For years, the Oasis Class for Royal Caribbean has been the biggest class of ship in the world, featuring some of the most feature-packed and impressive cruise ships ever built.
In this guide, I’ll explain everything you need to know about the Icon Class compared to the Oasis Class, so you can fully understand just how special these new ships are.
What is the Icon Class?
The Icon Class for Royal Caribbean is the newest class of ship in the fleet. These ships will be the biggest in the world, and also Royal Caribbean’s first ships to be powered by the more environmentally-friendly LNG fuel. There are four Icon-class ships currently planned.
The first Icon-class ship will be Icon of the Seas which is set to launch in
The Icon Class was first announced in 2016, seven years after the launch of the first Oasis-class ship and six years before the final one to be built.
Originally rumoured to be a similar size to the Oasis Class or potentially even smaller, we now know that Icon-class ships will be the biggest in the fleet.
What is the Oasis Class?
The Oasis-class ships for Royal Caribbean have been the biggest cruise ships in the world ever since the debut of Oasis of the Seas in 2009. These mighty mega-ships have maximum capacities of between 6,680 and 6,988 guests.
There are five Oasis-class ships in the fleet – the newest, and biggest, being Wonder of the Seas which launched in 2022.
Suggested read: How big is Wonder of the Seas?
For a long time, the Oasis Class has been seen as the pinnacle of cruise ship design. There are very few cruise ships sailing for other lines that even come close to the size of these amazing ships, and any that do have been built very recently.
When Oasis of the Seas first launched in 2009 she was even more incredible when compared to the biggest ships for other fleets.
The Oasis Class may be losing its status as the flagship class for the Royal Caribbean fleet, but these ships are sure to remain some of the most popular in the world for years to come.
Is Icon Class bigger than Oasis Class?
The Icon-class ships for Royal Caribbean are bigger than the Oasis-class ships, both in terms of volume (gross tonnage) and passenger capacity. The Icon of the Seas is the biggest cruise ship in the world, although she may be surpassed when future Icon-class ships launch.
Here’s a quick side-by-side comparison of Icon of the Seas and the biggest of the Oasis-class ships, the Wonder of the Seas:
|Measurement||Icon of the Seas||Wonder of the Seas||Difference|
|Volume (Gross Tonnage)||250,800||236,857||+5%|
|Length||1,198 feet||1,187 feet||.92%|
|Width (beam)||213 feet||210 feet||+1%|
This means that Icon of the Seas is around 5% bigger than the biggest Oasis-class ship in terms of overall volume, and around 7% larger in terms of total capacity (passengers and crew).
Read more: Icon of the Seas Vs Wonder of the Seas
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Icon vs Oasis – Neighborhoods
With the Oasis Class, Royal Caribbean introduced a new concept to its ships – neighborhoods. Each public area of the ship is part of a themed area, bringing together exciting features and entertainment.
Here’s a quick guide on which neighborhoods feature on each class:
|Neighborhood||Icon Class?||Oasis Class?|
|Suite Neighborhood||YES||On some ships|
|Pool and Sports Zone||No||YES|
|Vitality Spa and Fitness||No||YES|
A real, living park in the middle of the ship with thousands of trees, shrubs and vines. This is a popular neighborhood where you’ll find speciality dining restaurants along with some more casual eating and drinking spots.
All Oasis-class and Icon-class ships have Central Park:
- Allure Of The Seas Central Park
- Harmony Of The Seas Central Park
- Icon of the Seas Central Park
- Oasis Of The Seas Central Park
- Symphony Of The Seas Central Park
- Wonder Of The Seas Central Park
One of the main hubs of any Royal ship, the Royal Promenade is another spot that plays host to restaurants and bars, along with shops.
Onboard Icon of the Seas, the Royal Promenade is different from on the Oasis-class ships in that it features a huge circular ice arena.
Added to later Oasis-class ships, the Suite Neighborhood is a quiet area of the ship for suite guests only. It has its own pool, restaurant and sun terrace.
The Boardwalk is a neighborhood themed after classic boardwalks/piers, and it is where you’ll find casual dining venues, bars and the candy store on the ship.
Pool and Sports Zone
You won’t be shocked when I tell you that the Pool and Sports Zone is where you’ll find the swimming pools and the sports court.
The Entertainment Place neighborhood is the home of the casino, the theatre, the ice skating rink and the comedy club on the ship.
Another self-explanatory neighborhood, this is the location of the Adventure Ocean kids clubs as well as the arcade.
Vitality Spa and Fitness
This neighborhood is where you’ll find the spa, the beauty salon and the gym on the ship.
The AquaDome is a relaxing spot to unwind during the day, with bars and amazing views. At night, the enhanced AquaTheater brings incredible shows to life while guests can dine and drink surrounded by thrills.
Chill Island is the main pool area on Icon-class ships. As well as the main Royal Bay Pool, it has a Swim & Tonic pool with a swim-up bar, an adults-only pool, and four Lime & Coconut bars for those cocktails.
Surfside is the first neighborhood on a Royal Caribbean ship specifically targeted at young families, although all guests are welcome. It’s here where you’ll find Adventure Ocean, the arcade, the carousel and some new dining venues too.
The Hideaway is a more chilled area, aimed at adults. It has its own infinity pool, hot tubs and a sun terrace.
Thrill Island is where you’ll be able to enjoy the most thrilling activities on the ship, including six waterslides and the Crown’s Edge skywalk/ropes course.
Icon vs Oasis – Accommodation
It’s impossible to directly compare the accommodation between the Icon Class and the Oasis Class, because the ships within the classes are not identical. But there are some stateroom types that are shared, and others that are exclusive to the classes.
Here’s a rundown of the different accommodation options across both classes:
|Stateroom name||Type||Icon Class?||Oasis Class?|
|Interior with Virtual Balcony||Interior||No||YES|
|Promenade View Interior||Interior||No||YES|
|Central Park View Interior||Interior||YES||YES|
|Surfside Family View Interior||Interior||YES||No|
|Ocean View||Ocean View||YES||YES|
|Ocean View Balcony||Balcony||YES||YES|
|Boardwalk View Balcony||Balcony||No||YES|
|Central Park View Balcony||Balcony||YES||YES|
|Family Infinite Balcony||Balcony||YES||No|
|Infinite Central Park Balcony||Balcony||YES||No|
|Infinite Ocean View Balcony||Balcony||YES||No|
|Sky Junior Suite||Suite||YES||No|
|Sunset Junior Suite||Suite||YES||No|
|Sunset Corner Suite||Suite||YES||No|
|Surfside Family Suite||Suite||YES||No|
|Infinite Grand Suite||Suite||YES||No|
|Ocean View Panoramic Suite||Suite||YES||On some ships|
|Grand Panoramic Suite||Suite||No||On some ships|
|Crown Loft Suite||Suite||No||YES|
|Royal Loft Suite||Suite||No||YES|
|Icon Loft Suite||Suite||YES||No|
|Ultimate Family Suite||Suite||No||On some ships|
|Ultimate Family Townhouse||Suite||YES||No|
When it comes to accommodations, both Icon Class and Oasis Class ships have a range of stateroom options to choose from. These include standard Interior, Ocean View, and Balcony Staterooms, as well as Suites, providing guests with a range of options to fit their preferences and budget.
However, are some types that are unique to each ship and one of the most exciting new rooms on the Icon-class ships is the Infinity Balcony.
This innovative feature provides guests with an unprecedented level of immersion in the ocean and a truly unforgettable experience.
For those who prefer an Interior Stateroom, the Oasis-class ships offer a virtual balcony feature, which provides a window-like view of the ocean through high-definition screens. This innovative feature is not available on the Icon-class ships, you’ll only find it on the Oasis-class and the Quantum-class ships.
When it comes to families traveling together, both the Icon-class and Oasis-class ships offer spacious family suites. The Ultimate Family Suite and the Ultimate Family Townhouse are similar in many ways, offering ample space and a range of features designed to make family travel as enjoyable as possible.
However, there is one key difference between the two: the Icon Class’s Ultimate Family Townhouse features a third storey, while the Ultimate Family Suite on the Oasis Class ships has only two. This added level provides even more space and amenities for families travelling together.
Suggested read: Icon of the Seas Suites Guide
Icon vs Oasis – Activities
The Oasis-class ships are not identical but they do mostly share similar activities.
There are some venues unique to select ships, but broadly you can look forward to the following activities on both the Oasis-class and Icon-class ships:
- Live shows at the AquaTheater
- Ice skating shows and ice skating activities
- FlowRider – the surf simulator
- Rock climbing walls
- Laser Tag
- Escape rooms
- Arcades for the kids (and big kids)
- Mini golf
And much more as well! That list only scratches the surface of what is available.
The Icon Class cruise ships are set to offer an even more exciting and memorable experience for guests. With a range of new and improved features, these ships are poised to take the cruise industry to new heights.
One of the most highly anticipated upgrades is the addition of new and improved waterslides. With even more slides to choose from, guests will have even more opportunities to make a splash and enjoy the thrill of slipping and sliding at sea.
And, for the first time ever, there will be the first open free-fall slide at sea and the first family raft rides at sea too!
Another exciting improvement for the Icon-class is the relocation and upgrade of the AquaTheater. This has been relocated from the back to the front of the ships to offer stunning views and an even more immersive experience.
In addition, the latest projection technology will be used to create an even more captivating performance for guests to enjoy.
For those who enjoy ice skating, the Icon Class ships will also feature a larger ice rink, allowing for even more guests to take to the ice and show off their moves.
And for those who enjoy a good round of mini golf, the mini golf courses on the Icon-class are expected to be better – providing a fun and challenging activity for guests of all ages.
Also debuting with the Icon Class is the Crown’s Edge – a sort of combination between a skywalk and a ropes course, which sees guests step out over the edge of the ship on a truly thrilling activity.
Icon vs Oasis – Restaurants
The Oasis Class of ships has one of the widest selections of dining venues of any ship at sea. Again, each Oasis-class ship is different, so they don’t offer the same venues.
Some restaurants are consistently available, and these will be included on Icon-class ships too. They are:
- Main Dining Room
- Windjammer Cafe (buffet restaurant)
- Coastal Kitchen (for Suite guests only)
- Park Cafe
- Sorrento’s Pizzeria
- Chops Grille (speciality restaurant)
- Izumi (speciality restaurant)
- Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade (speciality restaurant)
- Johnny Rockets burger bar (speciality restaurant)
These venues are available across all of the Oasis Class and will be kept for the Icon Class too.
However, there are also some venues that are new for the Icon Class.
New eateries include:
- Pearl Cafe
- Surfside Eatery – a new buffet restaurant
- Surfside Bites – a grab-and-go venue
- The Grove – a second Suite-guest-only restaurant
- Basecamp – a venue close to the outdoor activities of the ship
- Desserted Milkshake Bar – serving loaded milkshakes (including spiked options for adults)
- Pier 7, a speciality restaurant serving “beachside favourites”
- Empire Supper Club – a premium speciality restaurant offering eight-course dinners in a 1920s New York setting
- Celebration Table – private table for 12 in the AquaDome for special events
You can read more about these in my full Icon of the Seas Restaurants Guide.
Icon vs Oasis – Destinations
With five Oasis-class ships currently sailing for Royal Caribbean, you would perhaps think that they cover most of the popular destinations in the world.
In reality, the ships tend to stick to the Caribbean and the Mediterranean only, and even then only a couple of ships make it to Europe.
The Caribbean is where Royal Caribbean makes its money from these mega-ships, especially with the cruise line’s private island destinations to take advantage of.
The five Oasis-class ships are currently scheduled for the following:
- Oasis of the Seas – Mediterranean cruises in summer from Rome, Caribbean cruises in winter from Miami (Florida)
- Allure of the Seas – Caribbean sailings year-round from Orlando (Florida) and Galveston (Texas)
- Harmony of the Seas – Caribbean sailings year-round from Fort Lauderdale and Miami (Florida) and Galveston (Texas)
- Symphony of the Seas – Mediterranean cruises in summer from Barcelona, Caribbean cruises in winter from Fort Lauderdale (Florida) and Miami (Florida)
- Wonder of the Seas – Caribbean sailings year-round from Port Canaveral (Florida)
The early signs are that the Icon Class will be similar. Icon of the Seas, the only ship currently on sale from the class, is set to cruise the Caribbean in her first winter season, sailing from Miami.
You can read more about where Icon of the seas will cruise from and to in my Guide to Icon of the Seas Itineraries.
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Don’t miss the latest Royal Caribbean offers…
Icon vs Oasis – Which is best?
Comparing the Icon Class and the Oasis Class isn’t straightforward. For a start, there’s a 12-year difference between the launch of the first Oasis-class ship (Oasis of the Seas) and the latest, Wonder of the Seas. They are not the same ship by any means, despite being a similar size.
If you believe that bigger is better, then Icon-class ships will win. If you believe newer is better, then Icon will likely win again – there is one more Oasis-class ship to debut, but then it’s Icon-class ships for the foreseeable after that.
The Icon Class probably is marginally better but it takes nothing away from how good the Oasis Class is, and on both you will be absolutely wowed by the sheer variety of things to do and places to eat during your cruise.
- Utopia of the Seas vs Icon of the Seas
- Royal Caribbean Ships by Size: Comparison Chart
- Royal Caribbean Ships by Age – Newest to Oldest