What is The Pearl on Icon of the Seas? Expect something completely different.
Ever since the Royal Promenade debuted on Voyager of the Seas, it has become a staple onboard many Royal Caribbean ships, and Icon of the Seas is no exception.
For the first time, Royal Caribbean focused on connecting guests to the light and water through expansive windows. To be successful, however, they needed to build a super-structure that would allow them to replace all of the steel with glass.
"The Pearl is a fundamental piece of the ship's structure," said Jay Rosser, Manager of Product Development for Royal Caribbean International.
"It is supporting all of the staterooms above it [and] Central Park, which is on Deck 8. That 16-meter diameter sphere of steel is taller than the Hollywood Sign in California."
The Pearl is an experiential installation that serves more than one purpose
The heart of Icon of the Seas is the Royal Promenade, with the heartbeat coming from The Pearl.
This moody architectural marvel will bring the ship to life, offering different experiences throughout the voyage depending on whether it is the daytime, nighttime, a sea day, or even when docked at Perfect Day at CocoCay.
"The Pearl has a lot of different purposes. It's hard to put into context," said Jay Schneider, Chief Product Innovation Officer for Royal Caribbean International.
"It's a bit art, a bit sculpture, a bit experience, a bit WOW."
It took over two years to design The Pearl
At first, The Pearl wasn't called "The Pearl." In fact, it was simply a round globe-like structure, and they were not quite sure what they were going to put inside of it.
Royal Caribbean reached out to Breakfast, a studio located in Brooklyn, New York that's known for their digitally controlled kinetic sculptures, to assist in designing the interior tiles.
"When Royal Caribbean first contacted us, we were very excited, and we kind of thought they were a little nuts to be honest," said Mattias Gunneras, Co-Founder of Breakfast.
"They came and asked us to design something that was something a lot more ambitious than anything we've done in the past."
It was important to see mock-ups to select the right finishes, including the gloss level, base color, and shimmer level. There were a lot of prototypes that were tested in order to complete the final product.
Not all of the pieces, however, were constructed in the United States. While the interior tiles were designed in the U.S., the rest was built overseas, beginning at the shipyard in Turku, Finland.
Once a certain amount was complete, it was barged to another facility, which actually had to remove a door for The Pearl to fit inside! It was then transported back to Meyer Tukru.
"Everybody's going to interact and experience The Pearl in their own way," remarked Michael Bayley, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO.
"It's beautiful; it's artistic; it's incredibly creative; it's spatially so large that once you experience it, you can't quite get your head around it."
The Royal Promenade onboard Icon of the Seas will be filled with entertainment, areas to relax, delicious dining options, and more
At 362 feet long, the Royal Promenade onboard Icon of the Seas will be longer than a football field! It will be filled with brand-new experiences, such as the 4100 Lobby Bar, Dueling Pianos, and largest ice rink at sea.
Plus, specialty restaurants, including Giovanni's Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar, will be found here, rather than in quiet locations like Central Park.
Youth programming can be accessed from the Royal Promenade, too. Teens will love the brand-new Social 020, which will offer state-of-the-art video game systems and a movie room.
"The Royal Promenade is a classic with Royal Caribbean and has evolved significantly. It's an amazing hub for the entire community onboard the ship," said Bayley.
"...it always has been this place where people meet and have fun together, and that is certainly true for Icon."