Odd Things About Icon Of The Seas, The World's Largest Cruise Ship

Year after year, cruise ships are getting bigger and crazier, and the Icon of the Seas is the latest sensation to make waves with its awe-inspiring grandeur. The Icon of the Seas is the freshest face in the Royal Caribbean cruise line family, dethroning its predecessor the Wonder of the Seas as the world's largest cruise ship. But beyond its sheer size, the Icon smashes many other records, claiming all sorts of "firsts" and "mosts."

With its exhilarating attractions and top-notch facilities, the Icon of the Seas raises the bar for sheer scale and family vacation options. Every little thing, from the water slides and the walk-up bars to the gigantic glass dome, is a game-changing detail that sets new standards for what a cruise ship can be.

The unveiling of the Icon of the Seas sent shockwaves through the internet, stirring up waves of excitement and curiosity. The photos alone fueled buzzing discussion on social media filled with different comments, opinions, and questions. That being said, let's dive into some wild and shocking facts about this extraordinary maritime marvel.

It's five times larger than the Titanic

It has been an enduring internet tradition that every time a new shiny cruise ship makes its debut, comparisons with the iconic Titanic inevitably arise. So here's how the Icon of the Seas measures up — it is five times larger than Titanic in terms of gross tonnage, boasting a staggering 240,800 gross tonnage (GT). This feat secures its position as the world's largest cruise ship, dethroning its older sister, the Wonder of the Seas, which held the title from 2022 to 2023 with a GT of 235,600.

Compared to the Titanic, which was the world's biggest ship at the time of its launch and measured 882 feet in length, the Icon of the Seas is approximately 35% longer with a length of 1,198 feet from bow to stern. For additional perspective, the Eiffel Tower stands at 1,083 feet tall, meaning you could technically horizontally fit the iconic architectural marvel inside this colossal cruise ship.

It can fit an entire population of a small city

The Icon of the Seas, with its extraordinary size, brings about an unprecedented guest capacity. The ship might as well be a self-contained metropolis adrift on the open seas complete with its own spaces and facilities. The Icon can accommodate a maximum of 7,600 passengers, surpassing the Wonder of the Seas, which is now the second-largest cruise ship, with a capacity of 6,988 passengers. To yet again compare the Icon with the Titanic, the latter had a total guest capacity of just 3,547 passengers, underscoring the substantial leap in size and capacity achieved by the Icon in the evolution of cruise ships over the decades.

And if that's not impressive enough, these figures do not even account for the crew, numbering an additional 2,350 individuals and bringing the total headcount to a remarkable 9,950 people. To provide perspective, this exceeds the population of Sedona, Arizona, which stands at 9,723 residents. In fact, only about 15% of cities and towns in the U.S. have a population larger than the Icon's guest capacity.

It holds the largest water park at sea

There's no experience quite like playing and soaking in a water park in the middle of the ocean. The Icon of the Seas takes this adventure to new heights with its expansive water park, aptly named Category 6. Spanning two decks and covering an impressive 17,000 square feet, it stands as the largest water park on any cruise ship. Yet, its appeal extends beyond mere size, as the water park features six record-breaking, world-first slides. Each has its own unique thrills, from the first open, free-fall slide at sea to the first family raft slide at sea.

Diving further into the on-board water attractions, the Icon of the Sea boasts a total of seven pools, each with its own fun theme and breathtaking ocean views. The Royal Bay Pool, an extensive oasis filled with over 40,000 gallons of water, holds the title of the largest pool at sea. Meanwhile, the Swim & Tonic is considered the largest swim-up bar at sea. For those seeking a more laid-back atmosphere, The Hideaway provides a tropical vibe with resident DJs and full-size daybeds spread across its multi-level lounge. It's also the first and, as of now, the only suspended infinity pool at sea, offering jaw-dropping, 180-degree ocean views.

Lionel Messi is the ship's godmother

It's customary for cruise ships to have a godmother, usually a female figure that symbolizes divine protection and safe voyages. The godmother will attend the ceremonial launch where they will bless and officially name the ship. Celebrities often fill this role, such as Whoopi Goldberg for Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas and Jennifer Hudson for Disney Dream. However, the role is not limited to celebrities — Marie McCrea is a civilian mom selected as the godmother for Wonder of the Seas through a TikTok contest.

Breaking from tradition, football legend Lionel Messi was appointed to name and christen the Icon of the Seas. While the role is comparable to the responsibilities of a godmother, Messi holds the title of the "Official Icon of Icon of the Seas". In a press release, Michael Bayley, the President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International noted, "It's that ability to make such a widespread impact and change the status quo that the Icon of Icon must personify, and Lionel Messi has proven to be the perfect example of that for years in the world of sports and most recently in introducing a new era of excitement and passion for football in Miami and the U.S."

It boasts its own Central Park with 33,500 live plants

Onboard the Icon of the Seas, passengers can seamlessly transition from the expansive open sea to the lush expanse of a park, all within seconds. The cruise ship boasts its own Central Park at sea, an awe-inspiring, open-air green space in the middle of the ship, adorned with over 33,500 live plants. This unique environment provides a serene natural setting with live music, shopping centers, as well as bars and dining options scattered throughout.

Although Central Park itself is not new to Royal Caribbean cruises, the Icon still stands out by incorporating an impressive 20% more plants than ever before, with a variety of trees, shrubs, and flowering plants. The Icon also presents new and unique establishments in the area, including Bubbles, a walk-up champagne bar at the heart of the park. Additionally, the Central Park neighborhood features Izumi in the Park, an all-day window offering a variety of Japanese street food, ranging from sashimi to ice cream. Music is also an integral part of the whole experience, serenading passengers with live jazz performances day and night.

It has the tallest waterfall at sea

A waterfall might not be the first thing that comes to mind when picturing a fun day in the middle of the ocean, but the Icon of the Seas delivers more than a few unexpected marvels. The AquaDome, proudly positioned at the front of the ship, is a massive space with a majestic glass roof that offers expansive ocean views. It also houses the tallest waterfall at sea, among other exciting attractions. Notably, the construction of this dome set the record as the largest glass and steel structure ever installed on a ship.

The waterfall itself commands everyone's attention as a shapeshifting engineering marvel, reaching an impressive height of 55 feet, securing its status as the tallest waterfall at sea. The AquaDome transforms throughout the day, offering various indulgences, from awe-inspiring sunrises to lively daytime activities. As evening descends, the waterfall becomes a dynamic backdrop for a diverse range of entertainment shows held nightly. So, beyond its sheer size and height, the waterfall sets a dramatic scene with its energetic movements and captivating lighting that elevates the experience of each performance.

Guests can enjoy entertainment by robots

Beyond its enchanting attractions and state-of-the-art facilities, the Icon of the Seas takes its commitment to entertainment to new heights. Passengers can relish a diverse array of shows and performances every single day, put together by hundreds of divers, skaters, acrobats, musicians, comedians, and notably, robots. Yes, four advanced robotic systems make their debut as entertainers, allowing for next-level feats and performances for their human counterparts.

These performances feature 3D flying systems that empower the performers to do never-seen-before aerial dances, practically flying above and around the audience. The Icon also introduces full-scale productions, including "The Wizard of Oz," marking the first time a cruise line has presented this classic. Other highlights include Olympic-level acrobatics, multi-sensory live music, and many more, ensuring a diverse range of top-tier entertainment for every taste. All of this unfolds against the backdrop of majestic, panoramic ocean views, set within a record-breaking glass geodesic dome that only enhances and heightens the unforgettable experience.

It has 20 decks and eight neighborhoods

Although we've established that the Icon of the Seas stands as the largest cruise ship ever, there are so many ways and dimensions to really grasp just how enormous it actually is. The Icon has a towering 20 decks, meaning its height matches a 20-story building floating at sea. Eighteen of these decks are open for general passengers to explore, and they are home to eight distinct neighborhoods, each offering its own themes and attractions. 

Previously, we've delved into the AquaDome which features a theater, robots, and a 55-feet waterfall. That's just one out of eight neighborhoods. Thrill Island is home to Category 6, which is the largest water park at sea, as well as a minigolf course, a surf simulator, and many other exhilarating rides. Moving on, Chill Island provides a more relaxed ambiance with even more pools, restaurants, and bars.

Meanwhile, Central Park offers an open-air lush environment surrounded by shops and concept restaurants. The Hideaway is an adult-only area on the cruise featuring the first suspended infinity pool at sea, while Surfside is a dedicated neighborhood designed specifically for families. Lastly, the Suite is an exclusive neighborhood for suite passengers, while the Royal Promenade features The Pearl installation, as well as the Royal Theater, shops, and restaurants.

One of the neighborhoods is made for families

One of the eight neighborhoods aboard the Icon of the Seas is exclusively designed for families, making sure parents can enjoy the cruise with the kids, bonding and enjoying quality time together — or near each other. Surfside is filled with a variety of adventures to immerse in for adults, teenagers, and kids of all ages in one area. The complex includes water activities like Baby Bay and Splashaway Bay for children to play around, while adults can relax and enjoy the majestic ocean views just steps away at Water's Edge Pool.

After hours of fun, families can gather for a meal at one of the family-friendly restaurants scattered throughout the Surfside neighborhood. Options range from buffet delights at Surfside Eatery to all-day brunch and beachside bites at Pier 7. Passengers can even take the kids to the bar and find separate menus tailored for kids and adults at Lemon Post. The neighborhood also features Social 020, a designated hangout spot for teenagers aged 17 and under. Here, teens can unwind and enjoy music, movies, gaming consoles, and various other age-appropriate activities.

Passengers can jump off the ship

Not for the faint of heart, the Crown's Edge presents a walkway suspended 155 feet above the ocean. It will take the most daredevil passengers to the very edge of the ship, where they will be challenged to make their way along the skywalk extending beyond the ship's perimeter toward the open sea.

Imagine the adrenaline rush as you take step after step, the ocean breeze brushing against you as you look down into the depths of the vast open sea. As you reach the end of the walkway, it's time to face the thrilling climax. The path collapses, propelling you above the ocean, and you glide through a rope course safely to the cruise's deck.

While other Royal Caribbean cruises have previously introduced zip line rides, the Crown's Edge is a pioneer and the first of its kind. An attraction not found anywhere else and aptly perched on Thrill Island at the Icon's uppermost deck, the Crown's Edge promises an unparalleled adventure for those seeking the ultimate test of courage.

It has fewer cabins than its predecessor

Despite being able to host more guests on board than any other ships before, the Icon of the Seas actually has fewer cabins than its predecessors. For instance, the Wonder of the Seas has a maximum guest capacity of 7,084 people, while the Icon of the Seas can accommodate 7,600 passengers. However, the Wonder of the Seas surpasses the Icon in cabin count, totaling 2,874 rooms, while the Icon offers "only" 2,805.

This gap only means that the Icon focuses on larger cabins that accommodate more than two people. That extends the total guest capacity beyond its double occupancy. In fact, more than 82% of Icon's rooms are designed for three or more guests, making it an ideal choice for a family vacation. Guests can select from various accommodation options, including the spacious Suite Stateroom, Balcony Stateroom, Ocean View Stateroom, or Interior Stateroom. These room categories are further refined by subcategories, making sure guests can choose accommodations that better meet their needs and preferences.

The largest room spans three levels with its own backyard

The Icon of the Seas takes family vacations to unprecedented levels of comfort and luxury, with larger rooms and more suites tailored to accommodate the entire family. The largest suite in the Icon is the Ultimate Family Townhouse, boasting an expansive 1,772 square feet spread across three levels. Featuring two bedrooms capable of accommodating up to eight individuals, this suite is equipped with its own cinema room, two balconies, and a private backyard!

Beyond the room sizes, the family-focused design is also evident in every detail, from the room layout to the amenities and in-suite activities. For one, the tube slide that connects the upper floor to the living room is guaranteed to keep the kids busy, not to mention the popcorn machine, ping pong table, whirlpool, video games, and more, making the suite a retreat in itself. Guests of the Ultimate Family Townhouse can also enjoy direct access to Surfside, the neighborhood dedicated to families. This luxury comes at a price, however, with an average cost of $80,000 a week. Even so, demand is exceptionally high, as the suite is completely booked for the entirety of 2024.

It has more than 40 restaurants and bars

The Icon of the Seas boasts 40+ places to eat and drink to your heart's content across the board, scattered in every neighborhood. This means passengers can dine at different restaurants for every single meal during the seven-day journey. More than 20 of these restaurants are new to the line, each with its own unique concept and allure. Passengers can enjoy some of these cruise restaurants free of charge, including the AquaDome Market with its wide selection of menu, buffet at Surfside Eatery, pizza at Sorrento's, and about a dozen more options.

For guests who don't mind paying extra for a more elevated dining experience, the choices are endless. Guests can try the eight-course menu at Empire Supper Club in its New York ambiance or check out Dueling Piano, a piano bar where two pianists take requests from passengers in an impressive music battle. For special occasions, guests can also reserve the Celebration Table in AquaDome, a VIP private dining room with family-style, prix fixe menus to choose from.

It has seen record-breaking booking

The Icon of the Seas has been making waves ever since it was first announced in October 2023. Unveiled as the world's to-be largest ship, it garnered attention worldwide for its numerous record-breaking feats. But beyond its features and facilities, the Icon also shattered records in bookings. Royal Caribbean experienced its single largest booking day when reservations first opened for the Icon of the Seas, also marking the highest volume booking week in the line's 53-year history.

The maiden voyage of Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas took place on January 27, 2024, and tickets sold out in less than 24 hours. For its inaugural journey, the Icon departed on its seven-day Eastern Caribbean journey from Miami Port to Basseterre in Saint Kitts, Saint Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Perfect Day at CocoCay in the Bahamas before heading back to Miami. After that, the ship will continue to sail all year long with four route options covering the Eastern and Western Caribbean, Mexico, and the Bahamas.