With Icon of the Seas scheduled to debut next year, Royal Caribbean International has revealed new details of the first-of-its-kind family neighborhood, Surfside. The details come in the latest episode of the behind-the-scenes “Making an Icon” series, offering exciting insights to the hotly anticipated new vessel.
New Making an Icon Episode Released
The fifth episode of Royal Caribbean’s “Making an Icon” video series aptly named “Creating Surfside” as it is all about the new family-friendly Surfside neighborhood, the first signature neighborhood dedicated to younger families.
“Icon is going to be the best family vacation in the world,” said Jay Schneider, Chief Product Innovation Officer. “You can’t have an ultimate family vacation without a purpose-built neighborhood for families.”
All the details of Surfside, from activities to eateries to associated staterooms to overall theme and décor, have been carefully planned to provide opportunities for families to enjoy their cruise vacations together, rather than splitting spaces in different areas of the ship.
“Younger families make up quite a large, significant proportion of Royal Caribbean guests and we see that number increasing over time,” said Michael Bayley, President & CEO of Royal Caribbean International. “This is a space that’s very much dedicated towards a younger family.”
Royal Caribbean has researched cruise guests’ preferences and relied on families’ feedback to help plan Surfside, without compromising experiences for either parents or children.
First came the overall design of Surfside and the instant appeal it would have to young families. “It’s colorful, it’s vibrant, it’s bright, it’s reminiscent of a surfer town,” said Emily Ritter, Senior Product Owner, Product Development. “That evokes a lot of fun and imagination, but it also evokes this place where you can relax.”
Surfside is filled with bright tropical colors and fun decorative elements like palm trees, surfboards, wave-like curves, picket fences, and more. This gives the space a fun and festive atmosphere, ideal for an exciting family vacation.
Features of Surfside
The new neighborhood is filled with features all members of the family can enjoy. In keeping with all the fantastic water features found on Icon of the Seas, three unique water experiences are part of Surfside.
The first is Splashaway Bay, designed for kids with smaller waterslides, a splash bucket, play structure, fountains, and wading areas. Nearby is Baby Bay for much younger cruisers, with toddler-friendly depths.
Water’s Edge is at the very aft of the ship and is a stunning infinity pool, providing outstanding views and an amazing place to chill out while still keeping a watchful eye on the youngsters. Water’s Edge includes in-pool loungers, varying depths, and shaded spaces.
All three water areas are connected with crossover bridges and pathways for easy access so families can enjoy the entire space together.
Surfside is much more than water features, however. The popular carousel, first introduced on the Oasis-class ships, has been reimagined for Icon of the Seas with a tropical theme and eight new whimsical characters chosen by kids, including a flamingo, giraffe, and octopus.
Also in Surfside is a classic arcade with more than 30 different games, providing exciting fun for all ages.
All the youth spaces onboard Icon of the Seas, including Adventure Ocean and Social 020 are connected to Surfside, making the neighborhood convenient for everything young cruisers could want.
“It’s truly been designed to make sure that everything is connected,” said Jennifer Goswami, Director, Product Development. “No one needs to leave their experience to make sure someone else is okay.”
Dining in Surfside
In designing the family neighborhood, Royal Caribbean has also taken into consideration the different food and beverage tastes of different ages. Dining options in Surfside are varied, with delicious, easy options for every member of the family.
Surfside Bites offers quick grab-and-go dishes, while Surfside Eatery is Royal Caribbean’s first buffet just for families, with options for all tastes.
Pier 7 is a new specialty restaurant that offers a beachside, boardwalk-type experience. The Lemon Post Bar has both adult beverages and kid-friendly mocktails, a first in the travel industry – a bar designed for families.
More details on Surfside restaurants and dining options, including menu previews, is likely to be announced in the coming months as the ship’s debut draws closer.
Staterooms for Families
Finally, the Surfside neighborhood will also have stateroom options that keep families close to the fun but with their own private space to relax. A variety of cabin options are available, with larger staterooms that can welcome families 3, 4, 5, or even 6 members.
Infinite balcony cabins, interior cabins, and suites are all available, with living spaces for everyone to enjoy. “Families are looking for their own space and also the ability to connect within the room,” said Sean Treacy, Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations. “We’ve put that all into our thinking around these new rooms, such as the Surfside Suites.”
The Surfside Suite stateroom is new to Icon of the Seas, and features a kids’ nook as well as great views of the neighborhood. Split baths, larger spaces, extra televisions, and other details make each of these staterooms ideal for families.
The Ultimate Family Townhouse is a 3-story townhouse on the aft starboard side of the ship, with slides connecting between decks and space for up to 8 family members, with private access to Surfside. As the ultimate family living space, the townhouse has a private patio with family games, a karaoke setup, and much more.
With so much for the whole family, Icon of the Seas will undoubtedly be the ultimate family vacation at sea. The new ship is scheduled to debut in January 2024 and will be the largest ship in the world, weighing in at approximately 250,800 gross tons and with the capacity to welcome as many as 7,600 guests at full occupancy.
Stay tuned to Cruise Hive for more details and insider looks at Icon of the Seas in the coming months!