Visit our travel agent friends at MEI Travel

4 mistakes I saw other people make on Icon of the Seas—and 2 mistakes I made

09 May 2024
Calista Kiper

I spent seven nights on Icon of the Seas and noticed cruisers making some avoidable mistakes.

Icon is Royal Caribbean's newest ship and exemplifies the cruise line's effort to go above and beyond and solve problems on previous ships.

Because of that, the ship is full of innovations and designs, and it can be hard to get used to.

On my cruise, I witnessed people making silly mistakes—and I made a few myself!

Read more14 improvements Royal Caribbean developed just for Icon of the Seas

Whether you're a veteran cruiser or new to this type of travel, Icon requires some new adjustments.

To make the most of your experience on the largest cruise ship in the world, here are some mistakes you can learn from.

Take this as a guide to what not to do when you get onboard.

Mistakes I saw other people make

Getting into any elevator

Icon of the Seas debuted a new elevator system for Royal Caribbean.

Instead of pressing an up or down arrow, and choosing your floor once you enter the elevator, you select your specific destination on tablets outside the elevators.

The tablet then tells you which elevator to wait at (a letter from A-L) and when the elevator arrives, it takes you directly to your deck.

I witnessed a couple of people still adjusting to this elevator system.

Once, I saw a lady walk right onto an elevator without choosing her destination floor. 

I’m not sure if she knew which direction the elevator was going, but I knew she would be stuck with no way to choose her floor from the inside.

She mostly likely had to get out at the next stop, select her destination on a tablet outside, and then enter the indicated elevator.

Not wearing shoes in public

This seems like common sense, but some guests can get carried away with the air of casual relaxation on a cruise ship.

It’s easy to go in between the pool and lunch, or the hot tub and your afternoon snack.

When you go from the pool deck to a dining area, however, it’s important to wear a cover-up over your swimsuit and make sure that you have shoes on.

I was entering the Windjammer for lunch when I saw the Washy-washy crew member turn away a young boy.

“I can’t let you in without shoes on,” he said.

I turned around and, sure enough, the boy was barefoot.

He had to walk away and find shoes before he was allowed to enter the dining venue.

Leaving children unattended 

Icon of the Seas provides an awesome family experience, and I could tell when I was onboard.

Even though I don’t have children, I noticed a lot of fun areas focused on families with young kids, like the Surfside neighborhood, water slides, and even a playground on deck 15.

However, not every area is intended for children, and parents should still be mindful of where their children are and what they are doing.

I was in the gym when I saw a child wander into and start playing with the free weights. With no parents in sight, he started jumping on the machines and grabbing random weights.

I was worried that he might fall or drop something and hurt himself!

I’m not sure where his guardians were—maybe they had no idea their son had slipped away—but they should have been mindful of where he was.

The gym does not permit any children under 12, and guests under 16 are supposed to be accompanied by an adult.

While the families with young children lent a vibrant and playful atmosphere to the cruise, I didn’t think it was safe to leave kids unattended around the cruise ship.

Not bringing a water bottle

My travel buddy said they most regretted not packing a water bottle on this cruise.

It would have been helpful to carry drinks from the dining venues back to our stateroom, or out of the ship when we left on excursions.

I always pack a large Hydroflask water bottle on my cruises, and it helps me stay hydrated.

If you don't pack a water bottle, you'll have to resort to carrying cups of water around or paying extra for plastic water bottles.

Mistakes I made

Purchasing a shore excursion without looking for a better price

Before my cruise, I went onto Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner

I decided to buy the cheaper shore excursions that I saw offered there on the website.

Since I love birds, I was excited to see an aviary tour on Costa Maya, Mexico, offered for $59 per person. I bought it without a second thought.

When we arrived at the tour, the guide walked us just a few steps into the port and guided us into the aviary.

At the aviary itself, I saw that tickets were being sold for only $14 per person.

My heart dropped with regret.

If I had just waited until we got to the port and walked up to the aviary myself, I could have saved $45!

Read more8 things I love about Icon of the Seas (and 3 I didn't)

Forgetting to pack sunglasses

It's not easy to remember to pack everything you need—especially for longer cruises—but I wish I'd made more of an effort.

I forgot to pack sunglasses on my cruise and realized my mistake as soon as I got onboard.

Whether I was sitting at the pool, walking around the deck, or even sitting inside a sunny area, I found myself squeezing my eyes shut to protect myself from the sun.

Even though I knew the cost would be high, I gave in and started to peruse the shops onboard, looking for any pair of sunglasses at all.

A saleslady asked my budget and I told her I would pay up to $50 for them, thinking that already it was a steep price to pay for the $10 pairs I had left behind.

However, she let me know they didn't have anything in my price range and proceeded to show me sunglasses ranging from $119-$150.

I was so frustrated that I walked out of the store, and had to wait until we stopped at a port to buy some new, cost-effective sunglasses.

Packing isn't always easy, but this mistake was a further reminder of what I already knew: if you leave anything behind, it won't be worth it to buy onboard.

Calista Kiper graduated from Wheaton College, IL, with a B.A. in English Writing. 

Growing up traveling around the world, she developed a passion for diversity and cross-cultural communication. From her first cruise on Wonder of the Seas, she has delighted in the intersection between travel, diversity, and writing in the cruising world.

Calista spends her free time reading, cooking, and researching the latest human-interest stories. 

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