The World's Biggest Cruise Ship Is Here, and It's Hard to Believe It's Real

Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas is an entirely new category of cruise ship.

I always think about those people who showed up to look at the Titanic. At the time it was the biggest ship in the world, and people literally stood around looking at it, like dang that's a huge boat. There's a John Mulaney bit that credits this with the fact there really wasn't much going on back in the olden times. And up until today, I would have agreed that this was a pre-smartphone activity.

But, with the arrival of the Icon of the Seas, Royal Caribbean's highly anticipated newest and biggest cruise ship, it's clear that staring up at ships is not a habit relegated to a pre-high tech past. The ship arrived for the first time in Miami last week and received some very Titanic-esque fanfare. The ship doesn't officially debut until it sets sail on its maiden voyage on January 27, but its arrival in Miami gave us plenty of time to preview all that's going to be available on this absolute marvel of modernity.

click to play video

So what makes this ship so worthy of this attention? To start it has more water slides than any other ship, at a record six slides. There are seven pools, including the first suspended infinity pool at sea. The slides and pools are part of the Category 6 Waterpark, which is above 154 feet above the water.

There's an onboard neighborhood designed for families with young kids, 40 different restaurant, bar, and lounge options, and on-deck entertainment that cover the elements of air, ice, water, and of course, theater. 

Courtesy of Royal Caribbean
Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

You can see all of this on deck extravaganza in aerial photos taken as the ship arrived in Miami. The promise from Royal Caribbean is momentous:

"Dial up the daring. Unwind like never before. Bond over new bites and toast to next-level nightlife. And catch showstopping spectaculars that will leave you in awe. This is your week to enjoy everything you’ve ever loved about every vacation—all rolled into one," the Royal Caribbean website reads.

Has all this nostalgic awe of a cruise ship got you feeling inspired? Sailings will start from Miami for seven-night cruises through the Eastern or Western Caribbean begin on January 27. You can learn more about the ship and make a booking for future sailings at Royal Caribbean's website.

Looking for more travel inspo?

If you're ready for an adventure but not sure where you'd like to go or what to do, we're on it. The best new hotels opening up around the world. The most exciting places to travel without a passport. The world's best beaches, as ranked by travel influencers. It's all here along with all the travel news you need to stay informed and inspired.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. She holds a bachelor's and master's degree in Journalism from NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. She's worked in digital media for eight years, and before working at Thrillist, she wrote for Mic, The Cut, The Fader, Vice, and other publications. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.