Royal Caribbean’s new Icon of the Seas, world’s largest cruise ship, opens for bookings

The first voyages of the biggest cruise ship ever built are now available for booking.

Royal Caribbean on Monday began taking reservations for the initial sailings of its much-awaited Icon of the Seas — the first in a new series of vessels at the line that will be bigger than anything seen before in the cruise world.

For now, only members of Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society loyalty program can make reservations. However, bookings will open to all customers on Tuesday.

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At 250,600 tons, Icon of the Seas will be more than 6% bigger than the current size leader among cruise ships, Royal Caribbean’s 7-month-old Wonder of the Seas. It’ll be able to hold up to 7,600 passengers — a new record for a passenger ship.

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As previously announced, the first sailings of Icon of the Seas will be seven-night voyages to the Caribbean out of Miami, starting in January 2024. The ship will alternate between Eastern Caribbean and Western Caribbean itineraries, with four different routings now available for departures between January 2024 and April 2025:

  • Seven-night Eastern Caribbean voyages with stops at St. Kitts, St. Thomas and Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay. There are 17 such departures.
  • Seven-night Eastern Caribbean voyages with stops at St. Maarten (the Dutch side of the island of St. Martin), St. Thomas and Perfect Day at CocoCay. There are 16 such departures.
  • Seven-night Western Caribbean voyages with stops at Roatan, Honduras; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; and Perfect Day at Coco Cay. There are 31 such departures.
  • Seven-night Western Caribbean voyages with stops at Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; and Perfect Day at Coco Cay. There are two such departures.

The very first sailing of Icon of the Seas available for booking is scheduled for Jan. 27, 2024. As of early Monday, it was priced starting at $1,537 per person for the least-expensive windowless inside cabin — a significant premium to the typical seven-night Royal Caribbean cruise to the Caribbean. Balcony cabins for the sailing early Monday started at $1,958.

Icon of the Seas will have the biggest water park at sea. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

The initial voyage will be on the ship’s Eastern Caribbean routing that stops in St. Kitts.

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Later sailings of Icon of the Seas early Monday were available starting at $981 per person for an inside cabin. The least expensive voyage on the ship as of early Monday was a Sept. 14, 2024 departure to the Western Caribbean.

Currently under construction at the giant Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland, Icon of the Seas was ordered before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic brought a downturn in cruise bookings and has been under construction since June 2021.

Icon of the Seas features

When it’s finished, Icon of the Seas will have 18 passenger decks—two more than the current size leader Wonder of the Seas.

It’ll also be longer than Wonder of the Seas, by a tad. It’ll measure 1,198 feet long — 10 feet longer than Wonder of the Seas.

But its biggest difference may be in the number of passengers it will hold. Its maximum capacity of 7,600 will be about 7% higher than Wonder of the Seas’ maximum capacity of 7,084 passengers.

The bigger passenger capacity is in part due to the ship’s greater focus on family travelers. Icon of the Seas is being built with a lot more cabins that have plenty of extra bunks to accommodate families with many children. It’ll also have more amenities geared to families, including a new-for-the-line outdoor “neighborhood” called Surfside dedicated to families with young children.

Related: Icon of the Seas will cater to families

As announced on Thursday, Surfside will feature splash areas for babies and kids, pools and lounge spaces for parents, family-friendly eateries and shops, and a bar with “mommy and me” matching mocktails for kids and cocktails for grownups.

An artist’s drawing of a Panoramic Ocean View suite on Icon of the Seas. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Icon of the Seas will also feature the largest water park ever built on a cruise ship, with a record six decktop waterslides.

In all, the ship will include eight neighborhoods, as Royal Caribbean calls distinct areas of its bigger ships themed around specific activities. Five will be new to Icon and three are returning from the line’s last series of giant ships, the five-vessel Oasis class. The current size leader in the cruise world, Wonder of the Seas, is part of the Oasis class.

Icon of the Seas is just the first of three sister ships Royal Caribbean has on order for delivery by 2026 that will make up its new Icon class. The line also has one more Oasis-class ship on order for delivery in 2024.

The arrival of the Icon class is one of the biggest stories in the cruise world in more than a decade. When the first of the vessels begins debuting in 2024, it’ll mark the first time in 15 years that a new series of larger ships has arrived.

Royal Caribbean’s first Oasis-class ship, Oasis of the Seas, debuted in 2009. The line added additional Oasis-class vessels in 2010, 2016, 2018 and 2021, with each of the vessels being a little bigger than the last.

Ranging from 226,838 to 235,600 tons, the five Oasis-class ships are, in turn, more than 10% bigger than any other cruise vessels afloat.

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