World's largest cruise ship 'Icon of the Seas' unveiled by Royal Caribbean

It will be home to a 16-metre-high waterfall, the biggest water park at sea and a gravity-defying infinity pool

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Royal Caribbean has unveiled details of the world’s largest cruise ship, the Icon of the Seas.

With the largest water park at sea and the first suspended infinity pool on a cruise ship, the first Icon Class vessel will set sail in January 2024.

It will also be home to a 16-metre-high waterfall, a rock-climbing wall, the company's first swim-up bar and its very own "Central Park" neighbourhood, inspired by New York City's famed urban park.

Sailing on seven-night journeys around the Caribbean from its port city of Miami, the megaship will open for bookings next Tuesday.

At 250,800 tonnes, the new ship is more than five per cent larger in volume than Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class vessels, making it the largest cruise ship in the world. Spanning more than 365 metres in length, the vessel clocks in three metres longer than the Wonder of the Seas, the current largest ship in the world.

With 2,805 staterooms, the ship's focus is family-style holidays and it has a capacity for 7,800 passengers and 2,350 crew members.

The ultimate family townhouse spans three levels and has a slide, cinema and karaoke system. Photo: Royal Caribbean

Accommodation includes an array of family staterooms, suites and the first Ultimate Family townhouse. Spanning three levels, this spacious retreat includes a slide, cinema, karaoke, huge balcony and a private entrance to the ship's Surfside family neighbourhood.

“With each new ship, we raise the bar in the travel industry while enhancing what our guests know and love,” said Jason Liberty, president and chief executive at Royal Caribbean Group.

“From the moment they step on board, every experience is specifically designed to give them the best vacation anywhere on land and at sea. With Icon of the Seas, we’ve taken this to a new level and made the ultimate family vacation.”

Six water slides and an over-the-edge rope course

Dare to walk Crown’s Edge on 'Icon of the Seas'. Photo: Royal Caribbean International

Spread across eight different neighbourhoods, each of which has themed entertainment, restaurants, bars and experiences, there are five new destinations on board, plus three zones that passengers will be familiar with from other Royal Caribbean ships.

Thrill Island is where passengers will find the largest water park at sea, with six water slides including Pressure Drop, the industry’s first open free-fall slide and the 14-metre-high Frightening Bolt, which the company claims is the tallest slide on the high seas. Travellers can also tackle Crown’s Edge, part skywalk, part rope course and part thrill ride, travellers dangle on a rope 45 metres above the waves.

On the opposite end of the scale, Chill Island is where four of the ship's seven pools are found, and it's the place to unwind and catch some rays. Here, there's the cruise line's first swim-up bar, plus an adults-only pool and Cove Pool which has comfy dome daybeds and uninterrupted ocean views.

Open-air Central Park and an Instagram-friendly beach club

Central Park will be filled with thousands of live plants, walkways and more. Photo: Royal Caribbean International

Central Park, an open-air neighbourhood filled with live plants, is also back on the world's largest cruise ship and, perhaps unsurprisingly, is bigger than ever.

Families will be able to make a beeline to Surfside where Splashaway Bay and Baby Bay await alongside a carousel, arcade and children's clubs. The Hideaway neighbourhood will be home to an Instagram-perfect beach club and the first suspended infinity pool at sea, hovering eight stories high.

On top of the world’s largest cruise ship is AquaDome — which by day will have its own waterfall and wraparound ocean views; by night, it will transform into the ship’s social hub with restaurants, bars and aqua shows where athletes and artists will perform in transforming pools, robotic arms and cutting-edge technology.

The ship is set to be unveiled in the UK later next year and start sailings from the US in 2024. Icon of the Seas will offer itineraries inclusive of a stop at Royal Caribbean’s private-island retreat, Perfect Day at CocoCay and the soon-to-open adults-only island Hideaway Beach. Rates have still to be announced. It is set to be larger than the cruise line's Utopia of the Seas, also set to arrive in 2024, though it is an Oasis-class ship.

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Updated: October 21, 2022, 10:19 PM
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