The sea is a focal point for any cruise, and Royal Caribbean International’s latest cruise ship, Icon of the Seas, takes this to new heights.
The cruise line has released a new video in its ‘Making an Icon’ series, revealing the intricate engineering behind the ship’s expansive pool decks.
The video also explains how the cruise line’s engineers managed to get onboard thousands of tons of water and create what will be the most spectacular set of pools at sea. She will sail from Miami, Florida, early next year.
Engineering a Water Wonderland at Sea
Chill Island and The Hideaway embody more than your standard pool deck. Located at the ship’s top and mid-section, Chill Island is a multi-level experience centered around relaxation.
“We dedicated an entire neighborhood to Icon to Chill because chill can mean different things to different people. Our guests also travel with different mindsets.”
“Chill Island was really based on that mindset. This is everything from relaxing poolside, listening to the Caribbean band, or even engaging in the Swim Up Bar, Swim and Tonic. The Hideaway should be a little bit of a day club, beach club kind of vibe with this incredible infinity pool,” according to Jennifer Goswami and Emily Rodriguez at Royal Caribbean.
Both neighborhoods were thoughtfully designed around guests’ connection to the ocean, using advanced nautical technology to amplify this connection. The novelty is not limited to the number of pools but also lies in their positioning.
“The naval architects, innovators, designers, and engineers, designed both neighborhoods around the research that showed everyone is looking for more connections to the ocean when it comes down to market research and, of course, understanding what our guests are looking to do,” said Royal Caribbean Group CEO Jason Liberty.
The result is a staggering 62% more water surface area than today’s largest cruise ships spread across no less than seven different pools.
Icon of the Seas, 250,800 gross tons and with a capacity to host around 7,600 guests, is truly a testament to modern maritime architectural design. It’s not just the huge amount of water onboard and the massive size of the ship that makes it stand out, but also the careful planning and ingenious design to provide a unique cruise experience.
A Deeper Dive into the Pools of Icon of the Seas
Adding more pools than ever before was the driving force behind the Icon of the Seas design. Given the staggering amount of water they had to incorporate—between 500 and a thousand tons—it was no small feat.
Harry Kulovaaro, VP of Maritime and Newbuilding: “It’s a large ship, and that canvas allows us to bring forward a lot of incredible experiences, and so with a larger canvas, it gives us the opportunity to bring more pools. Normally, a ship has maybe a couple of hundred tons of water in the pools here we said that we will have between 500 and thousand tons of water.”
The crowning achievement is Royal Bay, the largest pool ever at sea, with 5,813 square feet of water. Described as a multi-level experience, Royal Bay offers a variety of aquatic adventures within the pool itself.
The standout feature of the Royal Bay pool is its wading area, characterized by its shallow water depth that steadily gets deeper. Complemented by a pair of hot tubs and built-in seating arrangements, Royal Bay guarantees a great swimming experience.
Another highlight is Swim and Tonic, the ship’s swim-up bar. Guests can enjoy handcrafted gin and tonics without ever leaving the pool. Lively music, a whirlpool, and a party atmosphere contribute to the space.
“We are bringing Swim and Tonic to Icon of the Seas. It’s our first true swim-up bar. It’s gonna be a party vibe all day. A DJ is right there, and we’ve really designed it in a way that allows for dancing. If you want to, on a more shallow end of the pool, it has a whirlpool right next to it. Swim and tonic is gonna be a unique space.”
Quiet and Busy Areas
A haven of tranquility, the Cove Pool offers a more serene experience. Located right on the ship’s edge, this pool lets guests relax in the water while gazing out into the ocean.
For an even more exclusive experience, the Suite Neighborhood features a private pool and hot tub exclusively for guests staying in Star- or Sky-level suites.
At the aft of the ship, guests will find the world’s first suspended infinity pool at sea, part of the beach club experience in the Hideaway. Overlooking the wake of the ocean, this pool offers unmatched views, particularly at sunset.
Apart from the alluring swimming pools, guests can enjoy a wide range of poolside activities. From casual bites to drinks and tropical vibes, Chill Island and the Hideaway offer an extensive array of entertainment. There are also plenty of choices for food and beverages, with four different bars on the pool deck and new food booths serving diverse cuisines.
Besides the enormous amount of pools onboard, guests can also look forward to enjoying the biggest waterpark ever constructed onboard a cruise ship, Category 6 Waterpark.
Exciting Times Ahead
Icon of the Seas will offer weeklong Eastern Caribbean cruises to Phillipsburg, St Maarten; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Basseterre, St Kitts & Nevis; and Perfect Day at CocoCay. Western Caribbean cruises will sail to Roatan, Honduras; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Cozumel, Mexico.
The inaugural sailing for the world’s biggest cruise ship is scheduled for January 27, 2024. She will be homeported in Miami through April 2025.
With an array of pools, innovative food and beverage options, and activities galore, Icon of the Seas sets the stage for an unforgettable vacation. The next episode of ‘Making an Icon’ promises to offer more insights into one area no guests will ever see, the crew’s very own neighborhood.