Icon of the Seas Vs Wonder of the Seas

It seems that, for the foreseeable future at least, Royal Caribbean has a monopoly on the largest cruise ships in the world. And as soon as one ship has launched, they start planning how they can beat it.

Icon of the Seas Vs Wonder of the Seas

It feels like we’ve only just welcomed Wonder of the Seas into the fleet and now we’re already looking at the shiny new plaything, Icon of the Seas. Both are utterly incredible ships – genuinely amazing feats of engineering and planning, and packed with things to see and do.

But how do they compare, and ultimately, which is best? Let’s take a look.

Size

Is Icon of the Seas Bigger Than Wonder of the Seas?

Icon of the Seas is the biggest cruise ship in the world – bigger than Wonder of the Seas. It has a higher guest and crew capacity, more passenger decks, a higher gross tonnage, and it is 10 feet longer too.

With the Icon of the Seas and Wonder of the Seas size comparison, we’re only talking marginal differences from a percentage perspective – overall, Icon of the Seas is around 5% bigger than Wonder of the Seas in terms of gross tonnage. In terms of the Icon of the Seas capacity, that’s around 8% more.

But it is larger in every area overall. Harmony of the Seas was actually a couple of inches longer than Wonder of the Seas, but Wonder was bigger overall – Icon beats both in every criteria.

Icon of the SeasWonder of the Seas
Gross tonnage (GT)250,800236,857
Length (feet)1,1981,188
Width (feet)TBC210
Total decks2018
Passenger decks1816
Maximum guest capacity7,6006,988
Crew capacity2,3502,300
aerial view of Icon of the Seas sailing on the ocean

Read more: Royal Caribbean Ships By Size

Neighborhoods

The Oasis-class ships, including Wonder of the Seas, first introduced the concepts of neighborhoods to the fleet. Each neighborhood is a themed area of the ship where different features are grouped together.

Icon of the Seas has taken that concept and pushed it even further. While both ships have 8 neighborhoods, Icon of the Seas has improved old favourites and added some thrilling new ones.

The neighborhoods shared by the ships are:

1. Central Park

Central Park is an indoor neighborhood with live trees and greenery, as well as relaxing dining venues and entertainment. Icon of the Seas has an enhanced version of Central Park which is described as “lusher and livelier”.

Icon of the Seas Central Park
Central Park on Icon of the Seas

2. Royal Promenade

The Royal Promenade is one of the main hubs of the ship, home to speciality dining restaurants, bars and shops galore. The Royal Promenade on Icon of the Seas brings a little more of the outside in – it’s the first in the fleet to have floor-to-ceiling ocean views.

Royal Promenade on Icon of the Seas
Royal Promenade on Icon of the Seas

3. Suite Neighborhood

The Suite Neighborhood is a relaxed area of the ship that is available exclusively to suite guests, including private pool, dining and sun terrace areas. Icon of the Seas has the largest and most luxurious in the fleet.

People enjoying on Icon of the Seas Suite Neighborhood
Suite Neighbourhood on Icon of the Seas

The other neighborhoods on Wonder of the Seas (but not on Icon of the Seas) are:

1. Boardwalk

Designed to be similar to classic boardwalks on the oceanfront, this is where you’ll find Johnny Rockets, the arcade, the sports bar and the candy store.

Wonder of the Seas Boardwalk
Boardwalk on Wonder of the Seas

2. Pool and Sports Zone

A straightforward name for a straightforward neighborhood where you’ll find the pools, hot tubs and sports court.

People having fun at Wonder of the Seas pool deck
Pools and Slides on Wonder of the Seas

3. Entertainment Place

Home of live entertainment including the theatre, comedy club and ice skating rink, as well as the casino.

Performers on Wonder of the Seas theatre
Theatre on Wonder of the Seas

4. Youth Zone

Another arcade can be found here, as well as the Adventure Ocean kids club and the teen club.

Wonder of the Seas Youth Zone
Kids’ Club on Wonder of the Seas

5. Vitality Spa and Fitness

With a fitness centre open to all guests, and a spa and salon with various treatments available, this is a place where guests can unwind and burn off some steam.

Royal Caribbean's Vitality Spa and Fitness
Spa on Wonder of the Seas

And the neighborhoods debuting on Icon of the Seas are:

1. AquaDome

Situated at the top of the ship, AquaDome offers a peaceful oasis during the day (with its own tranquil waterfall), and at night it comes to life with vibrant bars and restaurants.

An enhanced version of the AquaTheater, it incorporating more technology than ever before including state-of-the-art projection and robotic arms.

AquaDome
AquaDome on Icon of the Seas

2. Chill Island

Chill Island is the main pool area – home to four of the seven pools on the ship. As well as the Swim & Tonic pool with swim-up bar, the Royal Bay Pool (the largest pool in the fleet) and Cloud 17, an adults-only pool, it also has four Lime & Coconut bars.

Icon of the Seas Chill Island
Chill Island

3. Surfside

Surfside is a fun-packed family area of the ship, replacing elements of the Pool and Sports Zone, Youth Zone and Entertainment Place on Wonder of the Seas. It’s here you’ll find Splashaway Bay and Baby Bay, as well as the Adventure Ocean kids club, Social020 for teens, the arcade, carousel and more dining venues.

Surfside on Icon of the Seas
Surfside on Icon of the Seas

4. The Hideaway

This peaceful neighborhood is situated higher up the ship in a quiet corner, ideal as a space for the adults to escape and unwind. It has the first suspended infinity pool at sea, as well as a multilevel sun terrace with whirlpools and a bar.

The Hideaway on Icon of the Seas
The Hideaway on Icon of the Seas

5. Thrill Island

Few ships can introduce 6 new water slides at once, but Icon of the Seas doesn’t just do that – it introduces 6 slides that all break records, including the tallest drop slide at sea, the first mat-racing duo slides, and the first open free-fall slide.

Here, you’ll also find the unique Crown’s Edge – part skywalk, part ropes course, part thrill ride.

Icon of the Seas Thrill Island
Thrill Island on Icon of the Seas

Staterooms and Suites

Both Wonder of the Seas and Icon of the Seas have some of the most innovative accommodations you’ll find on a cruise ship, including some incredible suites!

There are actually fewer staterooms on Icon of the Seas than on Wonder of the Seas – Icon has 2,805 while Wonder has 2,874. 

Despite that, Icon can carry 600 more guests than Wonder – which tells us there are even more family suites available that can host families of four, five and six.

Read more: Wonder of the Seas Suites

Read more: Icon of the Seas Suites

NEW DEALS JUST RELEASED!

Don’t miss the latest Royal Caribbean offers…

Ultimate Family Accommodations

Both Wonder and Icon have a multi-storey suite that offers incredible accommodations for families. On Wonder of the Seas that’s the Ultimate Family Suite, a two-storey room with a slide from the bedroom to the living area, and loads of fun features.

On Icon of the Seas, it’s the Ultimate Family Townhouse. A third storey has been added, the slide has been retained, while the balcony area has a cute white picket fence and its own mailbox. It’s also around 50% larger than the Ultimate Family Suite

Icon of the Seas Ultimate Family Townhouse
Ultimate Family Townhouse

Icon of the Seas Stateroom Debuts

There are some other debuting suites and staterooms on Icon of the Seas that you won’t find on Wonder of the Seas. These include:

  • Inside Plus – a redesigned Inside stateroom with a full dividing wall between the bedroom and bathroom for extra privacy
  • Surfside Family Suites – new suites located near the pool areas, with alcoves just for the kids to enjoy
  • Panoramic Ocean View rooms situated inside the AquaDome
  • Family Infinity Balcony staterooms to sleep families of three, four, five and more
Icon of the Seas Panoramic Ocean View room
Panoramic Ocean View

Restaurants

Icon of the Seas features a really exciting mix of dining venues. Included options include the obvious spots like the Windjammer Marketplace buffet, the main dining room, Sorrentos Pizzaria and the Park Cafe. However, there are some new options that you won’t find on Wonder of the Seas like the AquaDome Market, the Surfside Bites snack bar and the Surfside Eatery buffet.

RestaurantIcon of the SeasWonder of the Seas
150 Central ParkNoYES
AquaDome MarketYESNo
Boardwalk Dog HouseNoYES
Cafe PromenadeNoYES
Celebration TableYESNo
Chef’s TableNoYES
Chops GrilleYESYES
Coastal KitchenYESYES
El Loco FreshYESYES
Empire Supper ClubYESNo
Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine BarYESYES
Hooked SeafoodYESYES
Izumi Hibachi & SushiYESYES
Johnny RocketsNoYES
Main Dining RoomYESYES
Park CafeYESYES
Solarium BistroNoYES
Sorrento’sYESYES
StarbucksYESYES
Sugar BeachYESYES
Surfside BitesYESNo
Surfside EateryYESNo
Vitality CafeYESYES
Windjammer CafeYESYES
WonderlandNoYES

When it comes to speciality dining on Icon of the Seas versus Wonder of the Seas you can, again, expect a mix of classic speciality dining favourites like Chops Grille and Izumi Hibachi & Sushi as well as some new spots to try like Pier 7 which serves ‘beachside’ cuisine and the Empire Supper Club, a luxurious 1920s New York restaurant.

Just as on all Royal Caribbean cruise ships, there will be an extra charge to eat at the speciality restaurants so you’ll want to know which ones are worth your money. Check out my guide to Icon of the Seas restaurants to learn more.

Empire Supper Club on Icon of the Seas
Empire Supper Club on Icon of the Seas

Bars & Lounges

Here’s how the ships compare from a bars and lounges perspective:

Bar/LoungeIcon of the SeasWonder of the Seas
Bionic BarNoYES
BolerosYESYES
Cantina FrescaYESYES
Cask & ClipperNoYES
Diamond ClubYESYES
English ClubNoYES
Playmakers Bar & ArcadeYESYES
Pool BarYESNo
Rising Tide BarNoYES
Schooner BarNoYES
Solarium BarNoYES
Suite LoungeNoYES
Swim & Tonic Pool BarYESNo
The AtticNoYES
The Hideaway BarYESNo
The Lime & CoconutYES – 4YES
Trellis BarYESYES
Wipeout BarNoYES
Vue BarNoYES

Lime & Coconut, the Caribbean bar that appeared on Wonder of the Seas, is returning for Icon of the Seas but with four locations on the ship instead of just one, one of which will be the first frozen cocktail bar for the fleet.

There’s also Swim & Tonic – one of the pools situated in the Chill Island neighborhood that has the first-ever swim-up bar at sea. Guests will be able to relax with a gentle swim and a tasty cocktail at the same time.

And there’s a bar in The Hideaway, where guests can enjoy a peaceful drink away from the louder areas of the ship whilst overlooking the suspended infinity pool.

The bars and lounges available on Wonder of the Seas are:

  • Schooners Bar
  • Trellis Bar
  • Playmakers Bar & Arcade
  • The Attic
  • The Lime & Coconut
  • Boleros
  • Cask & Clipper
  • Diamond Club
  • Rising Tide Bar
  • Solarium Bar
  • Suite Lounge
  • Bionic Bar
  • English Pub
  • Vue Bar
  • Wipe Out Bar
  • Cantina Fresca
Cantina Fresca onboard Wonder of the Seas
Cantina Fresca

Activities and Entertainment

Wonder of the Seas has some of the best activities and entertainment at sea. While we don’t know the full extent of what Icon of the Seas offers yet, we do know that it includes many of the features that are present on Wonder of the Seas, and adds some exciting new ones.

Activities/EntertainmentIcon of the SeasWonder of the Seas
AquaTheaterYESYES
ArcadeYESYES
CarouselNoYES
CasinoYESYES
Central ParkYESYES
Comedy ClubYESNo
Fitness & SpaYESYES
FlowRiderYESYES
Ice SkatingNoYES
Mini GolfYESYES
Music HallYESYES
Rock Climbing WallNoYES
Royal TheaterYESYES
Running TrackYESNo
SolariumNoYES
Splashway BayYESYES
Sports CourtYESYES
Table TennisYESNo
The Perfect StormNoYES
WaterslidesYESYES
WhirlpoolsYESYES
Aerial view of Wonder of the Seas sailing on the ocean
Wonder of the Seas

Waterslides

Wonder of the Seas has four main waterslides:

  • Typhoon
  • Cyclone
  • Supercell

It also has Ultimate Abyss which is a dry slide, so there’s no water, but it is the tallest slide at sea.

Wonder of the Seas vibrant pool deck and waterslide
Wonder of the Seas Pool Area

Icon of the Seas has six main waterslides, including:

  • Pressure Drop – the first open free-fall slide at sea
  • Frightening Bolt – the tallest drop slide at sea
  • Storm Surge & Hurricane Hunter – the first family raft rides at sea
  • Storm Chasers – two mat-racing slides (the first at sea)
Icon of the Seas – Thrill Island Waterslides (top) and Splashaway Bay slides (lower)

AquaTheater

Both Wonder of the Seas and Icon of the Seas have an AquaTheater. On Wonder of the Seas it’s located at the rear of the ship, but on Icon it’s moved inside the AquaDome, on top of the ship. Both offer incredible choreographed shows, although Icon’s AquaTheater has upgraded projection and robotics.

People watching a performance at AquaDome
AquaDome

Live Shows

Both Wonder of the Seas and Icon of the Seas feature epic live entertainment on-board every night. While we don’t know what Icon will have to offer yet, Wonder of the Seas includes inTENse at the AquaTheater, and 365 at the ice rink.

People watching a performer at Wonder of the Seas AquaTheater
Wonder of the Seas

Ice Skating

Both ships have a large ice rink where guests can skate during the day, and enjoy live shows at night. Of course, Icon of the Seas has one that’s larger – Absolute Zero, the biggest in the fleet.

Ice skating rink aboard Wonder of the Seas

Read more: The Best Royal Caribbean Ships for Kids

Itineraries

One of the biggest differences between Wonder of the Seas and Icon of the Seas is destination – at least for part of the year.

Wonder of the Seas is based in Orlando, Florida for half the year, offering 7-night Caribbean sailings. Guests will visit the private resorts of Labadee and CocoCay, as well as explore Basseterre and Nassau.

During the summer months, the ship crosses to the Mediterranean, with Civitavecchia (the port for Rome) becoming its base. From here, guests will be able to enjoy 7-night cruises to Palma de Mallorca, Marseille, Florence/Pisa, Barcelona and Naples/Capri.

Icon of the Seas isn’t offering any cruises in Europe. Instead, it will be based in Miami year-round. 7-night cruises to the Caribbean will include popular ports like Cozumel, Philipsburg and Roatan, as well as CocoCay, the private island.

It’s worth noting that the new adults-only beach at CocoCay is named The Hideaway, opening at the same time as Icon of the Seas launches with its own Hideaway neighborhood.

Lovely view of CocoCay Island
CocoCay

Cost to Build

The Wonder of the Seas cost $1.35 billion to build, with the final figure being revealed close to her launch in 2022. This did not make her the most expensive cruise ship in the world though – her elder sisters Oasis and Allure of the Seas actually cost more at around $1.4 billion.

The final cost for Icon of the Seas hasn’t been revealed yet, but early estimates put the cost of the ship at around $2 billion, which would be a significant increase. However, there are some who now estimate the cost of the ship as being closer to the $1.3 billion mark. It will likely be a similar cost to Wonder of the Seas once it is finalised.

There are some savings – a lot of the new features have already been designed for Wonder of the Seas – but as the first ship to be powered by LNG, and with new areas of the ship including the impressive AquaDome, it will still be quite an expensive ship.

Icon of the Seas sailing on the ocean at night

Which Is the Best?

With all the excitement around the launch, people are saying that Icon of the Seas is better overall – it’s bigger and has some very exciting new neighbourhoods. 

However, bigger isn’t always better, and some people prefer the (slightly) smaller crowds of Wonder of the Seas.

Destination plays a big part too. You won’t think Icon of the Seas is better if you want to book a cruise in the Mediterranean – the natural choice would be Wonder of the Seas. And if you wanted a post-Disneyworld cruise, Wonder of the Seas sails from the nearer port too.

What isn’t up for debate is just how impressive both of these ships are. They might not be to everybody’s taste, but they are amazing for families or anyone who essentially wants a theme park/city on the sea. 

With so many places to eat, bars to drink at, activities to try and more, you won’t even need to leave the ship during a port day.

Or more likely, when comparing Wonder of the Seas vs Icon of the Seas, you’ll need multiple cruises on each ship to enjoy them to their fullest.

NEW DEALS JUST RELEASED!

Don’t miss the latest Royal Caribbean offers…

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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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