Royal Caribbean chiefs hail ‘unbelievable’ demand for Icon of the Seas

By Sarah Hedley Hymers in Miami

Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas “ticks all the boxes” and has driven “unbelievable” demand, according to the line’s chief executive.

Speaking in Miami ahead of the first Icon-class vessel’s naming on Tuesday, Michael Bayley said: “It’s really exciting when you introduce a new class of ship, but it’s even more exciting when it seems to be spot on – and for our demographic and our customer, this ship seems to have ticked all the boxes.

“The demand that we’ve seen for Icon has been just unbelievable. We’re extremely excited by that. We feel like all the new features and spaces we’ve created are just right.”

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Royal Caribbean Group chief executive Jason Liberty echoed Bayley’s positivity, describing Icon as the “biggest, baddest ship on the planet”.

Features on the world’s largest cruise ship include five distinct “neighbourhoods”, including Surfside for families with children under six and the adults-only Hideaway, as well as 21 new dining concepts, world-first slides at Category 6 water park and the Crown’s Edge, part-skywalk and part-rope course, which see passengers hanging 150 feet above the ocean.

It is due to be named on Tuesday, with VIPs in attendance including footballing legend Lionel Messi, who will become ‘Icon’ of Icon of the Seas, a role similar to that of a ship’s godmother.

Liberty said the development of the Icon class reflected Royal Caribbean’s “culture of dreaming”.

“It’s always a tough thing to do, to wake up every day and always want to be better, but for us, in our 50-plus year history, that is in our DNA,” he said.

“Even as we’re walking around [Icon of the Seas], we’re asking ourselves, ‘How do we do this better?’ We’re trying to understand what the customer today and the customer tomorrow is looking for across all of our brands, and being very tuned into that.

“You’d be amazed at how much time senior leadership spends in every inch of these ships looking for how we can do it better before we start construction.”

Icon of the Seas’ maiden voyage, departing from Miami on January 27, is a seven-night Caribbean itinerary, calling at Royal Caribbean’s private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay, in the Bahamas. The ‘7 Night Eastern Caribbean & Perfect Day’ sailing will also make stops at St Thomas and St Kitts & Nevis.

Icon of the Seas will be followed by Oasis-class Utopia of the Seas, launching in July. The second Icon-class ship, Star of the Seas, is due to set sail in August 2025.

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