Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas, world's largest cruise liner, gearing up for first cruise

An aerial view taken on May 30, 2023 shows the construction site of the Royal Caribbean's new ship 'Icon of the Seas' at the Turku shipyard in Finland's southwest coast. (Photo by JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images)

The world’s largest cruise liner, gearing up for its rapidly approaching first official cruise, finished sailing across the Atlantic Ocean and reached the Caribbean earlier in the week. 

The Royal Caribbean-owned Icon of the Seas reached Puerto Rico on Tuesday, marking the end of its transatlantic journey from Spain, according to a Facebook post from Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley.

Crews stress-tested the sprawling ship’s venues and attractions over the 10 days it took to traverse the ocean, Royal Caribbean said on its website. 

Before crossing the Atlantic, it had been in Spain for the final touches.

Bayley said that "regulatory inspections, loading and off-loading equipment, yard workers going home, more crew arriving" and other activities would occur while the Icon of the Seas was in Puerto Rico before it started making its way to Miami. 

Built in Finland, the ship was delivered to Royal Caribbean in November and had wrapped up its second round of sea trials just a few weeks before that.

The Icon of the Seas features 20 decks, 18 of which are open to the up to 7,600 guests it can host at a time, according to a fact sheet. It is nearly 1,200 feet long. It can hold a crew of up to 2,350.

The 250,800-ton ship was built with slightly more than 2,800 guest cabins spanning 28 formats. It also has a three-story "Ultimate Family Townhouse" option on board that features an "in-suite slide, areas for karaoke and to watch movies," as well as two balconies, according to an October announcement.

Guests will have a total of seven pools to swim in aboard the Icon of the Seas. There is also a six-slide water park called "Category 6," the cruise line said. 

On the ship, builders installed the "single largest glass and steel structure to be lifted onto a cruise ship," the AquaDome, according to Royal Caribbean. That structure houses a 55-foot water curtain and other experiences. 

The cruise line said that 900 days' worth of design and construction went into the Icon of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean plans for the cruise liner to enter Miami’s port early this coming week. 

Icon of the Seas will host seven-night cruises in the Eastern and Western Caribbean that disembark from Miami. Its first trip is scheduled to depart on January 27.

In Miami, the cruise liner will have a naming ceremony featuring Inter Miami football player Lionel Messi. During that event, he will be tasked with "bestowing safekeeping onto the new ship, its crew and the millions of families who will create memories of a lifetime on board in the years to come," Royal Caribbean announced last month.

Royal Caribbean started accepting reservations on the Icon of the Seas in late October 2022. That led to the company seeing its "single largest booking day" ever, it said at the time. 

With Icon of the Seas, the cruise line runs 28 ships under the Royal Caribbean brand.