World’s largest cruise ship comes complete with a waterpark

Featuring six water slides, the cartoon-looking cruise ship prepares to set sail in January 2024.

13 July 2023

Dubbed a “human lasagne” when images surfaced last year, the world’s largest cruise ship by Royal Caribbean Group will soon have its maiden voyage.

Icon of the Seas can carry approximately 8,000 people and weighs in at 250,800 tonnes – five times the weight of the Titanic, for reference. It houses a waterpark with a total of six slides, including “the tallest waterslide to sail” and the first open freefall waterslide on a cruise ship. Visitors can also experience a surf simulator and attend live ice skating productions on board.

This all-singing, all-dancing approach to entertainment extends to the design of the cruise ship, with palm tree pillars and retina-searing colours featuring heavily. The ship features 20 decks and is split into eight “neighbourhoods”: AquaDome, Central Park, Chill Island, Royal Promenade, Surfside, Suite Neighborhood, The Hideaway and Thrill Island. On its website, Royal Caribbean says the time spent designing the accommodation on Icon of the Seas was the longest it’s spent on any cruise ship. It says its goal was to design “the perfect home base”, landing on 28 different types of accommodation.


Royal Caribbean: Icon of the Seas (Copyright © Royal Caribbean, 2023)

Despite its gargantuan size, Royal Caribbean says Icon of the Seas will be its most sustainable ship to date when it sets sail in 2024. Some of its environmental features include a wastewater treatment system in which 93 per cent of freshwater is produced on board via a reverse osmosis/desalination plant. It also says its fuel – liquefied natural gas – is the “cleanest burning marine fuel”.

In 2022, Friends of the Earth outlined the environmental impact of Royal Caribbean, as well as other top cruise lines. It says: “Royal Caribbean’s pollution is second only to Carnival Corporation when it comes to the criminal fines they’ve had to pay. They were forced to pay $18 million in fines for 21 federal felonies in 1999 due to dumping hazardous chemicals and waste oil in coastal waters.”

Friends of the Earth also says Royal Caribbean’s ‘Destination Net Zero’ targets toward sustainability “focus on carbon offsets instead of true sustainable measures”.

GalleryRoyal Caribbean: Icon of the Seas (Copyright © Royal Caribbean, 2023)

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Royal Caribbean: Icon of the Seas (Copyright © Royal Caribbean, 2023)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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