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Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Shares Big News On Its Next New Thing

The cruise line keeps innovating and it has something special coming.

Each new Royal Caribbean (RCL) - Get Free Report ship pushes the boundaries set by the previous one. The brand new Wonder of the Seas takes the company's Oasis-class ships to places they have never been.

In addition to being the largest ship in the world, Wonder of the Seas builds upon the neighborhoods concept used on Oasis-class ships. Beside the Boardwalk and Central Park outdoor areas found on its sister ships, Wonder adds a suite neighborhood, which gives Royal Caribbean a new perk to offer its higher-end passengers.

The new ship also has a much-improved adults-only Solarium, a bar on the pool deck that cantilevers over the ocean, and the new Mason Jar southern restaurant and bar concept. 

It also offers subtle improvements in room design, with prevalent USB ports (something not found at all on older ships) and space more efficiently used to maximize storage.

No one thing makes Wonder of the Seas revolutionary, but these details taken together make the ship a significant advance over the previous Oasis-class ships.

Now, in addition to the next Oasis-class ship, Utopia of the Seas, Royal Caribbean has begun work on Icon of the Seas, the first ship in the new Icon class.

The company has kept the details of Icon of the Seas close to the vest, but President Michael Bayley offered some important ones at a recent news conference.

Royal Caribbean Icon of the Seas Inside Only KL

Icon of the Seas: What We Know So Far 

Royal Caribbean has confirmed that Icon of the Seas will be the first of a new class of ship, with sister ships following in 2025 and 2026. The original ship in the class is currently being built by  Finnish shipyard Meyer Turku and it's expected to be delivered by 2023.

In a news release issued after a ceremony celebrating its keel-laying ceremony, the company said this:

Icon will set sail next year with the latest innovations and signature features Royal Caribbean’s teams have imagined and reimagined in bold, new ways, including a shift toward cleaner energy. The first of three Royal Caribbean ships will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) – the cleanest fossil fuel available to cruise ships today. Combining LNG with a lineup of the cruise line’s proven applications, such as shore power connection and waste heat recovery systems that repurpose excess energy to help power the ship’s operations, Icon will be the next important step in Royal Caribbean’s journey toward a clean-energy future.

Royal Caribbean has made LNG the focus of what it has shared about the new ship.

Bayley hinted a bit at what's to come with Icon of the Seas in his remarks at the keel-laying ceremony.

“Five years ago, we began dreaming of Icon of the Seas, and now the next phase of this iconic adventure is beginning,” he said. “As this game-changing ship takes shape, the excitement from families and travelers alike, travel advisors and our partners continues to build. Later this year, we’ll reveal the lineup of firsts and favorites that will set a new standard for vacations come fall 2023.”

Royal Caribbean Shares Icon of the Seas Details

Bayley indeed didn't say much there -- but he did deliver one very important piece of info about the new ship during an April 25 news conference in Miami., Cruise Industry News reported.

"Set for fall delivery, the Icon of the Seas will be sailing in the Caribbean," he said. "Additional deployment details will be revealed at a later date, with itineraries going into sale 12 to 18 months before the ship’s first cruise."

Telling people that Icon of the Seas will be deployed from the U.S. for Caribbean sailings tells customers and cruise fans more than you might think. It gives details as to how the ship will be designed.

Wonder of the Seas was built with the idea that it would be deployed in China. Because of that, it has a number of design features -- such as a second casino area ostensibly for high rollers (but not being used that way) -- specific for that market.

Now that the company has decided from which ports Icon of the Seas will be sailing, at least for its initial sailings, the new ship can be built with finishes aimed at American customers. 

That's a small detail, but it's important when you consider that a cruise ship serves as a temporary home for passengers. So the little things matter.