The largest cruise ship in the world — Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas — has yet to welcome her first paying guests, but she’s already making waves in the Caribbean.
Today, locals and visitors in Ponce, Puerto Rico, were granted a sneak peek at the 1,198 foot-long, 250.800-gigaton pleasure cruiser, which some have labeled a “monstrosity,” taking a break in port as part of a trial voyage necessary to complete the certification process.
Boasting 20 decks, room for up to 7,600 passengers, a food hall, six pools and the largest waterpark at sea with a range of waterslides, the Icon — five times larger than the Titanic — is sizable enough to have been split into separate, experience-oriented and themed “neighborhoods.”
“We are positioning it as the ultimate family vacation, and when you step back and look at all the energy and time that has gone into creating this ship it is mind-blowing,” Royal Caribbean International president and chief executive Michael Bayley said in an earlier statement.
Armchair travel critics have had a field day poking fun at the bloated craft, which reportedly cost $2 billion to build.
“As visions of hell go, that’s pretty much the most hellish,” one X user said after seeing photos of the ship, while another wrote, “I’m sorry but this is a nightmare.”
“Every time I see a picture of the Icon of the Seas cruise ship, I am filled with an intense dread,” someone else commented.
“For a second I was like ‘No, the Icon of the Seas is not real, it can’t hurt you because some wacky giant cruise ship seasteading scheme goes viral every 10 months.’ But I looked it up and it turns out they actually built this one,” another X-er said.
While Icon will indisputably be the world’s largest cruise ship for the time being, keen-eyed cruisers will recognize Royal’s latest addition as a relatively modest upsizing from pre-existing megaships like Wonder, Utopia, Harmony and Symphony of the Seas, all of which debuted in recent years.
Royal Caribbean has long had a reputation for offering an over-the-top selection of activities and dining options, luring in travelers with rock climbing walls, wave pools and other wow-inducing amenities.
Icon is scheduled to welcome the public for its first, reportedly sold-out sailing from Miami on Jan. 27.
As part of the seven-night voyage, the ship will stop in St. Kitts, St. Thomas and CocoCay, Royal’s private island in the Bahamas.
Current fares for the year’s schedule of seven-night Caribbean sailings begin at $1,542 per person.