Visit our travel agent friends at MEI Travel

10 side-by-side photos show Icon of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, at day and night

09 Feb 2024
Angie Vognild

Icon of the Seas is truly a beautiful ship at both day and night.

Thrill Island and Surfside at day and night

In the morning, you can have breakfast in Central Park, take a dip in one of the seven pools or nine whirlpools, or attend a round of trivia.

At night, grab a bite to eat at one of the many new restaurants, check out a comedy show, or cheers with a drink while watching the sunset.

No matter what time of day, there’s so much to do and see on the world’s largest ship!

Here’s what some of the neighborhoods look like during the day and night onboard Icon of the Seas.

Chill Island

Chill Island on Icon of the Seas

Spread out across decks 15, 16, and 17, Chill Island features four of the seven pools onboard Icon of the Seas.

These pools include Royal Bay, the largest pool on Icon, Swim & Tonic, the first swim-up bar at sea, Cove Pool, and Cloud 17, both offering infinity ocean views. During the day, you’ll find many people relaxing in one of these pools. There are also so many chairs and loungers that you will have no problem finding one to call yours for the day.

Need a drink? Chill Island has three Lime & Coconut bars, and one of them has a new frozen cocktail bar. If you want a snack, El Loco Fresh and Cantina Fresca isn’t far!

Chill Island on Icon of the Seas

The pools at Chill Island are not busy at night (because a lot of them do close around 7 or 8 p.m., although Cloud 17 is usually open until 11 p.m.), but that doesn’t mean this neighborhood isn’t the place to go when the sun goes down.

To get the night started, there’s a bandstand and DJ that plays tunes during the sailaway parties.

The whirlpools are open 24 hours a day, so this is a great place to wind down for the day. And, there was a time or two during my cruise when there were late-night parties on the pool deck, like the “Too Wet Feet with a Caribbean Beat” party at Royal Bay.

Oftentimes, Chill Island was very much a chill place at night.

Central Park

Central Park on Icon of the Seas

Perhaps the most peaceful place on Icon of the Seas is Central Park on deck eight.

With four plant walls that are five decks high, Central Park is stunning. There’s a total of 30,550 plants to admire! I enjoyed having an infinite balcony cabin that overlooked this gorgeous neighborhood.

Read more: I stayed in a 200-square-foot room on the world's largest cruise ship, where there's a new kind of balcony. Here's what it's like inside.

There are a few specialty restaurants located here, like Chops Grille, Izumi, and Empire Supper Club, as well as bars like Lou’s Jazz ‘n Blues, Bubbles, and Trellis Bar.

Some mornings, I would stop by the Park Café for breakfast. The egg sandwiches, bagel bar, and fresh fruit were all a great way to start my day. There was another afternoon when I tried the cookies & cream bubble cone at Izumi in the Park. It was so good and one of my favorite treats onboard Icon of the Seas!

I believe at night is when Central Park comes to life. One night, I sat at the Trellis Bar with a cocktail and just watched what was going on around me. It was calming and I couldn’t get over how beautiful the whole neighborhood was.

During the inaugural sailing, I was able to enjoy dinner at both Izumi and Empire Supper Club. Both dinners were excellent and worth the upcharge, in my opinion.

Read more: I dined at Royal Caribbean’s most expensive restaurant: I didn't expect to like it as much as I did


Surfside on Icon of the Seas

Surfside is a brand new neighborhood for young families that was introduced on Icon of the Seas.

Located on deck seven, families will find three water experiences at Surfside, including Water’s Edge for adults and Splashaway Bay and Baby Bay for kids. In addition to pools, you’ll find places to eat, like Surfside Eatery, Surfside Bites, Pier 7, and Sugar Beach. There’s also a bar with drinks for kids and adults called The Lemon Post.

What’s great about Surfside is that it’s conveniently located by Adventure Ocean, the kids club found on every Royal Caribbean ship.

As you can imagine, this neighborhood is much busier in the day. The few times I stopped by at night, there was hardly anyone there! I think that is because the kids were probably in bed by then.

During the day, kids can stop by the arcade (which is open 24 hours), take a ride on the carousel, and crawl around on the Playscape jungle gym. At night, there were a few events that took place, such as “Once Upon a Bedtime Story” and the “Family Dance Party,” but most events were during the day.

Overall, I found that this neighborhood was never really that busy. This could be because I sailed at the end of January when kids are typically in school - this will probably change as time goes on, especially during the summer months.

Royal Promenade

Royal Promenade on Icon of the Seas

The Royal Promenade on Icon of the Seas is the first to feature floor-to-ceiling windows and two connecting decks (decks five and six).

While the Royal Promenade is found on many Royal Caribbean ships, the promenade on Icon of the Seas has lots of new venues, like Dueling Pianos, 1400 Lobby Bar, The Pearl, Spotlight Karaoke, and more.

Both day and night, you will find so much to do and experience in the Royal Promenade! 

In the morning, you will often find a long line at Starbucks, people shopping for Icon of the Seas merchandise, or grabbing something to eat at The Pearl Café. The Pearl Café is a beautiful spot to sit and watch the ocean, so be sure to stop here at least once on your cruise.

At night, The Royal Promenade is bustling! I found that the busiest places were Dueling Pianos, the Point & Feather pub, and The Attic comedy club. Because these venues are not super big, I highly recommend getting to all of the shows extra early to secure a spot, and be sure to make reservations as soon as you can for all of the shows that require one.

Read more: Mastering your Icon of the Seas cruise with the best tips


AquaDome on Icon of the Seas

The AquaDome neighborhood includes more than just the AquaTheatre. Here you will also find The Overlook, Rye & Bean coffee bar, Hooked Seafood, and the first food hall for Royal Caribbean: the AquaDome Market.

The busiest time in the AquaDome was at night when “Aqua Action!” was being performed. This show is breathtaking and a must-see onboard Icon of the Seas. This was the only aqua show being performed during the inaugural sailing, but down the road, there will be another one called “Pirates vs Mermaids.”

I ate at the AquaDome Market frequently during my cruise. I usually went for dinner, and it was hardly ever busy. But, Crème de la Crepe was popular at night for a late-night snack! If you want to avoid the lines, I would recommend coming to the AquaDome Market at night.

The Overlook on Icon of the Seas

The Overlook is a unique spot on Icon of the Seas. This area is usually busier during the daytime because people can view the ocean from one of the pods. But, the Overlook bar is open until 9 p.m. and if you’re lucky enough to snag one of the pods, this is a great place to enjoy a cocktail. 

Thrill Island

Thrill Island on Icon of the Seas

The highlight of Thrill Island is Category 6, the largest waterpark at sea at more than 17,000 square feet, which consists of six waterslides. The Category 6 waterpark is open until 9 p.m., but I found that it was busiest during the day.

During my cruise, I tried Frightening Bolt, the tallest drop slide at sea, and Pressure Drop, the first open freefall slide at sea. They were both exhilarating! Neither of them had long lines, but I saw the family raft slides (Hurrican Hunter and Storm Surge) had long lines.

Guests will also find Crown’s Edge near the waterpark. Crown’s Edge is a ropes course that hangs over the side of the ship and has a drop that is 154 feet above the ocean. I conquered Crown’s Edge at night, which was a fun and somewhat scary experience. I think it would be even more thrilling to do during the day!

Also at Thrill Island is the classic FlowRider surf simulator, mini golf (called Lost Dunes), and rock climbing (called Adrenaline Peak). These activities are most popular during the day.

The Hideaway

The Hideaway on Icon of the Seas

The Hideaway is the adults-only area on Icon of the Seas. You can come here to enjoy some fun music from the DJ, relax in one of the two hot tubs, or swim in the first suspended infinity pool at sea.

During my cruise, I had the opportunity to rent one of the Hideaway Pool daybeds for the entire day. While there, I got an idea of how busy The Hideaway was throughout the day.

Read more: I tried the $350 in-pool daybed rental on Icon of the Seas. It was pricey, but you get a prime spot

The Hideaway was not busy in the early morning. The pool opened at 10 a.m., and there were a few people either in the pool or grabbing loungers. By the afternoon, the entire Hideaway was hopping! Lots of people were in the pool, almost every chair was claimed, and the DJ was busting upbeat tunes.

Even around dinner time (5 p.m.), there were people still swimming and lounging in the chairs. I didn’t think it would be busy at this time, but as it got closer to closing (9 p.m.), not many people were there anymore.

If you want to enjoy The Hideaway with fewer people, I would recommend getting there close to opening at 10 a.m. or after dinner around 7 or 8 p.m.

Where is your favorite place, day or night, on Icon of the Seas? Let us know in the comments!

Get our newsletter

Stay up-to-date with cruise news & advice

    We never share your information with third parties and will protect it in accordance with our Privacy Policy