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Spotted: Royal Caribbean is testing the better elevators from the world's largest cruise ship on other ships

30 Apr 2024
Matt Hochberg

Could Royal Caribbean be working on bringing arguably the best feature from its newest cruise ship to other ships in the fleet.

Are destination elevators coming to Allure of the Seas?

Icon of the Seas introduced many new innovations that made a big difference in the guest experience, and the destination elevators have been a significant improvement many have noted.

Icon sailing away

The new type of elevators on Icon of the Seas are more efficient and that means far less waiting.

Read more: Icon of the Seas guide

Guests sailing on Allure of the Seas on Tuesday noticed one of the elevator banks looks a lot like a destination elevator bank from Icon of the Seas.

Destination elevator test
Destination elevator test elevator

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Chris Birdsong shared photos exclusively with us of what he saw.

Destination elevator test

The elevators had temporary letters above each door, to indicate what assignment a passenger would have when requesting an elevator.

Destination elevator test panel

In addition, there was a destination elevator panel that looks exactly like the panels on Icon, where a guest indicates which floor they would like to sail to. 

Testing new elevators

Royal Caribbean has not officially announced any changes coming to Allure of the Seas yet.

According to Mr. Birdsong, Royal Caribbean's Product Development team is onboard Allure of the Seas conducting the test.

He added one of the managers mentioned that Utopia of the Seas will in fact have the destination elevators when it enters service this summer.

Why destination elevators work so well

Destination elevator

Royal Caribbean knew with a ship the size of Icon of the Seas, they needed to improve the elevator experience because guests had complained about elevator wait times on the Oasis Class ships. Given Icon was going to be bigger, there was a need to address the issue.

Destination elevators aren't just a fad, they're a way to more efficiently tackle the issue of getting passengers between decks and that's been a traditional pain point on big ships.

Instead of pressing a button to wait for an elevator, guests push a button for which floor they want to go to and are assigned an elevator.

Destination elevator panel

The change improves upon a problem that has plagued all cruise ships, and Royal Caribbean knew they couldn't go with traditional elevators on a ship planned to be even larger than the Oasis Class ships.

Read more: Icon of the Seas vs other Royal Caribbean cruise ships

In the development of Icon of the Seas, Royal Caribbean's Senior Vice President and Chief Product Innovation Officer Jay Schneider saw three compelling reasons to improve cruise ship elevators.


He pointed out that firstly, elevators go through their own historical innovation and evolution cycle.

The second reason is the well-documented issues guests have waiting for elevators, "even with the elevators that we have on the Oasis Class, we still can struggle with lines."

Third, Icon has more passengers than any other ship, "so really being able to effectively move up to 7500 passengers seamlessly and solve for some of the problems that we've seen from our elevator technology on other ships, this is a big step forward."

Intelligent elevator test on Harmony of the Seas

Royal Caribbean first ran through a test of the destination elevators on Harmony of the Seas in 2017.

The result has been an overwhelming success based on our readers' comments.


Jennifer Goswami, Director Product Development at Royal Caribbean Group, recently spoke about how simple, yet important, destination elevators have been.

"Elevators, while kind of not always the flashiest of technology, have been an absolute smash hit for Icon," Ms. Goswami stated.

"When you're waiting outside of an elevator for three, four, five minutes, we call them microwave minutes where they feel like the longest minute of your life," she said.

Allure of the Seas upcoming refurbishment

Allure of the Seas aerial rear

The choice of the destination elevator test on Allure of the Seas is likely not a surprise, given the ship is due for a major overhaul next year.

We already know Allure of the Seas will go in for a refurbishment in 2025, and most likely getting the upgrades she was originally to receive in 2020.

Plans for upgrades to Allure were first announced in 2019 and to be completed in 2020.  It was an ambitious $165 million drydock as part of the Royal Amplification program.

Other cruise ships had already undergone similar upgrades, such as Voyager, Freedom and Oasis Class ships.

In early 2020, however, the pandemic postponed of the upcoming refits.

Michael Bayley and Jason Liberty

In February 2024, Royal Caribbean Group President & CEO Jason Liberty confirmed to Wall Street analysts the plans.

" We're always modernizing. " Liberty said. "We have Allure coming up and the actions we took on Oasis. Some of the learnings on Icon is going to be in the modernization of Allure of the Seas.."

"We are always updating our ships to make sure they stay relevant and competitive."

The hint that they would utilize "learnings on Icon" would be consistent with Icon's elevators, among other features.

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 experts 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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