Icon of the Seas: World’s biggest cruise ship sets sail on maiden voyage

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The world’s largest cruise ship, Icon of the Seas, has officially set sail on its maiden voyage, with passengers sharing what life is really like on board the 365 metre vessel.

Icon of the Seas left the Port of Miami, Florida, on Saturday for its first seven-night island-hopping trip that will feature a series of idyllic locations in the Caribbean.

The ship, which is five times larger than the Titanic and longer than the Eiffel Tower is tall, has a double occupancy capacity of 5610 guests – though it could accommodate up to 7600 if every possible bed was booked – and 2350 crew

There are eight different “neighbourhoods” on board, which are essentially “destinations” in and of themselves, including adrenaline-pumping thrills like six record-breaking water slides and the Crown’s Edge experience at 47 metres above the ocean.

Passengers are also spoiled for choice for where to relax, with seven different pools on board, including the first suspended infinity pool at sea.

There are more than 40 restaurants and bars, along with an ice arena, Aquadome and theatre that offer a range of entertainment and experiences for guests.

With the very first passengers now on board for the maiden voyage, videos and photos of what life is really like on the Icon of the Seas have started to emerge.

TikTok users filmed themselves entering the ship for the first time on Saturday, showing crew dancing and waving as they boarded.

The first thing guests see when they enter is the Pearl, a five-deck tall rounded structure lined with more than 3000 tiles that glow and shimmer.

Passengers can walk through the Pearl via a staircase which leads up to the Pearl Cafe, which is lined with huge windows, offering unparalleled ocean views.

Guests were also treated to a midnight balloon drop on the first night of sailing, with videos showing thousands of people packing the ship’s Royal Promenade as countless balloons were released from the ceiling.

Parts of Miami were also brought to a stop as people paused to watch the Icon of the Seas pull out of the port just before sunset.

“Watched the Icon of the Seas pull out of the port of Miami on its inaugural sailing today! I waited in an insane amount of traffic but it was so worth it,” TikToker and travel agent Samantha Ott captioned a video of the ship.

Another video showed hundreds people crowding a park to catch a glimpse of the giant cruise ship.

As one of the stops on the seven night cruise, passengers will enjoy a day on Royal Caribbean’s private island, Perfect Day at CoCoCay in The Bahamas, where adrenaline junkies can test themselves on the many slides at Thrill Waterpark or try their hand at the zip line, while those looking for a more chill vibe can lounge on the beach or sip cocktails at the swim up bar.

As an added bonus, the island now also features the it’s first adult-only escape, Hideaway Beach, featuring a private lagoon, pools, exclusive cabanas and a live DJ.

According to Royal Caribbean’s website, Icon’s available 2024 itineraries range from almost $US1,800 ($2,600) per person to nearly $US2,200 ($3200).

Prior to the maiden voyage, a naming ceremony was held for the Icon of the Seas, with Royal Caribbean International president and CEO, Michael Bayley, said saying the ship marked the beginning of a “new era of vacations”.

“We did it! After seven years of pursuing the bold vision to create a one-of-a-kind vacation for every type of family and adventurer, Icon of the Seas has become a reality,” he said.

“Officially naming Icon marks more than the introduction of a new ship; it is the start of a new era of vacations, and we’re excited to see tens of millions of families and friends make their mark with memories they create together and on their own adventures without compromise.”