Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2024

100 Just a few months into 2024, new ships are already beginning to bring change to the cruise industry. The latest ship designs and features are demonstrating innovation in both the ocean and river sectors, introducing guests to new experiences and improving operations. Icon of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world, began sailing in February 2024 after its delivery by Meyer Turku in December 2023. The newbuild is the first in the Royal Caribbean International fleet to be powered by LNG and has been equipped with sustainable technologies such as an air lubrication system and waste heat capture systems. Guests sailing on the ship can visit the largest water park at sea, Category 6, which includes the tallest waterslide, the first open free-fall waterslide and the first family raft slide on a ship. Icon of the Seas also includes several architectural firsts, such as the 50-metre wide, 25-metre-tall glass AquaDome. According to Meyer Turku, the dome is the largest single-piece glass and steel structure ever lifted onto a ship. “Delivering Icon of the Seas represents all that can be accomplished with strong partnerships and a commitment to delivering memorable vacations responsibly, and we thank Meyer Turku and an incredible village of skilled partners for joining us on this journey,” says Jason Liberty, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group. “The memories millions of families and vacationers will make on Icon will be our greatest accomplishment yet.” Also among the newcomers is Sun Princess, the first LNG-powered ship in the Princess Cruises fleet. The ship features several firsts for the cruise line, including a glass-enclosed, multilevel dome that offers a pool in daytime before transforming into a venue for acrobatic performances created in partnership with Cirque Éloize at night. The central Piazza, meanwhile, has been built within a sphere of glass to offer views of the ocean in every direction, with an interior inspired by European town squares. The Princess Arena theatre can shift into several different layouts to fit a variety of new production shows, while the main dining room is now spread across three stories. Fincantieri constructed the 4,300-guest ship at its Monfalcone shipyard in Italy, continuing the shipbuilder’s relationship with Princess after the completion of the previous Royal class. Shipbuilders are set to deliver a varied range of large, luxury and river cruise ships in the first half of 2024, debuting new classes and innovating on popular designs. Alex Smith reports Crafting cruise innovation CRUISE ORDER BOOK Cunard’s newest ship, Queen Anne, is under construction at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard Photo: Chris Ison Photography/Cunard