The world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas, set sail for the first time on Saturday (27 January).

It has overtaken sister ship Wonder of the Seas to claim the title. Royal Caribbean president Jason Liberty described the new vessel as the “biggest, baddest ship on the planet” – it is longer than the Eiffel Tower.

Icon of the Seas has 18 passenger decks, seven swimming pools and over 40 restaurants and bars on board. It is able to hold 5,610 passengers on board (at double occupancy) and has a gross tonnage of 250,800.

The ship will also hold the largest cruise ship water park (Royal Caribbean)

The luxury ship also boasts eight “neighbourhoods” on board, each with its own distinct experiences, entertainment and food and drink options. With an eye on breaking records, these neighbourhoods hold a number of firsts: Thrill Island features the largest cruise ship water park, the first open free-fall slide at sea and a drop slide that is the industry’s tallest.

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

It’s the ‘biggest, baddest ship on the plane’, according to the cruise line’s president (Royal Caribbean)

Other neighbourhoods include The Hideaway, Surfside and Aquadome, with its own AquaTheater.

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

Icon of the Seas will sail 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 – though Royal Caribbean came in second place on Friends of the Earth’s list of polluters in the cruise industry in 2022.

Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, previously 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.”

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