18 decks, seven pools and first ‘free-fall slide at sea’ – plans for new world’s biggest cruise ship revealed

Artists Impression: Icon of the Seas

A 'family townhouse' stateroom on Icon of the Seas

The ship's 'Central Park'

thumbnail: Artists Impression: Icon of the Seas
thumbnail: A 'family townhouse' stateroom on Icon of the Seas
thumbnail: The ship's 'Central Park'
Ella Doyle© Independent.co.uk

Royal Caribbean has announced plans for its newest cruise ship which, when built, will be the largest in the world.

The company’s latest vessel, named ‘Icon of the Seas’, will launch in January 2024.

It will overtake ‘Wonder of the Seas’, another Royal Caribbean cruise liner that currently holds the title of largest in the world.

Icon of the Seas will have 18 passenger decks, seven swimming pools and over 40 restaurants and bars on board. It will be able to hold 5,610 guests on board and have a gross tonnage of 250,800.

The luxury ship will also have eight “neighbourhoods” on board, each with its own distinct experiences, entertainment and food and drink options options.

A 'family townhouse' stateroom on Icon of the Seas

With an eye on breaking records, these neighbourhoods will hold a number of firsts: Thrill Island will feature the largest cruise ship water park, the first open free-fall slide at sea and a drop slide which will become the industry’s tallest.

The ship will also feature Chill Island, with ocean-view pools and a frozen cocktail bar, and The Hideaway, which will be home to the first suspended infinity pool at sea, surrounded by a multi-level sun terrace complete with whirlpools and a beach bar.

Other neighbourhoods include The Hideaway, Surfside and Aquadome, which will have its own AquaTheater.

The cruise is family-focused, with the introductions of the new Family Infinite Balcony and the Surfside Family Suite, as well as the Ultimate Family Townhouse (above), complete with a mailbox and signature white picket fence.

The ship's 'Central Park'

Icon of the Seas will sail on seven-night cruises all year round from Miami, with every itinerary stopping at CocoCay in The Bahamas.

It will be the first ship by the company with fuel cell technology, powered by liquified natural gas (clean burning fuel), making it the company’s most sustainable ship to date.

Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, said: “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.

"Now more than ever, families and friends are prioritising experiences where they can bond and enjoy their own adventures.”