Are we ever going to need a bigger boat? The world has a new largest cruise ship, and her name is Icon of the Seas.
The Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines vessel was sailed for the first time in inaugural sea trials, close to the Meyer Turku Shipyard in Finland, where she was built.
Completing four days of at-sea testing, the Icon was put through her paces last week, with key systems, engines and hull tested under the strains of 250,800 gross tonnage.
Operators Royal Caribbean report that the preliminary tests have been a success. However, to say all was “ship shape” would be inaccurate. The Icon is the shape of a small city.
Spread across 20 decks and 365 metres long, fully weighted, she will carry up to 7600 guests when she sails into Miami at the end of the year. At the prow an impressive 25-metre-tall glass structure - the ‘Aquadome’ - containing the tallest ‘waterfall at sea’. As possibly the only waterfall at sea, that didn’t stop them from reaching for the stars.
The ship is so large the builders refer to each section of the Icon as “neighbourhoods”, of which there are eight. This includes ‘Central Park’ - a landscaped, green space in the central cavity of the ship - furthering comparisons to a city at sea. Throughout these districts are a choice of 40 different diners and restaurants.
She is around five times the size of the Titanic. Her required crew alone is more than the famous liner - with a combined total of 2350 workers.
The Finnish shipyard first floated the enormous vessel in January this year, but this is the first time Icon has been out to open water.
“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, earlier this year.
During the trials, last week, she was operated by a team of just 450 specialists and four enormous tugboats. Royal Caribbean says these were the preliminary tests with a second set of sea trials scheduled that “will push Icon to its limits later this year”.
The Icon will be joined by a sister ship Utopia of the Seas, which is scheduled to go into service later next year. However, at a projected 236,860 Gross Tons for the second Oasis-class ship, the Icon still clinches the record as the world’s largest cruise ship.