World’s Largest Cruise Ship Debuts at Western Caribbean Cruise Port

Roatan, an island in Honduras, welcomed Icon of the Seas for the first time - celebrating the impact the ship will have on the local economy and tourism.

Royal Caribbean’s newest ship has been making waves throughout the Caribbean with cruise ports eager to welcome Icon of the Seas. As of March 4, 2024, Roatan became the latest destination to receive an inaugural call from the world’s largest cruise ship. 

Icon of the Seas debuts in Roatan

Being one of the newest ships on the high seas comes with a lot of firsts. The latest milestone for Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas, which officially entered service on January 27, 2024, was making its debut in Roatan, Honduras. 

Roatan celebrated the arrival of the world’s largest cruise ship, which has the ability to carry up to 7,600 guests and 2,350 crew members to the Western Caribbean Island. This is great news for the local economy, which relies heavily on tourism. 

“It is a historic day for tourism in Honduras with the arrival of the largest cruise ship in the world to the beautiful island of Roatán; It is great news because of the economic benefits and benefits it will bring to the islands and without a doubt we will continue to receive cruises of this size,” said Yadira Gómez, Minister of Tourism.

The historic visit comes just a day after the 250,800 gross-ton ship made headlines for a heroic rescue at sea. On March 3, 2024, Icon of the Seas was sailing near Honduras when it came across 14 individuals who had been stranded for eight days on an ill-equipped raft. 

The luxury cruise liner transformed into a maritime miracle worker to bring all 14 people safely onboard. From there, crew members provided them with sustenance and medical attention.

Icon of the Seas in Roatan
Icon of the Seas in Roatan (Photo Credit: Honduras Tourism)

Read Also: Icon of the Seas vs Titanic: A Giant Comparison

At the instruction of the U.S. Coast Guard, Icon of the Seas brought the refugees to its next port of call to meet up with the Merchant Navy of Honduras, which just so happened to be the ship’s debut in Roatan. 

A life-saving rescue mission and an inaugural port call are a lot of excitement for one cruise, but all of this has already happened on a 7-night Western Caribbean sailing that embarked from Miami on March 2, 2024.

With several more days to go and a trip to CocoCay in the Bahamas before the ship returns to Miami on March 9, it will be interesting to see what other excitement might unfold. 

Roatan Reports Welcomed Growth In Cruise Tourism

Roatan, Honduras, is already home to two cruise ports, making it well equipped to handle increased numbers of cruise passengers. 

Royal Caribbean ships, like Icon of the Seas, dock at Coxen Hole Roatan Cruise Port, which is also managed by Royal Caribbean International. The port is located in the Town Center of Coxen Hole, the capital of Roatan, and can service up to three cruise ships at once. In addition to Royal Caribbean Cruises, the port is also utilized by Norwegian Cruise Line and Celebrity Cruises.

Icon of the Seas in Roatan
Icon of the Seas in Roatan (Photo Credit: Honduras Tourism)

The other cruise port, called Mahogany Bay, is only about 8 km, or 5 miles away, located in Dixon Cove. Mahogany Bay is owned by Carnival Corporation, and is typically only used by Carnival and its sister cruise lines, such as Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, and Costa Cruises. 

According to the Honduran Government, cruise tourism in the Caribbean country has been trending upward. In 2023, Honduras welcomed 1.4 million passengers to Roatan – an increase of 47.6%

“Every week, more cruise ships choose Roatan as an important stop on their itinerary, and this is a clear indication of the increasingly prominent status that the island of Roatán has achieved in the Caribbean tourism landscape,” the Institute of Tourism stated. 

Icon of the Seas will also return to Roatan as the vessel continues to alternate between Western and Eastern Caribbean Cruises, inevitably making more maiden calls along the way. So far, the world’s largest vessel has also already made noteworthy inaugural calls to destinations like St. Kitts and Nevis on January 30; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands on January 31; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten on February 13.

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