build.“
“Later this year, we’ll reveal the lineup of firsts and favorites that will set a new standard for vacations come fall 2023.”
Utopia of the Seas, the LNG-powered Oasis-class ship under construction in France, would have been the biggest cruise ship in the world. It seems likely that this will no longer be the case.
The End of an Era?
When Icon of the Seas enters service, and she is the biggest cruise ship globally, it will ring in the end of an era. Oasis of the Seas was the first Oasis-class ship to begin sailing in 2009. When Royal Caribbean unfolded the plans for the vessels, many believed it unlikely Royal Caribbean could make ships of this size work effectively.
The cruise line has not only proved those people wrong, but it has also shown the world a whole new side of cruising. With a split structure and the 5-deck high Central Park and Boardwalk outdoor areas running down the ship’s middle, the Oasis-class ships became one of the most popular cruise ship classes in history.
Oasis of the Seas was the biggest cruise ship of all time when she sailed for the first time in 2009. Measuring 225,282 gross tons and with space for 5,606 passengers at double occupancy, she changed cruising forever.
Since then, she has been surpassed by her sisters, Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas, and the current biggest cruise ship, Wonder of the Seas, measuring 236,857 gross tons and with space for 5,734 passengers at double occupancy.