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Royal Caribbean's next-gen cruise ship will have the largest water park to thrill all ages

24 Feb 2023
Elizabeth Wright

Royal Caribbean wants to draw in adrenaline junkies with Thrill Island onboard their newest class of ships. 

Icon of the Seas water park

When Icon of the Seas debuts in early 2024, she will be the largest cruise ship in the world, weighing an astonishing 250,800 gross tons with the capacity to carry nearly 10,000 passengers and crew members. She will be unlike anything anyone has ever seen before!

Onboard this new cruise ship, you will find a brand-new neighborhood dedicated to the most adventurous cruisers: Thrill Island. 

According to Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean, "It is a thrill at every single turn. No matter what your age, you can have a great time on Thrill Island."

Designing Thrill Island

Icon of the Seas water park

Emily Rodriguez, Senior Product Owner and Product Development, said that they really took into consideration the excitement that they were seeing guests display for their thrilling experiences. They knew that those were the kinds of things that they were looking for. 

The first step to building this brand-new neighborhood was to conduct research on the adventures themselves. "...We spoke to a lot of people about what they wanted to have [and] what they expected to experience," said Bayley.

It is not just about the attractions, either. Thrill Island is an immersive experience that's themed after a lost island. Details include distressed wood, a sunken boat, and even small artifacts left from prior explorers. 

Recording breaking water park

Icon of the Seas water park

At 17,010 square feet, Icon of the Seas will be home to the largest water park at sea, Category 6, where you will find six recording breaking slides, including the first family raft slides at sea: Storm Surge and Hurricane Hunter. 

Groups of four can ride together and boomerang off of a lotus leaf while soaking up some incredible ocean views.

Icon of the Seas water park

There will also be Pressure Drop, the first open free fall slide at sea. While overlooking a 45 degree angle drop, you will have to gain the courage to push yourself over the edge!

Icon of the Seas water park

The boldest, however, may be the Frightening Bold. With a 46 foot drop and 360 degree loop, it will be the tallest waterslide at sea that will begin with you inside of a capsule waiting for the trap door to release. 

Icon of the Seas water park

And for those who love a little friendly competition, there are the Storm Chasers, the first duo mat-racing slides at sea. You'll be twisting and turning until the end of the 431 foot slides!

Taking on a task of this size, however, requires thoughtful planning. Kelly Gonzalez, the Senior Vice President of Architectural Design and Newbuilding said, "We wanted a lot of water; we wanted a lot of speed; we wanted a lot of height; and we really did not want to compromise of any one of those things, so we had to bring a lot of experts in to work with us in order to make sure that we could design this in a way that it was going to be technically sound."

Crown's Edge

Icon of the Seas water park

Crown's Edge is a fear-inducing adventure course that's about 49 feet tall and 44 feet wide. It is meant to test the bravest of the brave. It combines a ropes course, skywalk, and thrill ride into one jaw-dropping experience. 

Icon of the Seas water park

You will step out onto a ledge that hangs 154 feet above the ocean right by the infamous Royal Caribbean crown and anchor. The walkway will stop, and you will be left admiring the ocean views until the trap door releases, sending you on a short glide right back where you began. 

Enhancing the family vacation experience 

Icon of the Seas water park

Thrill Island was designed to ensure that the multigenerational family is able to have a great vacation together. Throughout the neighborhood, you will find plenty of seating to cheer on family and friends who are stepping up to the challenge. 

"Grandma and grandpa do not want to go down the world's tallest waterslide, but they do want to see their kids go down the world's tallest waterslide. And they want them to experience the emotion and happiness and the joy that those kids get from those experiences," said Bayley.

It is not just about the thrills themselves; it is about how the neighborhood can create memories for everyone onboard. 

Eating and drinking around Thrill Island


Base Camp is the dining venue in Thrill Island that will offer complimentary options, as well as some available for an additional charge. 

"After you've experienced the most amazing water park at sea, you can head over to Base Camp and enjoy some great burgers, over-the-top sides, amazing handheld sandwiches, and kind of talk with your friends and family about what you just experiences," said Adam Bourcier, Director of Production Innovation.

There will also be Desserted, a milkshake bar offering both virgin and boozy options.  

Return of fan-favorites

Icon of the Seas water park

While Thrill Island is chalked full of brand-new experiences, the cruise line is also bringing back some fan-favorites, including the FlowRider surf simulator and rock wall. 

The rock wall onboard Icon of the Seas is named Adrenaline Peak, and it will be themed to fit into the island experience with props like twigs and tree vines. There will be five different lanes, each with a buzzer at the top!

Icon of the Seas water park

Sports fans will be relieved to know that there will still be a sports court; however, guests should expect it to be vibrant and multicolored! 

Icon of the Seas water park

And, of course, there will be a mini-golf course in Thrill Island: Lost Dunes. Royal Caribbean reimagined the course to fit into the theming of the neighborhood. While you play against family and friends, you'll feel like you are in a lost jungle. With each hole, you are one step closer to making your way out!

One of eight neighborhoods

Icon of the Seas water park

Thrill Island is one of eight neighborhood that will be found onboard Icon of the Seas. It is not the only new concept, either, as families with young children will love the brand-new Surfside Neighborhood

In fact, only three neighborhoods can be found on Oasis Class ships: Royal Promenade, Central Park, and the Suite Neighborhood (on Wonder of the Seas only). 

"[Thrill Island] is the first time Royal Caribbean International has really themed a full neighborhood around this idea of thrill, and what we're giving you with Crown's Edge and Adrenaline Peak...with Category 6 Waterpark, a FlowRider, and reimagined mini-golf course, that's just going to be incredible," said Claudia Diaz-Gonzalez, Associate Vice President of Product Development.

More about Thrill Island

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Elizabeth graduated from New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute with her M.A. in Journalism in May 2023. Growing up, she had the privilege of traveling frequently with her family and fell in love with cruising after sailing on the Oasis of the Seas her freshman year of high school. She wanted to pursue a career that highlighted her passion for travel and strengths as a writer. 

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