The next generation of ships for Royal Caribbean International is officially underway and has reached a major milestone as the keel has been laid for Icon of the Seas.
The ceremony, which marks the beginning of the ship’s physical assembly, took place at the Meyer Turku shipyard in southern Finland, on April 5, 2022.
Ceremonial Coins and Keel Laying
The keel laying ceremony includes the maritime tradition of placing a massive steel block into the building dock on top of freshly minted coins, which represent the shipyard and cruise line.
These coins are meant to bring luck during construction, and they will be retrieved and given to the ship’s captain and crew before setting sail to continue that good spirit on the open water.
“Five years ago, we began dreaming of Icon of the Seas, and now the next phase of this iconic adventure is beginning,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International.
Other Royal Caribbean and Meyer Turku senior executives also attended the momentous event, including Jason Liberty, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group; Richard Fain, chairman of Royal Caribbean Group; Bernard Meyer, Meyer Group Managing Partner; and Tim Meyer, Meyer Turku CEO.
The ship’s physical construction began 10 months ago, in June 2021, with the first steel cut for the vessel. The keel-laying is another critical milestone in the construction, right on time as the ship makes progress toward completion.
Royal Caribbean’s First LNG-Powered Ship
Icon of the Seas will be the first ship in Royal Caribbean International’s fleet to be powered by liquified natural gas (LNG), the cleanest fuel available to large cruise ships.
Combining LNG with the cruise line’s already proven environmental practices, such as shore power connection and waste heat recovery that repurposes excess energy to help power ship operations, Icon of the Seas will be an important step in Royal Caribbean’s journey toward a clean-energy future.
Other advancements and innovations are likely aboard Icon of the Seas, and details will be revealed throughout the ship’s construction.
“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,” Bayley said.
Icon of the Seas was first announced in 2016, under the code name “Project Icon.” Scheduled to debut in the fall of 2023, the namesake of the new class is the first of three Icon-class ships already ordered by Royal Caribbean International.
Two sister ships, both of which will also be LNG-powered, have been tentatively scheduled for 2025 and 2026, though no further updates have been made about those upcoming vessels.
Icon of the Seas is anticipated to be one of the largest cruise ships in the world, weighing in at roughly 200,000 gross tons and with a projected guest capacity of approximately 5,650 passengers at double occupancy.
These details are only preliminary, however, and additional information will be released as the ship nears completion in the months ahead.
Though impressive, it is expected that the Oasis-class ships, led by the fleet’s new flagship and currently the largest cruise ship in the world, Wonder of the Seas, will still be larger than Icon of the Seas.
As Royal Caribbean International has a well-earned reputation for innovation, however, Icon of the Seas is sure to have amazing features and brand new options to amaze and thrill guests on what will undoubtedly become an iconic ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet.
Stay tuned to Cruise Hive for further updates and new information about Icon of the Seas as more updates are revealed.