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Royal Caribbean designed its new Icon of the Seas cruise ship to have a beach retreat experience

01 Jun 2023
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has designed plenty to do on its next new cruise ship, including ways to relax, as if you were at the beach.

Cove pool

Icon of the Seas will launch early next year, and among the many things you can do onboard will also be ways to not to anything.

The cruise line is known for packing its ships the sort of whizzbang features that capture the imagination of the public, but they also want to ensure it has thrills, dining variety, nightlife, and shopping to make a great resort getaway.

Two new neighborhoods will be part of the Icon of the Seas launch aimed at giving guests the perfect spot for a calm escape: Chill Island and The Hideaway.

Chill Island and Hideaway

In short, Royal Caribbean wanted to create something more than just your average cruise ship pool decks.

Chill Island

Pool aerial on Icon of the Seas

Located in the middle of the top deck is the new multi-deck experience centered around the idea of enjoying time by the water.

Whether it's sitting by the pool, listening to the Caribbean band, or enjoying time at the ship's swim-up bar, the idea behind Chill Island is you can pick from different ways to take it easy.

You won't have to go far to find an aquatic escape, as Chill Island has plenty of it.

Chill Island

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley saw the demand for being in close proximity to water as important to their customers, "Our research told us that people wanted to not only look at the water, see the ocean, but they wanted to be surrounded by water, whether it's a whirlpool, Jacuzzi, whether it's a swimming pool, whether it's a beach pool, really, that whole experience is built around water."

That lead Royal Caribbean to want to build more pools than ever before. In fact, there's 62% more water surface area than on the Oasis Class cruise ships.

You'll find the largest pool at sea, an adult only pool, and the first suspended infinity pool at sea. Five of the seven pools on Icon of the Seas are located in Chill Island.

Royal Bay

Royal Bay: the largest pool ever put on a ship. The entry of the pool has shallow water, along with two hot tubs that flank either side of the pool. There's also the longest deep water pool that the cruise line has ever created.

Swim & Tonic

Swim & Tonic: The first true swim-up bar that you'll find on a Royal Caribbean ship, and it will have a party vibe all day. You'll find a DJ nearby so that you can dance in the shallow water or just enjoy the experience.

Cove Pool

The Cove: A smaller pool with infinity ocean views.  Think more zen than busy, as it has a calmer experience. Royal Caribbean put it on the edge of the ship so you can not only sit in the water, but also enjoy views of the ocean.

Cloud Pool

Cloud 17: This is the adult-only area on Icon of the Seas.  While the ship doesn't have a Solarium, it does have a new take on adults-only. It has views of the ocean, cocktails, and hot tubs to enjoy.

The Hideaway

The Hideaway

Royal Caribbean describes its Hideaway neighborhood as having a combination of day club and beach club, centered around a suspended infinity pool.

In fact, this is the first suspended infinity pool on a cruise ship, with 180-degree views of the ocean.

The Hideaway on Icon of the Seas

"You can get incredible views, great music, fantastic drinks with proximity to food from base camp. And it's going to be a place our guests are going to really make it their hideaway," said Royal Caribbean's Associate Vice President of Product Development, Claudia Diaz-Gonzalez .


Royal Caribbean is planning on creating a few special cocktails specifically for the Hideaway neighborhood to further enhance what makes this area unique.

Connection to the ocean

Cove Pool and the ocean

While both of these neighborhoods have intriguing things to enjoy, Royal Caribbean wanted to ensure you had a view to the ocean so it felt just like a beach resort.

Royal Caribbean Group CEO Jason Liberty said this wasn't just a gut feeling, but in fact something the line heard from customers, "When it comes down to market research, and of course understanding what our guests are looking to do, we know one of the major draws is wanting to be connected to the water."

"And so you'll see we've really leveraged the latest shipping nautical technology to really bring some of our spaces to just grander levels so people always feel like they're connected to the ocean."

Hideaway at sunset

More than just having pools, you'll notice the design of the pools draws the guest towards the ocean.  You'll notice the pools on Icon of the Seas allow guests to physically be in the water while looking at the ocean.

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost expert on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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