Cruise & Ferry Review - Autumn/Winter 2023

49 A rendering of The Pearl, a three-deck-high, dome-like structure that links two decks together at the heart of The Royal Promenade and also features 3,000 kinetic panels and integrated lighting going up harness the electricity generated by those going down. In addition, there will be automatic gangways onboard for the first time, which has necessitated RCG to collaborate with ports. Hundreds of tiny elements of the design have required research and testing, for example the harnesses for the Crown’s Edge experience in the Thrill Island neighbourhood. Niklas Fabritius, RCG’s project manager for the neighbourhood, sourced them from a Bulgarian manufacturer. He was also responsible for finding the Estonian manufacturer who created 569 ‘wooden’ planks for the waterpark from moulds made of distressed wood. Discussing the sourcing of new materials, Fabritius explains that some of the suppliers involved had never worked on a ship before and were new to maritime regulations. He said that certification could take anywhere between six and 12 months with different certification required for different zones, for example public spaces versus galleys. However, the pandemic provided an unexpected advantage here, according to Kulovaara. “The team used the time well to focus on the design,” he says. “There were so many novel things and new aspects. We used that time extensively to go through systematically our design which enabled us, when we started production, to really shoot forward.” Kulovaara is keen to point out what makes newbuilds such as Icon of the Seas possible: “You need to be really passionate about these things and have the perseverance and teams who are invested to do this work.” Liberty adds: “As obsessed as we are with delivering a perfect vacation, we are as obsessed on how to make a better impact on the environment.” He is confident that Icon of the Seas will set new standards in terms of both aspects, while also driving success for the business. “This ship, when it debuts in January, will be the most profitable, highest returning ship for the brand, the company and the industry,” he says. Photo: credit “ This ship will be the most profitable, highest returning ship for the brand, the company and the industry” Jason Liberty Royal Caribbean Group Photo: Susan Parker COVER STORY