PortMiami recently welcomed the arrival of the “Icon of the Seas,” currently the largest cruise ship in the world, marking a significant boost for South Florida’s tourism sector. This colossal vessel, measuring 1,198 feet and capable of accommodating 5,610 guests, is expected to enhance Miami’s status as a global and national tourism hub. The ship, equipped with an array of features including six water slides, over 40 dining and drinking venues, three-story townhouses, and a plant-filled park, is poised to appeal to a diverse range of travelers.
Developed over several years by Royal Caribbean International, based in Miami, the Icon of the Seas represents the culmination of various innovations and design elements from the company’s past projects. This ship is the first of a new class from Royal Caribbean in almost ten years, with the previous class being the Quantum introduced in 2014.
Weighing over 250,800 gross tons and featuring 2,850 staterooms, 18 guest decks, 7 pools, and a crew of 2,350, the Icon of the Seas stands as a testament to the growth and resilience of the cruise industry, particularly in Miami. The ship’s arrival coincides with a record-breaking year for PortMiami, which saw 7.3 million passengers in the 2023 fiscal year, nearly doubling the previous year’s figure and surpassing the pre-pandemic record.
The Icon of the Seas is scheduled to embark on its inaugural public cruise from PortMiami on January 27, following various preview events. Its arrival not only contributes to the burgeoning cruise sector but also signifies a rebound from the challenges faced by the industry during the pandemic. The ship is set to offer shorter itineraries, primarily to the Caribbean, bringing thousands of visitors to Miami each week and significantly benefiting the local economy.
The design and construction of the Icon of the Seas were meticulously planned and executed, with a focus on redefining the cruise experience. The ship aims to attract not just repeat Caribbean cruisers but also those seeking the cruise ship itself as a destination. Industry experts believe that the Icon of the Seas could drive innovation in the cruise sector, particularly for larger vessels, by offering an expansive sense of space and a variety of onboard experiences.
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This article was first published on January 10, 2024.
Read more at: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/tourism-cruises/article283953108.html#storylink=cpy