Royal Caribbean Provides Update on Icon of the Seas Venue

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Anticipation is building for the upcoming Icon of the Seas, what will be Royal Caribbean International’s largest and most innovative ship in history.

One of the most unique aspects of the ship is the outstanding AquaDome, a first-of-its-kind venue, and the latest episode of “Making an Icon” goes behind the scenes to showcase that amazing space.

Icon of the Seas AquaDome

Royal Caribbean has released more details and teasers about AquaDome in Episode 4: Creating AquaDome, the latest in its “Making an Icon” video series.

The video not only outlines the features of the space, but includes both conceptual and construction footage of AquaDome, giving cruise fans a unique insight into the engineering and design expertise necessary to bring this transformational space to life, including a special look at the very first concept of AquaDome – sketched on a napkin.

Naval architects, interior designers, entertainers and more have all been part of the design process. The dome is comprised of 12 individual modules that took 8 months of assembly.

“We really needed to exert additional collaboration and testing to even do this,” said Kelly Gonzalez, vice president of architectural design and newbuilding for Royal Caribbean Group.

Not only was the design of the dome a collaborative effort between a variety of experts, but simply getting the dome into place aboard Icon of the Seas‘ hull was a massive, cross-disciplinary project.

At 363 tons, AquaDome is the largest structure of glass and steel that has ever been lifted onto a cruise ship, a process that took place over 80 hours at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland, where Icon of the Seas is under construction. The dome was lifted into place with a specialized rig in mid-November.

Features of the Venue

One of the five brand new neighborhoods aboard Icon of the Seas, AquaDome is more than just an entertainment venue.

“What we’ve tried to do is instead of designing a space for a single purpose or for a single point of time within the day, we’ve designed this so this can really operate through the course of the entire day, bringing more and more experiences to our guests,” said Jason Liberty, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group.

Royal Caribbean Icon of the Seas Dome
Courtesy: Royal Caribbean

Among those experiences will be the fantastic 220-degree ocean views, yet the space will be weather-controlled for enjoyment no matter what the outdoor conditions. Food and beverage venues will be found throughout AquaDome, as well as relaxing, Spanish-step style seating and lounges.

Shows of AquaDome

While the new neighborhood offers a great deal beyond just shows, it is the entertainment where AquaDome will truly shine. Shows will 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.

During the day, fountain shows will take place in AquaDome, and different lounge spaces may be used for other activities and gatherings as well.

“AquaDome programming should kind of transform from day to night,” said Claudia Diaz-Gonzalez, associate vice president of product development for Royal Caribbean International.

The venue is being described as a “tranquil oasis by day and a vibrant hot spot at night,” ensuring great diversity in what AquaDome offers to the up to 7,600 guests (full occupancy) who will sail aboard Icon of the Seas on every cruise.

Next Up for AquaDome

Now that the dome is in place, the outfitting of the interior space has begun. This includes not only the finishing details of seating, painting, flooring, and decorative elements, but also refining how the space is to be used and what new technologies and innovative features will be part of the venue.

Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas Cruise Ship
Render Courtesy: Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean International promises more updates on AquaDome in future “Making an Icon” episodes, with many more details of the amazing ship to be revealed in the next year, leading up to the vessel’s January 2024 debut.

The incredible new ship will homeport from Miami, offering 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries visiting popular ports as well as the cruise line’s private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay.

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