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Royal Caribbean updates: Icon of the Seas sea trials, Adults-only beach construction & more

05 May 2023
Elizabeth Wright

This week was filled with exciting updates and developments surrounding Royal Caribbean cruises. 

Icon and Hideaway updates

In addition to updates regarding Utopia of the Seas during the company's budget call, a strong first quarter, and the reopening of the Chinese cruising market, it was announced that the highly anticipated Icon of the Seas is nearing sea trials! Plus, construction is continuing with the adults-only area in Perfect Day at CocoCay, as well as the filing of a new trademark.

Here is a rundown of some news that you should be aware of!

Icon of the Seas nearing her sea trials


The launch of the world's largest cruise ship is getting closer and closer. 

According to a Facebook post made by Meyer Turku on May 5, Icon of the Seas is nearing beginning her sea trials, the last major milestone in the construction of the brand-new ship; they are slated to begin in mid-June. 

This step is important, as it helps to ensure that the ship is ready for service and that all operational systems work properly. Moreover, this is often when some of the first pictures of the completed ship are taken. 

"Sea trials are one of the most important milestones on a ship's road to completion," the post says.

Icon of the Seas construction aerial photo from February 2023

"Sea trials are a way to test all of the ships features that cannot be tested while docked, and that every function onboard is working as intended. [They] are also used to make sure the noise and vibration levels are where they should be."

"As the world's largest prototype ship, Icon's early sea trials are important to ensure that all the ship's main equipment such as propulsion equipment, main engines and power plant, thrusters and fin stabilizers are working as they should."

The shipyard did not confirm how long the sea trials will be, as they vary in duration. It is not uncommon for ships to undergo two different sessions! 

Until sea trials begin, construction will continue at the shipyard in Finland, where construction initially began in June 2021. 


When all of the sea trials are complete, there may be some final adjustments that need to be made before the ship is prepared for delivery. As of May 2023, no official delivery date has been announced by Royal Caribbean or Meyer Werft.

Related: Why are new cruise ships still being built?

When Icon of the Seas makes her debut in January 2024, she will become the world's largest cruise ship, surpassing the current title holder: Wonder of the Seas. As the cruise line's first Icon Class ship, she will be one-of-a-kind and offer the ultimate family vacation. 

Icon of the Seas water park

Onboard, guests will find the world's largest water park at sea, as well as other firsts and upgrades, such as the AquaDome, a revamped Central Park neighborhood, Chill Island, and the brand-new Surfside neighborhood for families with children. 

Icon will be 6% larger than Wonder of the Seas with the ability to hold up to 7,600 passengers. Including crew members, Icon's total capacity will be close to 10,000. 

She will measure 250,800 gross registered tons, 1,198 feet long, and tower 20 decks high. 


In addition to the sheer size of this vessel, it will be the first Royal Caribbean ship to be powered by LNG-fuel. She will have six Wärtsilä main engines that are capable of running on both diesel and natural gas. 

The demand for Icon of the Seas is just as unprecedented as the ship itself! 

"Despite being on sale for only five months," said Jason Liberty, Royal Caribbean Group's CEO during an earnings call on May 4, Icon is significantly more booked for her inaugural season at materially higher rates than any other Royal Caribbean ship launch."

Once Icon of the Seas is handed over to Royal Caribbean, she will begin making round-trip cruises to the Eastern and Western Caribbean from Miami, Florida in January 2024. Her inaugural voyage is slated for January 27. 

Hideaway Beach construction update


RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Steve Cohen provided us with some photos of Hideaway Beach's construction.

Back in September 2021, Royal Caribbean announced that they would be building a new adults-only area at Perfect Day at CocoCay

In 2019, Perfect Day at CocoCay reopened after a $250 million renovation as the ultimate tropical getaway and included the addition of a brand-new water park featuring the 135-foot Daredevil's Peak water slide. 

Hideaway Beach was the first expansion of Perfect Day at CocoCay since Royal Caribbean launched the luxurious Coco Beach Club in 2020. This, however, was a smaller expansion and only increased the island's capacity by a few hundred guests. Hideaway Beach is expected to be larger.

Little, however, has been revealed about what guests can expect this area to be like. Unlike the Royal Beach Club in Nassau, no mock up plans have been released. 

The pictures provided by Cohen show that a structure is being built adjacent to a lagoon on the interior of the island; however, it is unclear what the structure will be for. Perhaps restroom facilities or some kind of fast-casual dining venue like the Snack Shack-- it is all speculation at this point!


Liberty said, "Icon will join the fleet later this year and will debut in the Caribbean in January 2024, with itineraries that include Perfect Day at CocoCay and its new expansion, Hideaway Beach."

"[Hideaway Beach] will accommodate approximately 2,500 more guests...On average now we're having around 11,000 guests a day in in CocoCay, [and] with Hideaway, we can add another two and a half, 3,000 guests...And that's really for designed to be open in time for Icon of the Seas," said Michael Bayley, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO. 

Royal Caribbean has yet to confirm when Hideaway Beach will officially open and whether or not it will be complimentary or not. It is expected to open in early January around the time that Icon of the Seas sets sail. 

From the pictures, it appears that Hideaway Beach still has a lot of construction ahead of being ready to open to the public! 

Trademark filed for "Cabana Cay"


On April 10, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. filed a trademark application for the name "Cabana Cay." Per the United States Patent and Trademark Office's website, the trademark "is intended to cover the categories of recreation services, namely, resort services."

New trademark applications always spark interest, and with the ongoing construction at Hideaway Beach in CocoCay and the Royal Beach Club in Nassau, it is possible that Cabana Cay is related to one of these things. The name also suggests that it has something to do with cabanas, a feat that Royal Caribbean has worked on perfecting, especially with the addition of the cabanas at the Coco Beach Club. 

Royal Beach Club render

The Royal Beach Club was originally announced in March 2020; however, construction was stalled due to the pandemic. In March 2023, Royal Caribbean announced that the 17-acre beach club would officially open in 2025 as a partnership with The Bahamas.

13 out of the 17 acres will be owned by Royal Caribbean, with the remaining 4 acres as Crown Land, meaning that they will be split as equity between the Bahamian government and its people. 

Unlike Perfect Day at CocoCay, the Royal Beach Club will not be a private island. Instead, it will be a private destination on Paradise Island available only to Royal Caribbean cruise line guests. 

The intention of the Royal Beach Club is to increase customer satisfaction in Nassau, as Michael Bayley revealed that the port currently ranks amount the bottom 10% of ports of call in customer feedback. 

It will be an experience that costs extra, meaning that it will not be included in the cost of your cruise fare.

The pass will not be all-inclusive, either. Outside of access to the beach club, lunch, and a beach chair, you will be responsible for paying for any other extras, including alcohol and soda, cabanas, day beds, and water sports. 

Royal Beach Club master concept plan

On the concept maps of the Royal Beach Club, there are a couple of areas that will be reserved for cabanas, including a "VIP Cabanas" area on the northern shore of Paradise Island facing the open ocean, rather than the cruise port. In addition, there are two other plans for "Beach Cabanas." Outside of what has been revealed on the concept map, as well as the fact that they will be an extra cost, no other information has been provided about these cabanas.  

All speculation aside, it is important to remember trademark filings do indicate any intention Royal Caribbean has. Sometimes, trademarks are filed for future use in the event that they decide to use the name for something. Like when they trademarked "The Star," "The Pearl," "The Jewel," "The Orb," "The Gem," and "The Oyster" at the same time back in 2022!

Additionally, Royal Caribbean Group files all of its trademarks under a single brand on behalf of all of their subsidiary lines, including Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and SilverSea.

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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