Visit our travel agent friends at MEI Travel

Royal Caribbean swaps adults-only venues on Icon of the Seas

14 Jan 2024

Royal Caribbean has made a last-minute change to which part of Icon of the Seas will be exclusively for adults.

The Hideaway is now adults-only

Ever since Royal Caribbean revealed details on its newest cruise ship, Cloud 17 was to be the adults-only area. Icon does not have a Solarium, which has traditionally been the adults-only area on its cruise ships.

As first reported by Cruise Critic, the plan has changed.

Instead of Cloud 17 (located in Chill Island), The Hideaway neighborhood will become the adults-only area for guests 18 years old or older.

The Hideaway

In speaking with Royal Caribbean's Senior Vice President and Chief Product Innovation Officer Jay Schneider, the change was made in just the last week.

Adults only sign at The Hideaway

When passengers board Icon of the Seas for the first revenue sailing on January 27, they can find a kid-free zone at The Hideaway. Cloud 17 will be open to guests of all ages.

Why the change was made

The Hideaway

Making the swap of venue rules just weeks before the new cruise ship was to set sail had a few reasons for it.

First, Mr. Schneider indicated that since Hideaway Beach at Perfect Day at CocoCay was going to be an adults-only area, having a very similar named venue on Icon of the Seas made more logical sense to have the same policy.

In addition, Cruise Critic reported that Royal Caribbean felt Cloud 17 was in "prime real estate" and did not make sense to have the area closed off to families.

About The Hideaway

The Hideaway neighborhood

One of the new neighborhood ideas on Icon of the Seas is The Hideaway. 

It's at the very back of the ship on deck 15, and it's Royal Caribbean's first ever pool at the back of a ship.

The Hideaway neighborhood

The pool is perched 135 feet above the ocean, offering 180 degree views.

The Hideaway

From its conceptualization, The Hideaway was meant to have a Las Vegas pool party vibe.  It has the first suspended infinity pool at sea, day beds, loungers, and an expansive bar area.

The Hideaway

There's also a multilevel terrace, whirlpools, a variety of seating. The daybeds have an additional cost to them.

Fan reaction

Hideaway Neighborhood

News of the change seems to be have been so far with favorable reaction.

Comments on Reddit showed cruisers think there's more logic to having The Hideaway be for only adults.

"That is a huge improvement, Cloud 17 looked like it would suck whenever it’s windy," wrote Kvalri.

Hideaway Bar

shanham wrote, "I was surprised that hideaway wasn’t the adult area because I saw they were selling the hideaway “pool beds” for $500 on my sailing. I told my husband I couldn’t imagine paying $500 to be on a bed in a pool full of kids."

Hideaway pool

illuminated0ne thinks making The Hideaway adults-only is sensible, but not changing Cloud 17 as well, "I always assumed they would turn The Hideaway into adults only eventually because of the expensive day beds in the area, but I didn't think they'd take away the other adults-only place they've been advertising for a year."

"The Hideaway looks so much smaller. It's even more puzzling they're doing it before trying it out once."

About Cloud 17

Cloud 17

If making Cloud 17 suddenly changes your pool deck plans, here's what to know about the area.

You'll find an infinity-edge pool at Cloud 17 (the same is true at the Cove Pool) that overlooks the ocean. There's also a whirlpool.

It also has its own Lime & Coconut Bar.

Hideaway bar menu

Hideaway drink menu

As mentioned, there is a bar in The Hideaway and it has a special menu.

The menu is simply a starting point, and you can order other cocktails, beers, or mixed drinks.  

Here's a look at the drink menu.

Hideaway drink menu
Hideaway drink menu
Hideaway drink menu
Hideaway drink menu
Hideaway drink menu

First look Inside the World's Biggest Cruise Marvel, Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas

12 Jan 2024

We knew Royal Caribbean's next new cruise ship was going to be impressive, but it's pretty darn incredible how they can push the boundaries of what we expect on a ship.

The Pearl

The words, "wow", "I can't believe it", and "amazing" were swirling through my head as I had a brief day visit tour of the biggest cruise ship in the world, Icon of the Seas.

The 20-deck high ship comes in at 250,800 tons, winning the title of biggest cruise ship in the world from sister vessel, Wonder of the Seas.  In fact, it will be the first time in about 5 years that an Oasis Class ship hasn't been the biggest in the world.

The ship appeals to a wide range of cruisers, with a growing focus on the family cruise market. Like a new bride, it borrow the traditions of the past, while forging its own destiny. All new cruise ships build on the progress made by ships of the past, but it is clear to me that Icon of the Seas takes a jump ahead. If there's one thing apparent about Royal Caribbean's new ship, it's that it's anything but ordinary.

Surfside seats

With just weeks to go until the first paying passengers board the ship, I had a day to run around and explore as much of Icon of the Seas as I could squeeze in and share with you what this new ship is all about.

Icon is a brand new class of ship, so that means Royal Caribbean started from scratch. They incorporated ideas from existing ships while creating new ideas and reworking others. Don't be surprised when you see something that is similar to an existing ship. While they may have borrowed the concept, they've also built upon it and iterated it as well.


A great example is when you walk onboard the Royal Promenade.  Icon is not the first ship to have a Royal Promenade, but it is the first one to have a wide-open Royal Promenade that has windows, shops, and certain venues. 

The Pearl

There's sunlight, new restaurants and The Pearl. Much was made of The Pearl at a time when we knew next to nothing about Icon, and it might have been overinflated in terms of significance, but it delivers on making your jaw drop when you first walk onto the ship and that's the first thing you see.

It's three decks high, has a beautiful interior made up of kinetic tiles, and I'm told there will be certain events that occur in there related to sound and sight. You might not want to visit The Pearl every day, but I challenge you not to go there at least once and marvel at it.

Pearl Cafe

Another step up for Royal Caribbean is behind The Pearl with Pearl Cafe.  The replacement to Cafe Promenade on other ships, Pearl Cafe has grab-and-go snacks for guests on the run, as well as specialty coffees.  Best of all, it has many tables and large windows.  It reminds me a lot of Cafe al bacio in some ways, and I would love to sit and people watch from there.

Schooner Bar

Throughout the Promenade you'll find familiar places with fresh looks. Giovanni's Table has a home here, while Schooner Bar has a beautiful nautical motif. 

Dueling Pianos

The new Dueling Pianos bar has the potential to be one of the top nightlife locations, and I really like the seating arrangements in the Point & Feather pub.


The AquaDome


I wasn't sure where to go first once I boarded, but I really wanted to the AquaDome neighborhood. 

The AquaDome is one of those staggering places that you can't help but revel in the magnitude of the space. From the theater in the middle, to the Overlook seating in front, to the food hall, I never thought I would want to spend as much time here as I did once I walked it.

If you've been on the Oasis Class ships, then you know how cool the shows are and I didn't see any of them. Even without its signature attraction on the day I visited, I loved being in this space more than I thought I would.

The giant glass dome encompasses places to chill, eat, and be entertained. Plus, there are cabins within this neighborhood too.

When I get back onboard, I'll look forward to the shows that are performed in the AquaDome. "Aqua Nation!" and "Pirates vs Mermaids" are the two shows you can see.


The Overlook is a sleeper hit of the ship because it has fantastic seating, especially in the pods. It's first-come, first-seated, and I think a lot of people will love to hang out here on a sea day, especially with bar service.

My favorite spot for a bite to eat is easily the AquaDome Market. Royal Caribbean incorporated its first food hall concept, and I want to eat here every day.

Aquadome market
Aquadome Market

Greek, Asian, French, and... whatever Mac and Cheese constitutes is found here. It's complimentary, freshly made, and I could eat it every day. I'm curious to see how it handles rush hour at lunch, but I love the concept.

Top deck looks really fun

Pool deck on Icon

There's still plenty of work to do on Icon of the Seas before the first revenue sailing, and that was the case with the pool deck.

Not to worry, Royal Caribbean says it will all be good to by the time paying guests get onboard. On the day I visited, there was work being done to set everything up. No construction, just finishing touches and deliveries and set up of furnishings.

Even with some areas inaccessible, I think this pool deck is going to be a real winner for the line. 

Swim and Tonic
Swim and Tonic

The Swim & Tonic pool is easily going to be the most popular pool on the ship with its swim-up bar and in-pool seating.

Royal Bay Pool is slated to be the largest pool at sea, and all the hot tubs strewn around the deck should find plenty of customers. Royal Bay is enormous and looks like it takes up half the length of the deck.

Chill Island

But the Category 6 looks like it will deliver a true waterpark experience on a cruise ship.  There's so many slides, and I know it's where my kids will want to go on a sea day.

It will have a drop slide, the tallest drop slide at sea, family raft slides and two mat-racing slides.

I used to think three slides was a big deal, but six seems to be what I always needed but never knew I did.


The weather was overcast and slightly drizzly and hardly worthy of a Miami television commercial, but the one place I really regretted not bringing my bathing suit was The Hideaway.

Hideaway chairs
Hideaway hot tub

Located on the back of the ship, it's the first suspended infinity pool at sea and I wanted to go right in. I had a great plan to tell all of you my camera "died" and I had no other way to capture content as an excuse to go spend the afternoon in the infinity pool. Alas, my sense of responsibility (and the fact I didn't pack a bathing suit) won out.

Hideaway pool

I like variety in my cruise ships, because one day I might prefer one pool and another day a different one. There's plenty of choices with the pools on Icon.

Central Park


Central Park isn't a new concept at all, but it's amazing what a few tweaks, additions, and restructuring can do to dramatically improve an area.


I was ready to walk through Central Park and write off the place as a copy of the Oasis Class, but I found it beautiful and the changes the perfect blend of old and new.


I've always been a big fan of Izumi, and what Royal Caribbean has done with this specialty restaurant on Icon is astonishing. It's been given the necessary space to house all of Royal Caribbean's best ideas in one. There are lots of hibachi tables, sushi tables, a VIP hibachi table, and even a walk-up window where you can get sushi as late as 10pm.


Walking around the park, the colors of the balcony shutters above you combined with the flora and color choices of the park really stood out as a lovely area to be in. 

Bubbles champagne bar

The new champagne window, Bubbles, wasn't open on my visit, but I think it will be popular with the mimosa and Bellini crowd.

Yes, I met Rover


I couldn't believe how much attention the family dog Royal Caribbean is introducing on Icon of the Seas received when it was announced, but it makes total sense once you see Rover in action.

I was on Icon for about 7 hours, and I relegated myself to the fact I wouldn't see Rover until I saw her on the Royal Promenade playing fetch.

Alison is Rover's Chief of Staff and it's her job to take care of Rover while onboard.


If you're wondering if Rover can be as cute as the photos show, you'd be correct. She is adorable and you will wish there was a sign up program to have the dog sleep in your cabin for just one night.

Rover is a symbol for the fun and family-centric nature Icon of the Seas was designed to deliver. Obviously no one is booking a cruise just to see a dog, but it's a really nice touch.


In case you're wondering, no, Rover serves no other function.  She's not a drug sniffing dog and she's not a service animal either.  So Rover isn't allowed in the restaurants.

Family, family, family


I've always thought of Royal Caribbean as the best family cruise line already, but I wish we had Surfside when my kids were under the age of 10.

Imagine the Boardwalk neighborhood layout from the Oasis Class ships completely re-designed to provide family fun for the six and under crowd, along with their parents. Royal Caribbean says 6 and under is the ideal age, but I could see 8 and 9 year olds enjoying some of the spaces too.


Splashaway Bay, Baby Bay, and the adults pool look great and I think parents will appreciate having a place to bring the kids that's more contained than the pool deck without compromising on what there is for the parents.

I was blown away by how many dining venues there are: Lemon Post, Pier 7, Sugar Beach, and Surfside Eatery provide plenty of choices and they're all right there in one area. 


Good luck convincing those kids it's time to leave when there's pools, a carousel, mac and cheese, and Shirley Temples all around you.

Adventure Ocean
Adventure Ocean
Adventure Ocean

The really smart choice here was putting Adventure Ocean just one staircase away. On every other Royal Caribbean ship, the kids club is on a top deck and feels like diametrically opposed from everything else going on onboard. Having Adventure Ocean adjacent to Surfside is brilliant.

Teen club
Teen club
Teen club
Teen club

As usual, I was envious of the teen club because of how chill this place looks. There's lots of space to spread out and enjoy TV, games, and more.

Familiar and new dining


Royal Caribbean has always said they wanted to embrace their past while forging ahead to the future, and that is definitely the case with its dining.

There's a good array of specialty and complimentary food on Icon, with new restaurants mixed in with returning favorites.  But don't overlook the restaurants you may have dined at on other ships, because many of them have new looks.


Starting with Izumi, Royal Caribbean has outdone itself with the revamp of this Japanese specialty restaurant. It's expansive and beautiful.


The new Empire Supper Club is a high-end dinner experience where the phrase, "going out" really has a new meaning.  It's not cheap ($200 per person), but Royal Caribbean wants to offer a truly elevated and distinguished meal for those seeking more than just another specialty restaurant.


I was equally impressed by how many dining venues there are in Surfside. Surfside Eatery, Pier 7, and Surfside Bites all look good and I think it's going to be a boon for families to have so many family-friendly (read: picky eater) choices in close proximity.


The restaurant I was most excited to try while on Icon was the AquaDome Market. When lunch came around, this was the restaurant I wanted to try first.  


The food hall delivered exactly what I hoped for: quick and casual food from a variety of cuisines. I'll be curious to see how it works with a full guest load onboard, but the food quality won't be a problem.

Speaking of grab and go, I managed to stop by Basecamp in Thrill Island for an early dinner before disembarking the ship.

Chicken sandwich
Pretzel bites

Basecamp has a mix of complimentary and extra-cost food. I went with the grilled chicken sandwich ($9) and warm pretzel bites (complimentary). 

I think the idea here is to have something convenient when you're riding water slides and don't want to go all the way back to the Windjammer for something to eat.  Convenience is king on cruise ships.


Then there's Giovanni's, Chops, Hooked, and other grab-and-go restaurants. I'm excited to try these when I sail on Icon, but suffice to say, there's no shortage of dining.

The best ship casino yet?

Casino on Icon

Cruise ship casinos tend to be an afterthought in terms of design. Cram as many tables and slot machines into a space and you're done, right?

The casino on Icon really seems to more spread out and I like the flow a lot more than on other ships.

Casino on Icon

In speaking with the casino hosts onboard (Hi Chris), they indicated Icon's casino is about the same square footage as Wonder of the Seas, but the layout is more rectangular than square. 

It felt like a bigger space to me, and I just liked the flow a lot more.

Just a glimpse with more to come

Main Dining Room

I can't encapsulate everything Royal Caribbean has up its sleeve in just one post. Heck, I didn't have enough time to experience it all either. But I'm more excited than ever to get back onboard.

My father's favorite movie might be "Family Man" starring Nicholas Cage, where the central figure is magically transported to a new life that he falls in love with and pleads with the angel at the end of the film not to return him back to his regular life.  I kind of felt that way when my time on Icon came to a close, because I didn't want to get off the ship yet.

Top deck on Icon of the Seas

There's plenty of takeaways from Icon, but one I really think is just how much there is to do to keep guests moving.  When you hear there as many as 7,000 guests onboard, it can sound like that's a lot, but when I think about all the activities on the pool deck, Surfside, Royal Promenade, and AquaDome, I think crowd management won't be a problem for this ship.

When you're onboard, the scale of Royal Caribbean's ambitions becomes apparent, and I think there's lots of space to handle all the people Royal Caribbean hopes will sail with them every week.

Overlooking Central Park

With every neighborhood I walked through, I thought "This is where I want to spend my day". Until I got to the next neighborhood, and then thought the same thing.  

Coastal Kitchen

I think part of the design process for Icon was to create compelling spaces that draw guests to them for different reasons. I'm certainly not suggesting there won't be lines or a crowd on Icon, but I do think there's enough happening around the ship to keep everyone from congregating in one area.

In my brief day visit to Icon, I saw as much as I could. I can summarize it best by paraphrasing Anthony Bourdain: I write, I walked all over Icon, and I'm hungry for more.

Icon of the Seas Central Park: What to expect

11 Jan 2024

Central Park has been a beloved neighborhood onboard Royal Caribbean ships since Oasis of the Seas launched in 2009. 


On Oasis Class ships, Central Park is pretty standardized. If you have seen one, the rest are relatively similar. 

Central Park on Icon

While Central Park on Icon of the Seas is still a hub for live plants, restaurants, and shops, it is unlike any reiteration done before, though it's still located midship on Deck 8. 

Here's what's included and what costs extra in Central Park:

Empire Supper Club ✔️
Izumi Hibachi & Sushi ✔️
Izumi in the Park ✔️
Chops Grille ✔️
Park Cafe✔️ 
Bubbles ✔️
Trellis Bar ✔️
Lou's Jazz 'n Blues ✔️

Read more: The flourishing garden on Symphony of the Seas has over 20,000 plants, and it's my favorite spot onboard


For the first time ever, Royal Caribbean has relocated the popular Izumi Sushi and Hibachi to Central Park. 


On older ships, the location of Izumi greatly varies, if it is even present onboard. It could be located in the Royal Promenade, adjacent to Casino Royale, or on a higher deck. Some don't even have teppanyaki tables, just sushi. 

Read more: Icon of the Seas Royal Promenade: What to expect


Royal Caribbean also added a walk-up window that serves sushi and other Japanese-inspired snacks. Whether you are craving some sushi to-go or want a sweet treat, you do not have to worry about making dining reservations and sitting down for a lengthy meal. 


Like onboard Oasis Class ships, Chops Grille will remain in Central Park. 

Read more: Royal Caribbean previews all the restaurant and dining choices coming to the world's largest cruise ship


For the first time, however, you will be able to hand-select your cut of meat at the butcher's display. 


Another fan-favorite returning to this neighborhood is Park Cafe. 


The legendary Royal Kümmelweck roast beef sandwich will be available here, as well as other breakfast and lunch sandwiches and salads. Plus, Park Cafe will be open for dinner on Icon. 

If you aren't feeling the Windjammer crowds on embarkation day, this is a great place to go! 

Read more: 15 Royal Caribbean boarding process tips for a fast embarkation


There's also a walk-up champagne bar, Bubbles, which serves champagne and champagne cocktails by the glass.

Bubbles champagne bar

Empire Supper Club is a new specialty restaurant that, as of January 2024, can only be found onboard Icon of the Seas

The venue was designed to be reminiscent of the 1930s in New York City. This upscale restaurant will have two seatings for guests each night: 6:00pm and 8:30pm. 


The eight-course menu will feature premium American cuisine with dishes like caviar and wagyu. 

Additionally, this dining experience will combine food and music. There will be a three-piece band playing a different song during each course. 

This premium dining experience costs $200 per person. If you have the Unlimited Dining Package, you can pay a $130 upcharge to eat at Empire Supper Club. 


Finally, Lou's Jazz N' Blues, another new venue, is the perfect place to either pop in before dinner or afterward for a nightcap. 

Read more: Icon of the Seas Surfside neighborhood: What to expect


If you're seeking a to-go beverage, Trellis Bar, another Oasis Class favorite, will be right across the way in Central Park. 


Don't forget to check out the light snacks menu! You can enjoy small treats like mac and cheese poppers, crab cake fritters, crispy truffle fries, and more. 


Icon of the Seas AquaDome: What to expect

11 Jan 2024

Perched atop Decks 14 and 15 is Icon of the Seas' AquaDome Neighborhood. 


In addition to being home to the ship's next-level AquaTheater, this is also where you'll find other Royal Caribbean firsts, including the AquaDome Market. 

Read more: Icon of the Seas: Itinerary, features, and more


AquaDome Market is Royal Caribbean's first-ever food hall venue. Food halls are a relatively new concept in the cruise industry, and Icon of the Seas will be the first Royal Caribbean ship to offer one.

Since it's located in the front of the ship, the goal is to help disperse crowds, as the Windjammer and El Loco Fresh and located towards the aft (back) of Icon. 


There are five different food stalls that guests can choose from. Starting with Crème de la Crèpe, this is where you will find both sweet and savory crèpes. You can order anything from a ham and swiss crèpe to one with hazelnut and bananas! 


GNGR will serve Asian dishes, while Mac's will have a set menu of different mac and cheese options. Nobody is stopping you from ordering traditional mac and cheese, but you can (and should) try something a little more unique, like pepperoni pizza mac! 


Feta Mediterranean's focus will be traditional-style Greek pitas, which is different from what you can find in other venues on the ship. 

Additionally, you can create your own Mediterranean-inspired bowl. With three different protein options and numerous different toppings and sauces, you're sure to come up with the perfect creation! 


The fifth option is Toast & Garden. Here, you'll be able to get lighter options, such as sandwiches and salads. 

Read more: Icon of the Seas Surfside neighborhood: What to expect


Also found within the AquaDome Neighborhood is the Overlook. 


If you're looking for some incredible sea views, this is the place to be, as the Overlook's outfitted with two stories of floor-to-ceiling windows. 

Overlook Bar

During the day, you can nuzzle into a cozy pod and catch up on your reading or play a card game with friends and family. 


If you get a little thirsty, there's a conveniently located bar. It's also a great place to grab a pre-show cocktail before heading into the AquaTheater. 


Rye & Bean is perfect for those who might not be ready for a strong cocktail at 1:00pm. While you can certainly get a coffee-infused cocktail, you're also able to order a classic cup of coffee to give you enough energy for the evening ahead. 

And yes, Royal Caribbean drink packages can be used at both!


Finally, Hooked Seafood, as well as the brand-new Celebration Table, can also be found in the AquaDome Neighborhood. 


If you haven't caught on, there's no shortage of places to eat on Icon, especially within the AquaDome, where you can enjoy a delicious salad for lunch and New England-style seafood for dinner. 

Read more: Icon of the Seas Royal Promenade: What to expect


Icon of the Seas Surfside neighborhood: What to expect

11 Jan 2024

Icon of the Seas is full of brand-new experiences at sea, including the family-family Surfside Neighborhood. 

Surfside neighborhood

Replacing what was the Boardwalk on Oasis Class ships, Surfside is where families can stay and play all day. With an arcade, kids splash zone, aft pool, carousel, and both complimentary and specialty venues, there's enough to keep everyone satisfied! 

Read more: Royal Caribbean is building the best cruise ship for young families on Icon of the Seas with a new purpose-built area


With younger families making up a significant portion of Royal Caribbean guests, the cruise line wanted to create a space just for them. 


Unlike Royal Caribbean's Boardwalk, Surfside has a vibrant design that's reminiscent of a surfing town that's complete with a beach-theme carousel where you can ride anything from a flamingo pool toy to a "Volkswagon" van. 


Rather than having to drag kids to the Windjammer, your family can grab a bite to eat at the Surfside Eatery, which is Royal Caribbean's first buffet just for families! 

Read more: Icon of the Seas: Itinerary, features, and more


While not as large as the Windjammer, it's the perfect place to fuel up without having to stray from the fun. 

Read more: Royal Caribbean will introduce new family fun ambassador on Icon of the Seas


There's also Surfside Bites, where you will find grab-and-go options, such as popcorn chicken, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, french fries, fruit, and even cinnamon sugar churros!


The third dining option in Surfside is Pier 7, a specialty restaurant that's exclusive to Icon of the Seas and will serve an all-day brunch with items like surf and turf tacos, mango lime shrimp tostadas, smoked salmon benedict, and fluffy buttermilk pancakes. 


Parents won't be far from a bar, either. The Lemon Post Bar will serve both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks for everyone in the family. 

While you are enjoying a tropical cocktail, your child can order from a menu of mocktails curated just for them!  


While Icon of the Seas' food and beverage spots are certainly a highlight of the 250,800 gross registered ton vessel, it is hard to overlook all the fun activities onboard. Surfside is a hub of activity for everyone, starting with the arcade that has over 30 different games inside! 

Read more: Royal Caribbean will offer swanky supper club and food hall on new Icon of the Seas when it launches


Here, you can challenge your family members to a friendly game of air hockey, work on your claw machine skills, or play skeeball. As with all other Royal Caribbean ships, the arcade isn't included in your cruise fare. 


At the very end of Surfside, you will find Splashaway Bay, Baby Bay, and Water's Edge, a pool pressed against the aft of the ship that's sure to get some impressive ocean views on sea days. 


Fans of Oasis Class ships will notice that there's no AquaTheater here. Instead, high-diving spectaculars will be held in the brand-new AquaDome

Located at the front of the ship, this is a whole new neighborhood in and of itself where you'll find, of course, the next-level AquaTheater, bars, and tranquil places to relax during the day. 


While there's so much more of the ship to explore, we have not seen all of Surfside yet! 

In addition to restaurants, splash zones, and more, Surfside is also where you will find Sugar Beach, a candy lover's dream that also serves Royal Caribbean's in-house ice cream, for an extra charge. 

Read more: What's included in your Royal Caribbean cruise fare


Once your children have had their sugar fix, they can get some of their energy out while exploring the Playscape area. 


Surfside will also have its own Coca-Cola Freestyle Machine for those who purchase one of Royal Caribbean's drink packages, making it easy to refill your cup throughout the day. 


Don't forget to look up, either. You'll see some of the record-breaking waterslides in the Category 6 water park


Icon of the Seas Royal Promenade: What to expect

11 Jan 2024

At the heart of Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas remains one of its signature neighborhoods.


The Royal Promenade is a hub of activity and a place you'll probably spend a lot of time onboard the ship.

On Icon, the Royal Promenade has evolved with more space, light, and options.

You will find a combination of more than 15 new and reimagined restaurants, bars and lounges, and floor-to-ceiling ocean views, a first for Royal Caribbean.

Royal Promenade on Icon of the Seas

Here's a sneak peak at the Promenade on Icon of the Seas.

Read more: Icon of the Seas guide

Two levels and views too

Window views from Pearl Cafe

You'll notice two distinguishing factors to the Royal Promenade on Icon of the Seas when comparing this neighborhood to other ships.

First are the ocean views, something other ships never had.

Window on the Royal Promenade

Royal Caribbean sought to make the Royal Promenade more connected to the ocean. On Icon, the Royal Promenade has full glass views of the ocean for the first time ever.

The two-deck Royal Promenade makes getting around easier too.

Two decks on the Royal Promenade

This version of the Promenade has what Royal Caribbean calls "seamless connectivity" to make it easier to get around. This means you can easily get between Deck 5 and Deck 6 or head upstairs to Central Park on Deck 8.


Plus, there's an escalator from the Promenade to get you down to the casino and gangway on port days.

The Pearl

The Pearl

As guests walk aboard Icon of the Seas, they'll first be drawn to The Pearl, which Royal Caribbean calls an "arrival moment."


The Pearl is an interactive, multi-sensory experience made with kinetic tiles.

The Pearl

The Pearl encompasses four things:

  1. A gorgeous way to introduce the ship as you walk into it
  2. An engineering marvel
  3. It creates gorgeous views
  4. It has an experiential moment inside of it that's different for everyone.

Read more: First look at The Pearl on Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas

Walking around the Royal Promenade

Boleros on Icon of the Seas

In touring the Royal Promenade, you'll find shopping, dining, and bars to keep you busy every day.

Entrance to Icon of the Seas

When you walk onto Icon of the Seas, you'll pass through the 1400 Lobby Bar.


Royal Caribbean intends for the 1400 Bar to be a focal point. It sets the stage for The Pearl, is adjacent to the escalators going down to the casino, and is at the heart of the ship.

Walking past the Pearl is Pearl Cafe, which is the next generation of Cafe Promenade.

Below the beautiful whale art sculpture is a new grab-and-go venue for elevated bistro food. Most of it is complimentary, but there are some extra-cost options in addition to the food included. 

Pearl Cafe choices
Pearl cafe food
Food at Pearl Cafe

As an example, there will be Starbucks brewed beverages that you can order but are also covered by a Royal Caribbean drink package or Diamond drink voucher.

Drink station

Something else that has evolved here are the drinks you can get on your own. The complimentary coffee and water station will look different from other ships.

Starbucks is located on one side of the 1400 bar. 


The Point & Feather pub is on the other side of 1400 as you walk onto the ship.

Point & Feather pub

NextCruise is where you can go to book a new Royal Caribbean cruise.  It's also where the loyalty ambassador is located.

Next Cruise on Icon of the Seas

Something else new to any Royal Caribbean cruise ship is the destination elevators.

Destination elevator

There are no classic elevators on Icon. Instead, it has destination elevators, where you go to a panel and pick which deck you want to go to. 

Destination elevator panel

It tells you what elevator you should go to instead of waiting for a free-for-all elevator that's crammed with passengers going to different places. 


Near The Pearl is Royal Caribbean's well-known pizza shop, Sorrentos.

Sorrentos on Icon

If you like singing along to your favorite songs, then Spotlight Karaoke is the spot for you.

Royal Promenade

Moving up to Deck 6 is the new Dueling Pianos bar.

Dueling Pianos

This is Royal Caribbean's first double-pianist bar where the two performers take requests and involve guests in the musical fun.

Entrance to Giovannis
Giovannis entrance area

Giovanni's Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar has been moved to the Royal Promenade on Icon. The menu will highlight Old World classics, such as veal meatballs.

Schooner Bar

Of course, no Royal Caribbean ship is complete without the Schooner Bar.

The nautical-themed bar is back on Icon, and it's on the upper level of the Royal Promenade.

Boleros on Icon of the Seas

There's also Boleros, which is the Latin music bar and another fan-favorite place for music and drinks.

The Attic is the comedy club venue onboard. 


The loyalty lounge for top-tier Crown and Anchor Society members is located at the forward end of the Royal Promenade on Deck 6.


This is where Diamond, Diamond Plus, and Pinnacle Club guests can go to enjoy a private enclave just for them.


Leading away from the Royal Promenade is where kids and their parents can seek refuge in Adventure Ocean, the teen club, and Playmakers sports bar.

Logo shop on Icon of the Seas
Shop on Icon of the Seas

And of course, there are places to shop around the Royal Promenade.

There are various shops that sell Royal Caribbean souvenirs, along with designer and name-brand clothing, jewelry, and accessories. 

Photos show world's biggest cruise ship arriving in Florida

10 Jan 2024

The most anticipated cruise ship in over a decade has arrived home.

Icon of the Seas sailing into Miami

Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas sailed into Miami in the early hours of Wednesday morning ahead of her inaugural sailing in just two weeks.

The new 1,198-foot cruise ship will begin offering cruises from Miami, Florida on January 27, 2024.

The marvel of engineering took 900 days to build and has a capacity for up to 5,610 guests and 2,350 crew members.

Icon of the Seas in Miami

Here's a look at the celebration tied to Icon's arrival.

Arrival home

Sailing into Miami

Icon of the Seas sailed into PortMiami right at 7am to a fanfare celebration.

Royal Caribbean welcomed the ship by shuttling over employees from its Miami headquarters to celebrate the Icon's entrance.

Waiting for Icon

Entrance is the right word, as the new ship came into the turning basin to spin around for onlookers.

Clearly visible are so many of the ship's signature features, from the AquaDome to Surfside neighborhood to the Category 6 water park.

Aft of Icon of the Seas
Zoom in aft of Icon

Onlookers waved ribbons and shouted with excitement for the new ship. Icon had her own deck party going, with music blasted from the ship to match the music heard from the party.

Royal Caribbean's event included a DJ, mini-golf course, snacks, and lots of photo opportunities.

Mini golf

So many employees on the beach shared their collective euphoria for the new ship's homecoming.

Celebrating Icon

New cruise ship launches are always a big deal, but Icon represents more to the cruise industry. She's the first of a new class of ship, and she ushers in the post-Covid era of cruising with an industry experiencing unprecedented demand.

Icon of the Seas has not only more to do onboard than other ships, but its Royal Caribbean's play at positioning itself as the preeminent family vacation choice.

Icon of the Seas arrival

Being on the shore of the waterway, you could sense there was a level of excitement for this ship that was different than when Wonder of the Seas or Odyssey of the Seas launched just a couple years ago.

Aft of Icon of the Seas

As Icon finished her turn, she headed to Terminal A. The new ship will conduct a series of shakedown cruises, which is a sort of "dress rehearsal" for the new ship.

Heading to Terminal A

Along the way, there will be opportunity for the media and travel agents to get onboard too. There will be a lot of pomp and circumstance leading up to her maiden voyage at the end of the month.

Highly anticipated launch

Icon of the Seas sailing in 2024

The arrival of Icon of the Seas represents a historical moment for Royal Caribbean, and it ushers in a new kind of cruise ship experience.

The 250,800-ton ship will have eight neighborhoods and never-before-seen advancements, such as a swim-up bar, a new adults-only retreat, and an expanded Royal Promenade. The Promenade has more than 15 restaurants, bars and lounges and floor-to-ceiling ocean views.

Royal Promenade on Icon of the Seas

The Promenade will feature an interactive, multi-sensory experience made with kinetic tiles called The Pearl
Jay Schneider, Royal Caribbean Chief Product Innovation Officer called it “a bit art, a bit sculpture, a bit experience, a bit wow."

There are 28 different types of rooms, including Royal Caribbean’s first cabins that can turn the balcony space into an extended indoor living space. They're called infinite balconies, and it's a concept first implemented on sister-brand Celebrity Cruises.

Ultimate Family Townhouse

You won't overlook the three-story Ultimate Family Townhouse, which measures 2,523 sq. ft.

Record-setting demand

Icon of the Seas sailing away

Icon's arrival coincides with months of excitement leading up to this moment.

Royal Caribbean revealed plans for Icon of the Seas in October 2022, and the hype surrounding the ship has never stopped. Icon of the Seas’ bookings so far have performed better than any other cruise ship launch. 

"I know it's a brand new product and it's stunning, but it's really driving a huge amount of demand and great rate," Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley said. 

Icon of the Seas

Over 6 million people took a Royal Caribbean cruise in 2023. With the launch of Icon of the Seas and other innovations from the cruise line, these numbers will only grow.

World's largest cruise ship will have a family dog that lives on the ship

08 Jan 2024

As if Icon of the Seas wasn't already full of firsts, it appears that there will be a dog living onboard the world's largest cruise ship. 


Based on social media posts from crew members, it seems that Rover boarded the ship when docked in Ponce, Puerto Rico before it began its final leg of the journey to Miami, Florida. 

"We are absolutely thrilled to introduce our newest team member, Rover, who has joined us as a permanent resident aboard [the] magnificent Icon of the Seas," read a post by @godwin_fernandes2000

"Meet Rover... the resident Mascot of the Icon," said @roseveltrodrigues on Instagram.


While in Ponce, Icon underwent some final regulatory inspections and received finishing touches to prepare for guests in late January. This is also where the loading and off-loading of equipment occurred. 

Some yard workers disembarked in Ponce to return home, with new crew members and the brand-new resident Rover arriving onboard. 

Read more: Icon of the Seas is ready: Here’s the timeline for Royal Caribbean’s new cruise ship debut

Guests won't find a classic car in the Royal Promenade


In lieu of the classic car in the Royal Promenade, there's a statue of a dog.

Ever since Voyager of the Seas launched and debuted the first-ever Royal Promenade, there's been a different classic car featured in each ship. 

Njal Eide, the lead architect for the Royal Promenade, had included a model of a Morgan Sportster in his model of the Royal Promenade. Richard Fain, then-chairman and former CEO of Royal Caribbean, ended up donating his own Morgan car that he received for his 40th birthday. 

Royal Promenade on Adventure of the Seas

These cars are a popular photo-op for pictures throughout the cruise, especially on formal night! 

The Royal Promenade is the main thoroughfare of the ship where you'll find bars, shops, and more. There are parties and parades hosted here, too. 

Read more: Why are there classic cars on Royal Caribbean's Royal Promenade?

Icon of the Seas' Royal Promenade will leap forward with new innovations


In addition to the first-ever dog statue in the Royal Promenade, Icon of the Seas' Promenade will be home to other firsts for the cruise line, including the Pearl, expansive windows, and more. 

Giovanni's Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar will be located on Deck 6, marking the first time that Royal Caribbean will feature a specialty restaurant in the initial design of the Royal Promenade. 

Thanks to renovations, it's not uncommon to find specialty restaurants in the Royal Promenade on older vessels. Playmaker's, for instance, can be found in the Promenade on Navigator of the Seas, whereas Adventure of the Seas has Izumi in the heart of all the action. 


Icon of the Seas will also be the first ship in the fleet to receive the Dueling Pianos bar on Deck 6. This is where two performers will take requests and involve guests in the musical fun during two 90-minute shows each night. 

Nearly all the venues in the Royal Promenade, including Dueling Pianos, will be fully open, allowing passengers to hear all the excitement wherever they are. 

Note that Icon of the Seas doesn't have any Promenade view staterooms. With over 10 new categories of cabins, that doesn't seem like much of a sacrifice, though! 

Read more: First look at The Pearl on Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas

Nearing Icon of the Seas' maiden voyage to the Eastern Caribbean

Icon of the Seas sailing away

We are less than twenty days away from Icon of the Seas' inaugural cruise. On January 27, she'll leave Miami, Florida with a ship full of guests eager to be on Icon's first weeklong cruise sailing to Perfect Day at CocoCay, St. Thomas, and St. Kitts & Nevis.

Before then, however, she'll have two shakedown sailings that will take place on January 20 and 23, each of which will only be 3-nights. 

These are essentially dress rehearsals that will allow the crew to test and adjust their procedures before welcoming paying guests. 

Thrill park concept

On January 10, Icon of the Seas will arrive in Miami and be greeted by the ICON arrival party at the Port of Miami. She was originally supposed to arrive on Tuesday; however, unfavorable weather conditions resulted in her delay. 

Read more: 11 reasons Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas will change the cruise industry

Icon of the Seas is coming to Miami this week. Here's when and where you can see it

07 Jan 2024

Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship will arrive to her homeport this week, and there's going to be a giant celebration.

Icon of the Seas is coming to Miami

Icon of the Seas is on her way to Miami, which will be her homeport and where she will sail out of when cruises begin.

The new cruise ship is a big deal to Royal Caribbean, and they want a party to celebrate her arrival.

Read more: Everything you need to know about Icon of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley posted on social media an invitation to an early morning welcome party in Miami to celebrate Icon's arrival.

Icon of the Seas leaving Ponce

Icon of the Seas departed Ponce, Puerto Rico a few days ago, and will arrive in Miami on Wednesday, January 10. 

The ship is scheduled to arrive around 7am eastern into the PortMiami area on Wednesday. The cruise line had originally planned to bring Icon in on Tuesday, but the forecast was not favorable, and pushed back her sail-in to Wednesday.

Mr. Bayley wants cruise fans that can be in the area to join in the festivities, "Come and join us!" he wrote on his Facebook post.

Perez Art Museum Miami

Anyone interested in attending should go to Perez Art Museum Miami for the ship's arrival.

If you go, you won't be alone. Mr. Bayley said many Royal Caribbean employees and cruise fans will be there to celebrate.

"Look for us waving from ICON as we arrive into Miami," he wrote as he implored fans to join in.

"Let’s wake up the whole city with our excitement for the Icon of Vacations’ arrival home." 

He also said there's going to be games, breakfast bites, live music and giveaways every 15 minutes.

But first, a crew member party

Hideaway Beach construction

Before Icon heads to Miami, she will make a stop at the cruise line's private island and give the hard working crew members onboard an opportunity to rest and party before more the inaugural work starts.

Mr. Bayley posted a photo of the nearly complete new adults-only beach expansion, Hideaway Beach.

Hideaway Beach construction

Hideaway Beach is an extra-cost area that will be only for guests visiting Perfect Day at CocoCay that are 18-years-old or older. 

Read more: Perfect Day at CocoCay tips, secrets, and tricks

It's located on the western side of the private island, and will feature an infinity pool, cove pool, DJ, private cabanas, and a few included restaurants.

Hideaway Beach Club render

The cost to visit Hideaway Beach depends on your sailing, but the price has been around $30-$50 per person on many sailings.

The new beach won't open to the public until Icon of the Seas' first official visit with paying passengers early next month, but it will be ready for crew members on Monday.

Hideaway Beach Club render

"Our amazing Icon crew will be the first to experience the biggest and best private island party at the new Hideaway Beach," Mr. Bayley posted on Facebook. 

"This break is so well-deserved as they've been working hard to put the finishing details on Icon, making sure the ship is just right for our first guests."

"I am so grateful for this startup crew and the years of expertise and passion they bring to the World’s Best Family Vacation."

After the party on Monday, the crew members have a day off while at sea for, "crew recovery".  There's also high winds and rain expected in Miami on Tuesday, so the cruise line will wait an extra day for Icon's arrival to avoid the front moving through South Florida on Tuesday.

Prepping for cruises to begin

Crown's Edge on Icon of the Seas

Once Icon is in Miami, Royal Caribbean has plans to ready the ship for the first official sailing.

Icon of the Seas will remain in Miami for a couple of days, before a series of employee shakedown cruises.

Shakedown cruises are cruises with employees who act as guests to give the crew members onboard an opportunity to test and adjust their procedures. Think of it like a dress rehearsal.

The final shakedown cruises will occur on January 20 and January 23 when Royal Caribbean hosts members of the media and travel agents onboard for two 3-night cruises. The latter sailing will include the naming ceremony with the ship's Godfather, Lionel Messi.

Icon then takes one final break on January 26 before paying passengers will be able to board the ship for it's official maiden voyage on January 27.

The maiden voyage will be a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise that visits Perfect Day at CocoCay, St. Thomas, and St. Kitts & Nevis.

Icon of the Seas is ready: Here’s the timeline for Royal Caribbean’s new cruise ship debut

02 Jan 2024

Icon of the Seas will finally welcome guests onboard later this month. The brand-new vessel still has to undergo a few more preparations before that can happen, though. 

Daybeds to rent on Icon of the Seas

Currently, Icon of the Seas is docked in Ponce, Puerto Rico for some final touches and inspections. This is one of the final steps before the 250,800 gross registered ton vessel launches in late January. 

Here's a timeline of Icon of the Sea's long-awaited debut. 

Icon of the Seas sailed from Cádiz, Spain to Ponce, Puerto Rico, arriving on January 2, 2024


Icon of the Seas' transatlantic crossing took over one week, with the largest cruise ship in the world departing Spain on December 22, 2023. 

This meant that crew members, contractors, shoreside teams, yard workers, and more celebrated the New Year somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic while en route to Puerto Rico. 

A video posted to Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michel Bayley's Facebook reveals Icon's first countdown as a completed ship. The Royal Promenade was packed, and the cheering continued as the clock struck midnight and balloons were released. 

Read more: I crossed the Atlantic Ocean on a cheap cruise. Here’s what it's really like to spend 10 days at sea

Icon of the Seas moved to Cádiz for some finishing touches 

Icon of the Seas delivery

Despite being delivered in late November, Icon was not fully completed. The delivery ceremony was held at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland, where the majority of the ship's construction took place. 

"Seven years ago, we had an ambitious idea to create the first vacation truly made for every type of family and adventurer," said Mr. Bayley, "Now, it’s in our hands, and in this final stretch, we’ll bring it all to life for the biggest debut in our history in January 2024."

Following the ceremony, Icon of the Seas was relocated to a shipyard in Cádiz, where she received some final outfitting touches before beginning her transatlantic voyage to North America. 


She had to sail underneath the Great Belt Bridge, an 11-mile bridge located in Denmark, in order to reach Cádiz. The 20-deck high had to have her funnels retracted to barely squeeze underneath. It required expertise from the entire crew, including meteorologists to ship operators. 

Read more: Royal Caribbean takes delivery of the new world’s largest cruise ship

Work continues in Ponce


Over the next few days while in Puerto Rico, Icon of the Seas will have to pass some regulatory inspections. Additionally, there will be loading and off-loading of equipment, and yard workers will disembark the ship to return home, with more crew arriving to begin their contracts. 

Ponce is located in the southern region of the island, whereas the popular port of San Juan can be found on the northern shore.  

When Icon departs Ponce to sail to Miami, it will be over one year until she returns to the island, as San Juan isn't a scheduled port of call on Eastern Caribbean itineraries until May 2025. The May 3, 2025 cruise also visits St. Maarten and Labadee, Haiti, foregoing a stop at the cruise line's private island in The Bahamas. 

Read more: See how Royal Caribbean ships stack up by size (2024)

Following the move to her homeport of Miami, there will be a series of shakedown and media cruises


On January 9, Royal Caribbean will host the ICON arrival party at 7am at the Port of Miami. While more details can be expected in the coming days, it is exciting to think that we're only one week from welcoming Icon to her homeport. 

Following this milestone, Icon will host a few shakedown cruises, which can be thought of as a dress rehearsal. While the ship is just about ready, they serve as a time for the crew members to experience what their job will actually be like with guests onboard before welcoming paying customers.

Typically, shakedown cruises are comprised of cruise line employees and their families. It is not uncommon for them to sometimes double as preview sailings for the media and travel agents. 

Category 6 water park

Prior to embarking on her maiden voyage, Icon will have two shakedown and media cruises, both of which will be only three nights: January 20-23 and January 23-26. 

Read more: How long does it take to build a cruise ship

Naming ceremony on January 23 in Miami, Florida with Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi is the godmother of icon

Back in mid-December, Royal Caribbean announced that, rather than having a traditional godmother or godfather, Lionel Messi would be the "official icon of Icon of the Seas." Messi is a famous soccer player who was born in Argentina and spent the majority of his career playing for FC Barcelona. 

On January 23, Messi will take part in Icon's naming celebration. His role will be comprised of bestowing safekeeping onto the new ship, its crew, and the millions of people who will board in hopes of creating ICONic memories in the years to come. 

"I’m thrilled and honored to join the Royal Caribbean family to celebrate the arrival of the game-changing Icon of the Seas," said Messi, "Icon is beyond anything else that’s out there for family vacations, with incredible never-before-seen features, all designed for making memories together."

Finally, guests will be welcomed onboard Icon for her maiden voyage to the Eastern Caribbean

Icon of the Seas in the ocean

On January 27, Icon of the Seas will embark on her inaugural cruise. This 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise will depart from Miami and sail to Perfect Day at CocoCay, St. Thomas, and St. Kitts & Nevis. She will return on February 3, 2024. 

Icon of the Seas' maiden voyage will signify the ship's completion, as the ship will be ready for regular service. 

While this will mean that her construction and arrival journey will finally come to an end, Icon Class and Royal Caribbean fans alike can stay tuned to everything exciting that Star of the Seas will have to offer when she launches in 2025. 

Star of the Seas concept art

Similarly, Utopia of the Seas, the sixth Oasis Class ship, is scheduled to set sail in July 2024 on 3- and 4-night cruises to The Bahamas. 

Read more: How much does it cost to build a cruise ship?

Subscribe to Icon of the Seas