World's Largest Cruise Ship Starts Sea Trials
Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas—the world's largest cruise ship—has commenced sea trials in the Baltic Sea.
The 250,800 GT vessel, the first in Royal Caribbean's new Icon-class, has been under construction at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland since June 2022. The fully assembled ship was floated out in December and is now undergoing final outfitting and testing.
This first set of sea trials—which tests the performance of the ship's propulsion systems, navigation systems and other ship features, such as the ship's lifeboats and stability at open sea—began earlier this week and has "progressed excellently", the builder said. "According to current information, all the tests of the sea trial program can be completed as outlined in the original schedule, despite the departure for the sea trials being slightly delayed due to wind conditions."
The ship is scheduled to return to the Meyer Turku shipyard on Thursday, after which work on Icon of the Seas will resume. At least one more round of sea trials is expected, and there may be more ahead of scheduled delivery in October or November 2023.
First announced in 2016, the 1,198-foot-long Icon of the Seas will have 20 decks (including 18 guest decks) and will be bigger than the world's current largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean's Oasis-class Allure of the Seas. With 2,805 staterooms, the ship will be able to carry 5,610 passengers at double occupancy, or up to 7,600 passengers if every cabin is maxed out. It will have capacity for a crew of 2,350.
In addition to being the world's largest cruise ship, Icon of the Seas will also be Royal Caribbean's most environmentally friendly. The vessel will run on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and utilize fuel cell technology. Other notable green features include air lubrication to reduce hull friction, shore power connection and an advanced waste heat recovery system to turn waste heat into up to 3 megawatts of extra energy.
The ship will also feature the largest waterpark at sea, with six record-breaking slides, as well as nine whirlpools and seven pools on board, including the first suspended infinity pool at sea. The vessel will have eight distinct "neighborhoods" that offer a variety of experience options for passengers.
Icon of the Seas will sail from Miami starting in January 2024, offering both Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings.
After Icon of the Seas, Meyer Turku will also build Royal Caribbean's next two Icon-class cruise ships for delivery in 2025 and 2026, having already started production of the series' second vessel.