Sneak preview of Icon of the Seas: Photos of Royal Caribbean’s newest ship – The Points Guy

Royal Caribbean’s much-awaited Icon of the Seas — the new titleholder of world’s largest cruise ship — arrived in Miami on Wednesday in advance of its first sailings with paying passengers, and The Points Guy was one of the first media outlets allowed on board to see it. Although, contractors were still putting the finishing touches on multiple areas of the vessel, much of it is ready for guests.

TPG was able to explore the ship’s five new neighborhoods — such as the young family-focused Surfside and the glass-domed AquaDome — and try some of the new onboard eateries. We even got to meet Rover, the ship’s resident Chief Dog Officer.

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We’ll give you a more in-depth report once the we board the ship in just over a week for a three-night preview cruise. But here, to whet your appetite for the most talked about ship of the year, are photos of the public spaces and a few suites on Icon of the Seas.

Royal Promenade

The Pearl on Icon of the Seas. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

The Royal Promenade remains the Main Street of the ship, as it is on previous Royal Caribbean ship classes. But on Icon, the space feels much more spacious, light-filled and airy thanks to walls of glass windows on both sides of the ship and the removal of cabins overlooking the thoroughfare. The main focal point is The Pearl, a walk-through sphere that is actually the structural support holding up the ship since the glass walls are located where most ships have a structural steel frame.

Pearl Cafe. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

The Pearl Café replaces Café Promenade as the all-day, all-night grab-n-go snack spot and coffee shop. You’ll find a higher quality of snack here than you might be used to on other ships. We predict this is going to be a key hangout and meeting spot for guests.

Pearl Cafe. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

We’re told the whale sculpture above the seating area is sized to scale!

Sorrento’s Pizza. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

Sorrento’s complimentary pizza makes a return on Icon of the Seas.

Giovanni’s. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

Giovanni’s has moved from Central Park to the Royal Promenade. The effect is that the restaurant will have a more bustling and energetic feel than quiet date spot.

Boleros. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

Boleros returns for late-night Latin dance parties.

ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

Dueling Pianos is a new bar-with-entertainment venue on the Promenade.

Spotlight Karaoke. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

You can be the star at Spotlight Karaoke, a dedicated venue for guest entertainment.

Schooner Bar. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

But don’t worry, the fan-favorite Schooner Bar is still here, now with the new craft cocktail menu Royal Caribbean introduced in 2023.

Point & Feather Pub. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

The Point & Feather is Icon’s incarnation of the promenade pub. Its façade is open, rather than closed off with indoor and outdoor seating like the pubs on other ships.

1400 bar. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

Royal Caribbean partnered with master mixologists to create many of the drink menus on the ship. You can find some of their craft cocktail creations at the indoor-outdoor 1400 Lobby Bar.

Royal Promenade. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

Royal Caribbean is known for its fun art, and we giggled at this statue of a dog marking his territory on a lamppost.

Icon of the Seas’ Rover. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

But the real hero of the ship is Rover, the Chief Dog Officer who will be a permanent resident on Icon of the Seas. She’s here for the fun and to make the crew smile when they’re far from home, but she’ll greet guests, too, when she’s in the mood.

Main dining room on Icon of the Seas. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

The three-level main dining room, with its stunning chandelier, is located aft of the Royal Promenade on decks 3,4 and 5. Instead of the typical two set seating times, Icon will offer guests a choice of five, as well as flexible My Time Dining.

Also on the lower decks are the Casino Royale, Music Hall night club and the main theater.

Surfside

Surfside. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

Surfside is the new family-focused neighborhood on Icon of the Seas. Its mascot appears to be a larger-than-life pink flamingo.

The area is intended to create a no-compromises family vacation experience where parents can enjoy a resort-style pool, elevated casual dining and creative cocktails at the same time as their kids can splash in water-play areas, ride a carousel and explore climbing structures.

Splashaway Bay. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

Surfside is home to Splashaway Bay, found on the pool deck of other Royal Caribbean ships.

Restaurants include the Surfside Eatery buffet, where everyone can enjoy an easy meal, and Pier 7, an extra-fee (if you’re over 12, that is) California-style restaurant, which also serves breakfast all day.

Surfside Bites. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

Grab-and-go kid food from Surfside Bites and an ice cream cone from Sprinkles.

The Lemon Post serves matching cocktails and mocktails so everyone in your family can quench their thirst.

Central Park

Central Park. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

Central Park is as green and serene as on the Oasis Class ships, with a few venue swaps.

Izumi. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

Izumi Sushi and Teppanyaki is now located here, with a new Izumi to Go quick-service window.

Lou’s Jazz ‘n Blues. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

Lou’s Jazz ‘n Blues brings a bit more energy to the space with live music.
Fun fact: Look for the top of The Pearl peeking out between Lou’s and Izumi.

Empire Supper Club. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

The Empire Supper Club is an intimate dining venue, starring an eight-course meal and live entertainment.

AquaDome

Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Icon of the Seas has a unique beluga-whale style silhouette thanks to the rounded glass dome at the top forward section of the ship.

AquaDome’s AquaTheater. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

The AquaDome is a neighborhood all its own, centered around an enhanced AquaTheater with even more high-tech elements than on the Oasis Class.

Circling the pool-theater are the Hooked Seafood Restaurant, Oasis Bling logo jewelry store (coming soon: a Crown & Anchor throne just begging for photos) and the Rye and Bean coffee bar.

Our favorite area is The Overlook, bar with fun lounge seating with views for miles out the wall of windows that make up the dome.

Don’t miss the AquaDome Market, a five-stand food hall serving sweet and savory crepes, mac n cheese, Asian favorites, Mediterranean dishes and sandwiches.

Thrill Island

Thrill Island. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

Category 6 is the largest water park ever found on a cruise ship, and it’s located in the aptly named Thrill Island neighborhood.

You’ll find six water slides, including a drop slide.

Also in this neighborhood is the Crown’s Edge ropes course that will test the limits of your courage, the rock-climbing wall, FlowRider surf simulator and a ship- and plane-wreck themed mini-golf course.

If all that racing adrenaline leaves you hungry, grab comfort food at Basecamp. The pretzels, hot dogs and tater tots are free, but you’ll pay extra for chicken and waffle bites and Wisconsin-style cheese curds.

Or amp your energy up even further with a massive sugar rush at Desserted, a milkshake bar serving towering ice cream drinks topped with cookies and brownies (with or without a shot of alcohol).

Chill Island

Chill Island. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

The three-deck-high Chill Island is Icon’s version of a Lido or pool deck.

Deck 15 is swimming central with Royal Bay — the biggest pool in the fleet — and the Cove Pool, nestled up against the side of the ship for sea views.

El Loco Fresh. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

El Loco Fresh serves up complimentary tacos and quesadillas, and the Lime and the Coconut (you’ll find one on each of Chill Island’s decks) quenches your thirst with cool and refreshing cocktails. The Sprinkles soft-serve ice cream station is a returning staple.

Chill Island. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

Colorful seating and play areas call to adults and kids alike.

Swim & Tonic. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

You’ll find Swim and Tonic, the first swim-up bar on a cruise ship, on Deck 16. The Cloud 17 pool and hot tub are, of course, on Deck 17.

The Hideaway

Hot tubs. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

Icon of the Seas’ iconic back-of-ship cantilevered pool will be reserved for adults 18+. It will have a beach club vibe with a DJ, hot tubs, bar and lounge space. (Unfortunately, crew members were conducting water safety training when I went to photograph the space.)

Pro tip: The Hideaway is on Deck 15 but you need to access it from above since it backs up to the Windjammer buffet.

Suite neighborhood

Coastal Kitchen. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

Royal Caribbean has been on a journey to create a cohesive suite area over the past few new-builds, and the idea has finally come together on Icon of the Seas. The multi-deck suite neighborhood on decks 16 through 19 creates a ship-within-a-ship experience with everything upscale travelers will need.

Coastal Kitchen. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

Coastal Kitchen, the suites-only restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner is now two decks high with huge windows overlooking the AquaDome. Though the venue is the highest guest-rated restaurant across the fleet, Royal Caribbean still chose to take the menu up yet another notch. The dinner menu will now feature lobster in some form every single day.

The Grove. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

The Grove is the name for both the quick-service alfresco Mediterranean restaurant on Deck 18, but also the suite-exclusive sun deck on decks 18 and 19. It’s the biggest suite sun deck in the fleet and features a bar, hot tub and pool.

Most of the cabins on board were closed to visitors but we did get to see three suites.

The Owner’s Suite is 658 square feet with a 190-square-foot balcony.

The Icon Loft Suite is a two-deck-high suite with a living area below and a master bedroom upstairs.

The Royal Loft Suite is the fanciest suite on board (if you don’t count the huge but family-friendly Ultimate Town House). It’s got two floors, two bedrooms and multiple living spaces, and can sleep up to six people.

Spa

To Dry For salon. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

The Vitality Spa mostly has the soothing, neutral-colored look popular across the cruise industry. However, the To Dry For salon rocks a sassy vibe with pops of hot pink and graffiti-style wall art.

ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

The thermal suite offers saunas, aromatherapy showers and heated loungers.

Two couples massage rooms and a new Quartz bed are just some of the amenities you’ll find in the spa.

ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

The spa also features the Vitality Cafe, smoothie and juice bar.

The fitness center is not adjacent to the spa, but on Deck 6 past the Royal Promenade.

Adventure Ocean

Adventure Ocean. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

The kids areas of the ship are conveniently located close to Surfside. Go down the stairs toward the Royal Promenade but take an immediate U-turn. Adventure Ocean is divided into play spaces for babies and tots, preschoolers and school-aged kids. There’s even a theater space.

Across from Adventure Ocean are Playmakers Sports Bar and Arcade, teen club Social020 and the Absolute Zero ice skating rink. Unfortunately, the ship was hosting private functions in that area and they were inaccessible to visitors.

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