New Royal Caribbean Ship Hopes To Rival Disney For Family Vacations

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The newest ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet promises to be one of the most family-friendly cruise experiences yet, debuting in January 2024.Photo credit: GTS Productions / Shutterstock.com

Royal Caribbean is kicking off a new era of vacations. It’s revealed the first look at the highly anticipated Icon of the Seas, which arrives in late 2023 ahead of its January 2024 debut. The first Icon Class ship will be the travel industry’s first-of-its-kind combination of the best of every vacation.

“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 CEO of 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.”

From the beach retreat to the resort escape and the theme park adventure, there is something for everyone. Guests can book their adventure starting Tuesday, October 25. Crown & Anchor loyalty members can look for special access on Monday, October 24.

Royal Caribbean’s Neighborhoods

Royal Caribbean’s Icon spotlights eight neighborhoods that come alive day and night and include five brand-new adventures and three returning favorites. Each is an experience in itself filled with live entertainment and ways to grab food and drinks.

“Icon of the Seas is the culmination of more than 50 years of delivering memorable experiences and our next bold commitment to those who love to vacation,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. “Now more than ever, families and friends are prioritizing experiences where they can bond and enjoy their own adventures. We set out to create a vacation that makes all that possible in one place for thrill-seekers, chill enthusiasts, and everyone in between, without compromise. It’s this first-of-its-kind combination that makes Icon the future of family vacations, and that future is here.”

Thrill Island

This lost island adventure includes Category 6, the largest waterpark at sea with six record-breaking slides. The Pressure Drop and its 66-degree incline make it the industry’s first open, free-fall slide. Storm Surge and Hurricane Hunter are the first family raft slides at sea with four riders per raft.

Chill Island

Four of the seven pools on-board are located on this three-deck slice of paradise. There’s a pool with ocean views for every mood. Swim & Tonic is the lines’ first swim-up bar at sea. Royal Bay Pool is the largest pool at sea, Cloud 17 is an adults-only retreat, and there is also an infinity-edge Cove Pool. The Lime & Coconut has four locations and is Royal Caribbean’s first frozen cocktail bar.


This new neighborhood is designed for young families where adults and kids ages 6 and under can play all day. Parents can soak up views at Water’s Edge Pool and still keep an eye on the kids at Splashaway Bay and Baby Bay. There are also places to get food and relax, a bar, the signature carousel, an arcade, the Adventure Ocean, and Social020 for teens.

The Hideaway

Located 135 feet above the ocean, this neighborhood combines the good vibes of beach club scenes around the world and uninterrupted ocean views. It also has the first suspended infinity pool at sea right in the center of it all.


At the top of Icon, this place allows you to relax during the day and enjoy the views. At night, it transforms into a place for a night out with restaurants, bars, and the cruise line’s marquee aqua show at AquaTheater. The signature entertainment features cutting-edge technology with a transforming pool, four robotic arms, state-of-the-art projections, and more.

Familiar Favorites

Icon will also include some familiar favorites for Royal Caribbean fans, but will also raise the bar. A grander Royal Promenade features its first floor-to-ceiling ocean views, plus more than 15 restaurants, cafes, bars, and lounges. It will also include the largest Suite Neighborhood with three decks of luxury, offering a multi-level suite and sun deck. The Grove has a private pool, whirlpool, dining, and the two-story Coastal Kitchen.

Other fun favorites include new takes on mini golf at Lost Dunes, rock climbing at Adrenaline Peak, and Absolute Zero — Royal Caribbean’s largest ice arena. Dining options feature places like Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, and the Asian-inspired Izumi.

28 Ways To Stay

There are rooms designed for every type of guest. There are new layouts made for families of three, four, five, and more. The Family Infinite Balcony and Surfside Family Suite have kid alcoves tucked away from adults. The three-story Ultimate Family Townhouse has its own white picket fence and mailbox. The brand’s first Sunset Corner Suites and Panoramic Ocean Views have the best views among the brand’s offerings.

Icon Sailings

The Icon will sail year-round on Western Caribbean vacations from Miami, Florida. Every cruise will visit Royal Caribbean’s private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay in the Bahamas. The island includes Thrill Waterpark’s 13 waterslides, including the tallest in North America; Coco Beach Club, which features the first overwater cabanas in the Bahamas; and Up, Up, & Away, a helium balloon adventure. When Icon arrives at CocoCay, it will debut the island’s adults-only Hideaway Beach with a pool, private cabanas with pools, and views of the ocean.

Vacationers will also visit Caribbean gems like Cozumel, Mexico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Roatan, Honduras.

Clean-Energy Cruise

The debut of Icon is also the next step in Royal Caribbean’s journey toward a clean-energy future. Icon will be the cruise line’s first ship with fuel-cell technology powered by liquefied natural gas, the cleanest-burning marine fuel. Along with other proven applications, such as shore power connection and waste heat recovery systems, the new ship will be the cruise line’s most sustainable to date.

More details will be revealed about Icon in the coming months.

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