It looks like Royal Caribbean will homeport Icon of the Seas in Miami, Florida when she arrives in the United States.
In a recent interview, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley talked about how excited he was for Icon of the Seas, and mentioned in passing that the new ship will be based at PortMiami.
Mr. Bayley was speaking with TTG Media and explained following Icon of the Seas' debut in the UK summer season, “We will take [Icon of the Seas] across the Atlantic to Miami, which is where it’s going to be homeported.”
Bayley also stated that Icon of the Seas would likely have some stops in New York or Boston during the ship's East Coast transit.
This was the same interview that Mr. Bayley mentioned Icon will visit Southampton, UK initially.
Debuting a brand new ship in the UK for its inaugural sailing season isn’t the first for Royal Caribbean; in fact, Harmony of the Seas first debuted to the UK market before transiting to the U.S for its homeport.
Bayley also emphasized how important the UK market is for Royal Caribbean, which helped solidify the cruise line’s decision to debut Icon of the Seas to the country first.
"An Amazing Ship"
Royal Caribbean has been very quiet about its new Icon Class of ships, creating a lot of buzz in the cruising industry about the ship's design and features. Icon of the Seas will be the first cruise ship in the Icon Class.
Little is currently known about Icon of the Seas, but Bayley did allude to being very impressed with Icon of the Seas. He stated, “The ship is unbelievable. It's an amazing ship. What’s fascinating about Icon is the sheer amount of product."
Although this gives us very little detail about Icon of the Seas itself, Bayley is certainly hyping up Royal Caribbean’s newest ship.
According to Bayley, Icon of the Seas will be a game-changer for the cruising industry, as the cruise line has spent 5 years designing the ship.
Just this month, Bayley said Royal Caribbean rented a movie theater in Miami and the company spent an entire day reviewing Icon of the Seas with internal stakeholders, marketing members and other executives. This meeting also focused on how Royal Caribbean plans to reveal Icon of the Seas to the public.
Tradition, Evolution and Revolution
Although Bayley isn’t allowed to reveal anything specific, he explained that Icon of the Seas will feature a combination of ‘tradition, evolution and revolution’ cruising elements from Royal Caribbean.
Bayley acknowledged that Royal Caribbean cruisers will always love certain features about the brand. These fan favorites, like the Schooner Bar, determine which traditional elements continue to be found on ships across the fleet.
On the other hand, evolution elements revolve around continuously improving elements that cruisers love, such as entertainment venues and waterslides. Finally, revolution elements are ‘industry-firsts’ and are meant to be WOW factors for the company.
In regards to revolutionary, it is known that Icon of the Seas will also be the first LNG-powered cruise ship for Royal Caribbean. This is a huge step towards Royal Caribbean's sustainability efforts to use cleaner, more environmentally-friendly fuel.
In general, Royal Caribbean leads the cruise industry with designing the biggest and most innovative ships at sea. It was the first cruise line to bring many onboard thrills to a cruise ship, such as the first zip-line at sea, the first surf simulator at sea and the first skydiving simulator.
With the Oasis Class ships, Royal Caribbean introduced its multi-neighborhood concept to the cruise industry, which featured an entire opened-aired Central Park and Boardwalk at sea.
With Bayley hinting that Icon of the Seas details have been shared internally at Royal Caribbean, this could signal that more information about the new cruise ship will be made public soon. Bayley also stated that the cruise line plans to host an interactive event, potentially this spring or fall in New York, to reveal Icon of the Seas to the public.
Royal Caribbean’s Icon Class is the first class of new vessels since 2014 when Royal Caribbean launched the first of its Quantum Class ships.