When the Icon Class of ships for Royal Caribbean was first announced, there was some speculation that it wouldn’t be as big as the Oasis Class. That’s now turned out to be completely wrong – Icon of the Seas will be, by some distance, the biggest cruise ship in the world when she debuts.
But how big, exactly? How does she compare with the other large ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet, and the biggest ships for other cruise lines around the world?
Let’s take a look.
How Big Is Icon of the Seas?
Icon of the Seas has an internal volume of 250,800 Gross Tonnes, and a length of 1,198 feet (365 metres). She has 20 decks in total including 18 that passengers can access, making her the biggest cruise ship in the world.
Icon of the Seas is as long as three and a half football fields, meaning that it takes almost 15 minutes to walk from one end of the ship to the other. With 20 decks, the ship is taller than the Eiffel Tower!
This is a truly massive ship, with 8 separate neighbourhoods as well as over 2,800 staterooms. There are over 40 bars and restaurants onboard, with 23 being completely new to Royal Caribbean.
Icon of the Seas will definitely be busy, but there’s enough to keep everyone entertained without huge crowds forming, including 7 different swimming pools, 6 record-breaking waterslides, separate splash parks for kids and babies and more.
Is Icon of the Seas the Biggest Cruise Ship?
Icon of the Seas is the largest cruise ship of any in the world, surpassing Wonder of the Seas for being the biggest by gross tonnage and passenger capacity, and Harmony of the Seas for length.
It looks likely that Icon of the Seas will hold onto that title for at least a year. No other cruise line has, at this stage, announced a ship which would surpass it.
There will be a second Icon-class ship launching in 2025 if it remains on schedule, and if it follows the form for Royal Caribbean then it will be a similar size, but perhaps marginally bigger. Royal Caribbean often likes to find an additional half-a-foot or slight increase in Gross Tonnage so that it can announce a ‘new’ biggest ship in the world.
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Icon of the Seas Specs
Let’s take a look at the Icon of the Seas dimensions to see how she measures up from a statistics perspective. It’s useful to compare it to some other ships too, so that you get an idea of the scale of the ship in comparison.
First up, let’s look at how big Icon of the Seas is when compared to Wonder of the Seas, the previous largest ship in the fleet, as well as compared to Spectrum of the Seas, the largest of the ships in the Quantum Ultra Class.
|Icon of the Seas||Wonder of the Seas||Spectrum of the Seas|
|Gross tonnage (GT)||250,800||236,857||169,379|
|Maximum guest capacity||7,600||6,988||4,905|
And then here’s how Icon stacks up against the largest ships belonging to some of the other top cruise lines in the world:
|Icon of the Seas||Carnival Celebration (Carnival)||Iona (P&O)||MSC Virtuosa (MSC)||Norwegian Encore (NCL)|
|Gross tonnage (GT)||250,800||183,900||184,089||181,541||169,116|
|Maximum guest capacity||7,600||6,500||5,206||6,334||3,998|
This helps to demonstrate just how much bigger Icon of the Seas is compared to the other largest ships in the world. Wonder of the Seas (and the other Oasis-class ships) already held quite a lead in terms of size over other cruise lines, but Icon of the Seas takes that even further.
Of course, bigger doesn’t always mean better when it comes to cruise ships – many people would be overwhelmed by a ship the size of Icon, especially with the capacity that she has.
And larger ships are limited in the ports they can visit – so some people may prefer a smaller ship so that they can sail to quieter, more remote destinations.
Icon of the Seas Gross Tonnage
Icon of the Seas is the first cruise ship in the world to surpass 250,800 gross tonnes. Gross tonnage doesn’t refer to weight, but it’s a measurement of volume – how much internal space the cruise ship has.
So it’s the best measurement to use when comparing ship sizes, since it takes into account length, width and height as a volume measurement. And the Icon of the Seas tonnage is 5% larger than the previous biggest ship in the world, Wonder of the Seas.
5% may not seem like much, but it’s a difference of around 13,000 GT – to put that into perspective, the total gross tonnage of the 10 smallest cruise ships in the world is 9,916 – combined!
So, Icon of the Seas has more than an extra 10 ships’ worth of space compared to Wonder of the Seas. 10 small ships, sure, but still.
Icon of the Seas Length
Icon of the Seas is 1,198 feet long, making her around 10 feet longer than the previous longest cruise ship in the world, Harmony of the Seas.
That 10 feet may sound like nothing when you consider how much extra capacity the ship has, but it’s not about length – the extra two decks will make all the difference.
Icon of the Seas Capacity
The Icon of the Seas passenger capacity is 5,610 guests at double occupancy, and 7,600 guests maximum. Many of the staterooms on Icon of the Seas are specifically designed for families of three, four, five or more, giving the ship an incredible capacity overall.
The stark difference here is when you compare the number of staterooms – there are actually around 70 fewer staterooms on Icon of the Seas than there are on Wonder of the Seas, despite having a maximum capacity of 600 more.
But with new family-specific accommodation options including the Surfside Family Suites and Family Infinity Balcony staterooms, there are more options for anyone travelling that wishes to have more than two people in one room.
Icon of the Seas also has the highest crew number of any cruise ship at sea, with 2,350. That means the total capacity of the ship is 9,950 – just 50 shy of 10,000. Don’t be surprised if Royal Caribbean saves that notable capacity for one of the follow-up Icon-class ships.
Icon of the Seas Decks
Icon of the Seas has 20 decks in total, of which 18 are accessible to guests, with 2 reserved for the crew for sleeping quarters and for the behind-the-scenes running of the ship. That’s two more decks than Wonder of the Seas overall.
It’s not the first ship in the world to have 20 decks, although it’s the first to have 18 that the public can access. Remember that Icon actually has fewer staterooms than Wonder of the Seas, despite having two extra decks – telling you that the staterooms are larger, and there’s more to do on board as well.
Without seeing the ship in person, it can be hard to grasp the sheer scale of Icon of the Seas. If you’ve ever seen any of the larger ships in the world you’ve probably been wowed by them – imagine that same feeling, but even bigger.
The good news is you certainly won’t miss her when you’re arriving at the Port of Miami for your cruise.
She really is impressive, and while she may end up sharing the title of biggest ship in the world with her impending sister ships (or even giving up the title if they are slightly bigger), she will remain – dare I say – iconic for many years to come.
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