Royal Caribbean International has introduced the world’s largest cruise ship, a behemoth boasting eight neighborhoods and the largest waterpark at sea

The world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean International’s Icon of the Seas, sailed from PortMiami on her maiden voyage January 27. At the naming ceremony on January 23, she was christened by Argentinian soccer superstar Lionel Messi, who serves as the ship’s godfather. And the Icon of the Seas has a Chief Dog Officer, a six-month-old Golden Retriever.

The New Cruise Ship’s Naming Ceremony

The Icon of the Seas’ naming ceremony, held in the ship’s AquaDome neighborhood, was hosted by four-time Emmy Award-winning TV host Mario Lopez. Messi, one of the greatest soccer players of all time, was named the “Icon of the Icon.” 

Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas has a total passenger capacity of 7,600.

Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas has a total passenger capacity of 7,600.

Sports icon Messi is an eight-time winner of the Ballon d’Or Player of the Year award and Time’s 2023 Athlete of the Year. After leading Argentina’s national team to a FIFA World Cup Title in 2022, he transferred to Inter Miami CF of Major League Soccer in 2023, becoming the most decorated and highest paid player in the league’s history.

Messi was joined onstage by Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, and Jason Liberty, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group, along with the Icon of the Seas’ captain, Henrik Loy. Richard Fain, the group’s chairman, was also present, as were Inter Miami teammates. Royal Caribbean International is the soccer team’s prime partner.

Messi placed a soccer ball atop a button that sent a huge bottle of Champagne crashing into the ship’s side. Attendees were treated to an impressive aqua and aerialist performance and more. Then the Icon of the Seas sailed out on a three-night inaugural cruise.

Rover, the Chief Dog Officer

Chief Dog Officer Rover will hang out on the bridge with the captain and perform daily walks across the ship. As a Royal Caribbean International release states, “Rover’s job is to bring joy and happiness to her fellow crew and guests onboard.” 

More About Icon of the Seas

 At 250,800 gross register tons and 1,198 feet long, the Icon of the Seas accommodates 5,610 guests based on double occupancy, with a maximum passenger capacity of 7,600. There are 2,350 crew members. The ship has eight neighborhoods, each designed to create unique travel experiences based on different vacation styles.

Among the 28 stateroom categories is Royal Caribbean’s first ever Infinite Balcony Room, equipped with a private terrace. It can accommodate up to four guests, as can the Surfside Family Suites, located in the heart of Surfside.



Entertainment Options on Icon of the Seas

Throughout the 20 decks, guests find many types of entertainment.

  • A rendition of The Wizard of Oz at sea takes place in the Royal Theater. The Broadway-style show features cast members floating over the audience, fake snow falling from the ceiling and other special effects.
  • The Aqua Theater, located within the AquaDome, provides diverse performances that blend live-action movies and theatrical experiences.
  • At Boleros Bar guests can hear Travesia bring Latin rhythms to life.
  • The Adult Comedy LIVE show, located in The Attic, provides lots of laughs.

Attractions Onboard Include the Debut of Crown’s Edge

Thrill Island, one of the Icon of the Seas’ five brand new neighborhoods, is located the top deck. It features several new attractions, including the largest waterpark at sea. 

Among the six waterslides is Pressure Drop, whose 66-degree incline makes it the industry’s first open free-fall slide. Other slides include the 46-foot-tall Frightening Bolt, the tallest drop slide at sea, plus the Storm Surge and Hurricane Hunter, which are the first family raft slides at sea, with four riders per raft.

Crown’s Edge, for those who dare

Crown’s Edge, for those who dare

Crown’s Edge debuts on the Icon of the Seas. Hanging over the ocean, it is part skywalk, part ropes course and part thrill ride. Mounted on the ship’s Crown & Anchor logo, Crown’s Edge features a suspended walkway that changes shapes and formats during its course. The ride culminates with the pathway unexpectedly dropping and leaving passengers hanging 154 feet above the ocean. The entire ride experience is about 90 seconds long, in addition to the preparation time, which takes 15 minutes. An additional fee is charged for those wishing to experience Crown’s Edge.

A New Addition at a Perfect Day at CocoCay

A Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private Bahamas island retreat, has a new addition just for adults – Hideaway Beach. This first ever private escape lets adults enjoy the stunning white sand and beautiful turquoise waters without any distractions. There are lounge chairs on both sides of the cove for guests to relax in, with free-flowing drinks and snacks.

Where Icon of the Seas is Sailing

On her maiden voyage, which departed PortMiami on January 27, the Icon of the Seas sailed on a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise that included A Perfect Day at CocoCay. Other Eastern Caribbean stops are Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas and St. Kitts & Nevis or St. Maarten.

The new ship’s Western Caribbean sailings visit Puerto Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico, and Roatan in Honduras, plus A Perfect Day at CocoCay. 

With diverse entertainment and dining options and new enticements like Hideaway Beach and a Chief Dog Officer, booking your next group cruise on the Icon of the Seas is definitely something to consider.

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By Cindy Bertram 

Lead Photo – Rover, Chief Dog Officer on the Icon of the Seas

Photos courtesy of Royal Caribbean International