When Wonder of the Seas began sailing from Fort Lauderdale in March, it claimed the title of the largest cruise ship in the world. It took that crown from its sister ship Symphony of Seas, which began sailing in 2018.
In reality, Royal Caribbean has dominated the “biggest cruise ship in the world” competition, essentially trading that title between the previous Oasis-class ship and the next one. The Oasis class debuted with Oasis of the Seas in 2009.
“Oasis of the Seas was the largest cruise ship in the world when it was launched in 2009,” according to U.S. News and World Report. “As the line’s debut Oasis-class ship, it is five times bigger than the Titanic, weighing in at 220,000 gross tons and 1,187 feet. The vessel was amplified in November 2019 and now carries up to 5,606 guests and 2,109 crew members.”
Wonder, built over a decade later, comes in at 1,188-foot-long, 210-foot-wide, 236,857 gross tons with capacity for up to 6,988 guests in 2,867 staterooms and as many as 2,300 crew members.
Royal Caribbean rivals Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL) – Get Carnival Corporation Report and Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) – Get Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Report have seemingly given up on claiming the “biggest ship” title. Both have added innovative new ships to their fleets, but neither one has challenged Royal Caribbean for the “biggest” crown.
Many expected Royal Caribbean to top that when it launches the next Oasis-class ship, Utopia of the Seas. And, it’s possible that will happen, but the company has confirmed that Utopia of the Seas won’t be the next biggest ship in the world. That honor will go to a different upcoming ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet.
Royal Caribbean Shares Icon of the Seas Details
Royal Caribbean has shared very few details about the next ship in its fleet, Icon of the Seas, which is currently being built by Finnish shipyard Meyer Turku and is expected to be delivered by 2023. The new ship is the first in the new Icon Class and sister ships will follow in 2025 and 2026
Many fans of the cruise line expected that the Icon Class would not be aiming to take the biggest cruise ship title, Instead, many assumed it would be like the Quantum Class, which includes the new Odyssey of the Seas, where the ships have lots of innovations but aren’t as big as the Oasis-class ships.
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That makes sense because the biggest ships can’t fit in as many ports as smaller ones can. Because of that, it makes sense for the cruise line to build a variety of different sizes.
The reality, however, is that while many Royal Caribbean fans and followers expected Icon of the Seas to be smaller than Oasis, that’s actually not what’s happening, according to a recent Travel Weekly article.
Icon of the Seas Will Be Bigger than Wonder of the Seas
In somewhat of a surprise, Royal Caribbean has confirmed that the Icon Class will be bigger than the Oasis Class.
“Outgoing vice president of international sales Sean Treacy confirmed Icon would be the line’s largest ship during a press conference held on board Wonder of the Seas – the current largest ship in the world – as it made its European debut out of Barcelona last week,” the magazine reported.
He was emphatic about that even though earlier news reports based on filings the cruise line had made suggested that the Icon Class would be bigger than the Quantum Class but smaller than Oasis Class.
“Icon will be the biggest. It launches in the fall of next year and will be the first new ship class for Royal in a decade,” Treacy said.
In a previous statement, Royal Caribbean shared the following information about Icon of the Seas.
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.
Now, we know that LNG fuel system will be powering the next “biggest ship in the world.”