World's Largest Cruise Ship: Meyer Turku Delivers Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas
Finnish shipbuilder Meyer Turku on Monday delivered the world's largest cruise ship, the 248,655 GT Icon of the Seas, to U.S.-based Royal Caribbean International.
The 365-meter-long cruise ship has 20 decks (including 18 guest decks) and surpasses the previous world's largest, Royal Caribbean's Oasis-class Allure of the Seas. With 2,805 staterooms, Icon is able to carry 5,610 passengers at double occupancy, or up to 7,600 passengers if every cabin is maxed out—another cruise industry record. It has capacity for a crew of 2,350.
"Icon of the Seas is the world's largest, but above all, the world's most advanced cruise ship. Together with Royal Caribbean, we set the bar exceptionally high in terms of design, technology, safety and reducing energy consumption," said Tim Meyer, CEO of Meyer Turku. "Icon of the Seas is a revolutionary ship and at the same time a significant step towards the green transition, which is the shipyard's most important competitive advantage."
The state-of-the-art cruise ship is being touted as Royal Caribbean's most environmentally friendly, as the operator makes strides toward its goal to have a net zero carbon vessel in its fleet by 2035.
Icon’s six multi-fuel Wärtsilä engines can run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), and the ship also utilizes fuel cell technology for some of its onboard power needs. According to Royal Caribbean, this is expected to slash carbon emissions by approximately 30%. Other notable green features include a Foreship-designed air lubrication system to reduce hull friction as well as a robotic hull cleaner that removes debris and slime when the ship is docked in port to prevent increases in drag. Icon is also equipped with a shore power connection and a first-of-its-kind waste heat recovery system to turn waste heat into up to 3 megawatts of extra energy.
Royal Caribbean Group CEO Jason Liberty said, "Today we are celebrating much more than just a ship being completed. We also celebrate that the innovations and dreams created by Royal Caribbean during over 50 years have reached a new peak. Icon of the Seas represents everything that can be achieved in responsible vacationing thanks to commitment and strong partnerships."
The ship features the largest waterpark at sea, with six slides, as well as nine whirlpools and seven pools on board, including the first suspended infinity pool at sea. The vessel has 40 places to eat and eight distinct "neighborhoods" that offer a variety of experience options for passengers. One of the neighborhoods is the “AquaDome”, featuring the single largest glass and steel structure to be lifted onto a cruise ship. Another innovation is the ship's "Pearl", a 15-meter-diameter round thrill staircase that is part of the ship's load-bearing structure.
Meyer Turku described the build as the most complex project in the industrial history of Finland, involving several smaller, yet huge sub-projects with a great deal of participation from local suppliers.
"Such a demanding project has only been possible because we cooperate closely within the maritime cluster. In particular, I would like to highlight the finishing expertise of our supply chain. I am extremely proud of the people of Meyer Turku and everyone who has participated in this project," Meyer said.
“Welcoming Icon of the Seas to the Royal Caribbean family is a remarkable accomplishment years in the making for thousands of innovators, engineers, architects and designers,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Seven years ago, we had an ambitious idea to create the first vacation truly made for every type of family and adventurer; now, it’s in our hands, and in this final stretch, we’ll bring it all to life for the biggest debut in our history in January 2024.”
The Panamanian-flagged ship will depart Finland this week, setting sail to Cadiz, Spain, where the cruise line will start to put the finishing touches ahead of Icon's first voyage from its home port of Miami at the end of January 2024.
The hull assembly of the second ship in the series, Star of the Seas, will begin at the Meyer Turku shipyard in December.