The world's largest cruise ship sets sail from Miami

The 365 metre-long Icon of the Seas has 20 decks, seven pools and can carry up to 7,600 passengers at maximum capacity, along with 2,350 crew members

By AP

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The Icon of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship, sits docked after arriving to its home port in Miami, on January 10, 2024. — AP
The Icon of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship, sits docked after arriving to its home port in Miami, on January 10, 2024. — AP

Published: Sun 28 Jan 2024, 3:15 PM

Last updated: Sun 28 Jan 2024, 3:16 PM

The world's largest cruise ship — the size of almost four city blocks — beginn its maiden voyage on Saturday as it leaves from the Port of Miami.

Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas runs nearly 365 metres from bow to stern.

The ship, which is leaving South Florida for its first seven-day island-hopping voyage through the tropics, was officially christened on Tuesday with help from soccer legend Lionel Messi and his Inter Miami teammates.

Employees and visitors walk in the Royal Promenade area of Icon of the Seas on January 11, 2024, at PortMiami in Miami. — AP
Employees and visitors walk in the Royal Promenade area of Icon of the Seas on January 11, 2024, at PortMiami in Miami. — AP

“Icon of the Seas is the culmination of more than 50 years of dreaming, innovating and living our mission – to deliver the world’s best vacation experiences responsibly," Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty said earlier this week. “She is the ultimate multigenerational family vacation, forever changing the status quo in family travel and fulfilling vacation dreams for all ages on board.”

The ship sets sail as Royal Caribbean’s cruises are having a moment online. Since December, the company’s 9-month “Ultimate World Cruise” has captivated — and confused — a following of avid watchers on social media.

Millions are following the journey through the eyes of the passengers, as they live and post their lives aboard a vessel they’ll be on for nearly a year. If it sounds like a reality show, that’s exactly what some watchers have turned it into.

When the Icon of the Seas was first revealed in October 2022, the ship spurred the single largest booking day and the highest volume booking week in Royal Caribbean’s then 53-year history, according to the cruise line.

Waterslides are seen atop a deck overlooking floors of rooms aboard Icon of the Seas on January 11, 2024, in Miami.  — AP
Waterslides are seen atop a deck overlooking floors of rooms aboard Icon of the Seas on January 11, 2024, in Miami. — AP

The Icon of the Seas is divided into eight neighborhoods across 20 decks. The ship includes six waterslides, seven swimming pools, an ice skating rink, a theater and more than 40 restaurants, bars and lounges. The ship can carry up to 7,600 passengers at maximum capacity, along with 2,350 crew members.

It is powered by six dual-fuel engines, which can be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), a fuel alternative that the Cruise Lines International Association says reduces sulfur and greenhouse gas emissions. However, some environmentalists worry LNG-powered ships increase methane emissions. Other say that vacationers generate eight times more carbon on a cruise than they do on land.

Royal Caribbean says every kilowatt used on the Icon of the Seas “is scrutinized for energy efficiencies and emission reductions.”


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