Cruise & Ferry Review - Autumn/Winter 2023

110 A busy year of shipbuilding will culminate with the delivery of the world’s largest cruise vessel, along with the entry of China into the large ship construction market. Alex Smith reports Bigger and better CRUISE ORDER BOOK The end of 2023 is set to see the delivery of some of the largest cruise ships ever built, as well as one of the most luxurious, as a busy year for cruise shipbuilding comes to a close. Yet 2024 is already shaping up to be an exciting time for the industry, with new classes in both ocean and river cruising set to introduce innovative new experiences. Royal Caribbean International will take delivery of Icon of the Seas from Meyer Turku in October, ahead of its first voyages in January 2024. The ship is the first of three planned vessels in the Icon class and will overtake the Oasisclass Wonder of the Seas as the largest cruise ship in the world. Continuing the larger-than-life theme, the ship will include Royal Bay, the largest pool at sea; Category 6, the largest waterpark at sea; and Frightening Bolt, the tallest drop slide at sea. The ship will be divided into eight neighbourhoods, five of which will be new for the ship, and feature more than 20 dining venues and 15 bars and nightlife experiences. It is also the first Royal Caribbean ship to feature a parabolic bow design. “With each new ship, we raise the bar in the travel industry while enhancing what our guests know and love,” said Jason Liberty, president and CEO of parent company Royal Caribbean Group. Icon of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world, will be delivered in October Photo: Royal Caribbean International