Royal Caribbean does it again with Icon of the Seas! Another record-breaking, game-changing vessel from the cruise line has just set sail from Miami. We were lucky enough to sail on a 3-day preview cruise, followed by the first revenue sailing on this brand-new ship. With 10 days onboard, we covered every square inch, testing out all the dining, bars, entertainment, sports deck attractions, and more. And all we can say is WOW!
Admittedly, Icon of the Seas is probably not for everyone but we certainly think that Royal Caribbean has fulfilled its promise of delivering “the first-of-its-kind combination of the best of every vacation”.
At 250,800 GT, Icon of the Seas has 20 total decks, 2805 staterooms, 2350 crew, 7 pools, 9 whirlpools, 6 record-breaking waterslides, 8 neighborhoods, and over 40 restaurants, bars, and lounges. At double occupancy, the ship accommodates 5,610 guests. Icon of the Seas is also Royal Caribbean’s most sustainable cruise ship yet.
However, to say that Icon of the Seas is just an evolution of the Oasis Class would be underselling this new class of ships. While there are some similarities, there are also quite a few differences. The decor, layout, and design have all been taken to the next level.
Icon of the Seas boasts completely new neighborhoods like the family-centric Surfside, the adults-only The Hideaway, and the AquaDome; a completely refigured pool deck now referred to as Chill Island; an elevated, first-in-the-fleet 2-story Royal Promenade; the massive Thrill Island for all the adventure seekers; and the enhanced Central Park and Suite Neighborhood.
Chill Island features a pool for every mood including Royal Caribbean’s first swim-up bar at sea, while Thrill Island features the largest waterpark at sea, Category 6, and the new Crown’s Edge attraction. The Hideaway features the first suspend infinity pool at sea, and the AquaDome houses the reimagined AquaTheater.
Further, the list of new dining, bars, and nightlife are endless. Royal Caribbean has really stepped up its game when it comes to casual eats with additions like the AquaDome Market, Basecamp, Pearl Cafe, and Surfside Bites. There’s also new additions to the specialty restaurants including the Empire Supper Club and Pier 7, along with a new Izumi in the Park take-out window.
When it comes to bar, we love the 1400 Lobby Bar which opens the promenade to the outdoors for the first time, the Bubbles walk-up champagne window in Central Park, the Dueling Pianos, the Rye & Bean coffee bar, and The Lemon Post featuring all drinks made with lemonade. There’s also a new Desserted Milkshake bar, Lou’s Jazz ‘n Blues, an all-frozen Lime and Coconut bar, and The Grove for suite guests.
Icon of the Seas also introduces the Overlook, a posh relaxation space at the front of Deck 15, along with several new cabin categories like infinite balconies and Surfside family staterooms.
Of course, there’s also new entertainment across four signature stages, including the not-to-be-missed Aqua Action and The Wizard of Oz.
With all that being said, a massive ship calls for our longest cruise review to date. So, dive into our detailed day-by-day Icon of the Seas cruise review below. Let us know in the comments section if you have plans to sail on this new Royal Caribbean cruise ship. Or, if you’ve already sailed too, let us know your opinions of Icon.
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Icon of the Seas Cruise Review – Day 1
Getting Back Onboard Icon of the Seas
Since we were invited by Royal Caribbean on one of the preview sailings prior to this inaugural cruise, we opted to spend the few days in between in Florida as opposed to traveling back home.
Requesting an Uber from our Fort Lauderdale hotel, we arrived at Terminal A in Miami around 10:30 AM. While we did have a much later boarding time, we were allowed to enter the Express Lane (for those who have uploaded all necessary documents ahead of time) and proceed through the check-in and security process.
After making our way upstairs, there was no waiting at all, and we were able to directly board the ship. Now, this is not always the case as boarding doesn’t usually begin until around 11 to 11:30 AM. But we happily boarded as soon as we could.
Entering the Royal Promenade on Deck 5, cruisers are first greeted with The Pearl. This large kinetic structure is certainly the focal point of this newly redesigned two-story neighborhood. It makes for a great photo op too.
However, our first order of business was reservations. While one of our pro cruise tips is to always make dining and entertainment reservations prior to the cruise, we forgot to do so amidst all our other travels. When we did try to book via the Cruise Planner closer to the sail date, everything was already sold out. Thankfully, Royal Caribbean does reserve additional times for those who want to make reservations once onboard the ship.
We proceeded straight to the Box Office upon boarding, which was in the Attic on Deck 6 of the Royal Promenade. We were able to secure reservations for all the entertainment with the exception of the comedy show. These included The Wizard of Oz in the Royal Theater, Aqua Action in the AquaTheater, Starburst: Elemental Beauty in Absolute Zero, and three headliner acts. The headliner entertainers on this Icon of the Seas cruise were Mo5aic, Pete Matthews, and Earl Turner.
Next up was securing some My Time Dining reservations.
On all ships in the fleet, Royal Caribbean offers traditional dining times with an early and late seating and My Time Dining. With My Time Dining, you can dine whenever you’d like during set hours, but you won’t have the same table and waitstaff each evening. We have been opting for this more recently as the early seating is usually too early for us and the late seating is too late.
However, given the size of this new ship, Icon actually offers more than that just two set dinner times (which we didn’t realize ahead of time). The traditional dining times are 5 PM, 6:45 PM, 8 PM, and 8:30 PM which are staggered across the three floors of the MDR.
Nonetheless, we booked a 6:45 PM reservation each evening with the exception of tonight because we had a pre-reserved specialty dinner.
A More Relaxing Embarkation Day
Having already sailed three days on the ship, our traditional embarkation day routine was a little more relaxed. One step ahead of everyone else, we did stroll around collecting some additional photos and videos of venues we missed on the preview cruise.
We eventually made our way to Park Cafe for lunch around 1:30 PM. There are so many dining options on Icon of the Seas, but a Royal kummelweck sandwich is always a go-to for Don. The lunch offerings at Park Cafe are pretty similar to other ships in the fleet with items like sandwiches and a custom salad bar.
After lunch, we began our drink around the ship at The Lemon Post. After all, there are more than 40 ways to dine and drink, so we needed to get started. The Lemon Post is a new bar in the family-centric Surfside neighborhood (think replacement for the Boardwalk). This bar has a menu for the grown-ups along with one for the kids, with all drinks featuring lemonade of course.
Settling into Our Balcony Cabin
Next up, it was time to unpack and get settled in for this special voyage. We had a standard oceanview balcony cabin on Deck 14, 14258. While Icon of the Seas has introduced a new cabin category, the infinite balcony, the ship does still have traditional balconies.
While the rest of the ship has really been elevated when compared to other ships in the fleet, the cabins are not much different. In fact, we were expecting a bit more after sailing in the spacious balcony cabins on Norwegian Cruise Line’s new Prima Class of ships.
The cabin does have many more power outlets, including USB and USB-C. It also has a remodeled bathroom featuring a shower with a glass door. Though, when it comes to space and storage, this balcony cabin felt pretty average.
Time to Sail Away
With all these logistics out of the way, it was time to enjoy the ship and sail away. We headed up to The Hideaway, the adults-only area at the aft of the ship. Here, we ordered some drinks off the signature menu and watched the send off fireworks…even if it was still too light to actually see most of them.
The Hideaway is 18+ and has a beach club vibe. It has a suspended infinity pool, whirlpools, terraced seating options, a DJ, and even in-pool daybeds for rent. This turned out to be one of the busier spots on the ship during our cruise. The only downfall of this area is that it does not have its own dedicated food venue.
Following our sail away from Miami, it was time to change up and get ready for dinner. Tonight, we were dining in Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen with some fellow Royal Caribbean friends at 7 PM. But first, we had to make a pitstop to purchase some great Icon of the Seas-branded Vineyard Vines shirts. How could we pass these up?
On Icon of the Seas, Giovanni’s is found in a new location on the upper deck of the Royal Promenade. With a casual vibe, this venue is more open and has an adjacent wine bar which also serves a small food menu. This is one of our favorite Royal Caribbean specialty restaurants. And with more people, it meant more food to share.
The restaurant was a bit busy, so it took a few minutes to get seated and about two hours to complete our entire dinner.
For appetizers, our table ordered the Meatball Gigante, Italian Stromboli, Calamari & Polenta, and a Margherita Pizza. For entrees, I went with the Chicken Parmigiana, and Don ordered the Osso Buco. We then finished off the night with a cannoli and Go Bananas, along with our complimentary shots of limoncello.
We did enjoy our meal, even if it wasn’t our best Giovanni’s dining experience.
Rounding Out Our First Evening on Icon of the Seas
Tonight was the only evening of the cruise that we did not have a show reservation. Thus, we decided to check out Lou’s Jazz ‘n Blues for a drink and some tunes. One thing we love about Icon is that the bar menus have been refreshed and several venues feature specialty drinks.
Lou’s Jazz ‘n Blues is a new venue on Icon of the Seas, located in Central Park. It has a similar feel to the Jazz on 4 clubs previously found on Oasis Class ships. Except, this venue is more open to the outdoors allowing guests to enjoy music and drinks inside or outside. If you are looking for a place to escape the crowds, this is a good spot as it was never busy on our sailing.
After about an hour here, it was time to move on. We made our way to the Royal Promenade where we grabbed two espresso martinis from the Schooner Bar while awaiting the Midnight Balloon Drop.
Exhausted at this point, the espresso martinis did nothing to keep us awake. So, as the clock struck twelve and the balloons fell, we made the decision to call it a night. Day 2 of this Icon of the Seas cruise was a sea day, and we had plenty more to do, eat, drink, and experience.
Icon of the Seas Cruise Review – Day 2
A Relaxing Sea Day
This Icon of the Seas cruise had two initial sea days before making our way to St. Kitts.
Given we had been going non-stop recently, we decided to relax a bit today. While I got ready, Don grabbed us our usual morning coffees from Pearl Cafe.
Heading out to the pool deck around 9:30 AM, we were surprised that it didn’t seem all that busy. While we initially thought the more sectioned off pool deck would create crowds, it was quite the opposite. Spread out over Decks 15-17, there are four pools, several whirlpools, and 4 Lime and Coconut bars.
Deck 15 is what we would consider the main pool deck, with the Cove Pool on the portside and the Royal Bay pool on the starboard side. Both these pool areas still had plenty of available seating when we arrived. But we decided on some of the fun new seating options–a hammock net near El Loco Fresh.
We relaxed here while soaking up the sun until lunch time. If you are looking for shade, the Cove Pool area is your best bet. While the Royal Bay Pool is the largest pool on the ship and features plenty of in-pool loungers and surrounding seat options.
Up on Deck 16 is the Swim & Tonic pool bar and nearby casitas which are available to rent. Then, there’s the Cloud 17 pool on Deck 17. While this pool is the smallest, there’s plenty of upgraded seating, and is the most elevated area of the pool deck. In fact, it was supposed to be the adults-only area until a last minute switch by Royal Caribbean made The Hideaway the 18+ neighborhood.
The Hideaway is the 5th pool on Icon of the Seas, located aft on Deck 15 near Thrill Island. This adults-only space features a suspended infinity pool, plenty of tiered seating, and its own bar with a signature drink menu.
We found The Hideaway and the Swim & Tonic were frequently the busiest.
Time for Some Lunch
During our preview cruise, we tested out some of the upcharge items on the Basecamp menu (located in Thrill Island). These included the shrimp bao buns, waffle chicken nuggets, and cheese curds. These were all quite good, but we really aren’t sure that they are worth the a la carte prices given there are so many other complimentary food choices.
So, today we decided to try some free items. We started with the pretzel bites and a hot dog with tater tots. Personally, Don preferred the dog options from the Boardwalk Doghouse on Oasis Class ships. From here, we moved on to the nearby El Loco Fresh (located in Chill Island).
This Mexican eatery is now on several ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet, and the version on Icon of the Seas was pretty standard. The venue features quesadillas, burritos, nachos, build your own tacos, and a custom salsa bar. None of the menu items disappointed, and we still recommend this venue as a great complimentary lunch option.
A Formal Affair on Icon of the Seas
After lunch, we got some steps in walking around this massive ship before grabbing our afternoon coffees and heading back to our cabin for a little work and to eventually get ready for the first formal night of the cruise.
We were actually surprised how many people were dressed for the occasion. A bit atypical from other recent cruises, there were a number of tuxes and gowns darting the promenade this evening. We made sure to stop at one of the portrait studios near The Pearl before heading to dinner this evening.
Tonight was the first day we would be dining in the Main Dining Room. With a My Time Dining reservation, we were quickly checked in and escorted to a table near the back of the restaurant on Deck 3. Our waitress Lyna was attentive and got us in and out of dinner in just about 75 minutes.
Given this was the inaugural cruise, there was a special menu this evening, Dine Like an Icon, which featured many of the options from the typical Taste of France menu.
For appetizers, we had a Caesar salad, cheese plate, and calamari. Don actually thought the calamari was better than the version he had in Giovanni’s last night. For entrees, Don enjoyed a Maine lobster tail and roasted beef tenderloin, while I ordered the chicken cordon bleu.
The lobster tail and beef tenderloin were both well-prepared; though unfortunately, the waitstaff are not allowed to deliver both options to the table at the same time anymore. So, Don had to enjoy his “surf and turf” separately.
We then rounded out the meal with creme brulee and apple cobbler for dessert.
An Evening of Iconic Entertainment
With some time to spare before our reservation for The Wizard of Oz in the main theater, we continued our “drink around the ship” in Spotlight Karaoke. This menu is the same as the Music Hall menu with one exclusive drink, Lavender Haze.
When teen karaoke began in this venue, we exited stage left and slowly made our way to the Royal Theater for our 9:30 PM showing of The Wizard of Oz. This 90-minute production requires reservations and should not be missed during your Icon of the Seas cruise.
This re-telling of the classic movie features all your favorite characters as Dorothy ventures over the rainbow.
Travel along the Yellow Brick road with Dorothy, Toto, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion in their quest for the great and powerful Oz, destroying the Wicked Witch of the West’s beautiful wickedness along the way.
The performers, set pieces, and technical effects were top notch! I enjoyed it so much that we watched it twice.
Following the performance, we popped into the Music Hall to catch a bit of Phoenix’s rock show. This two-story venue is more reminiscent of the one found on Quantum Class ships. With a stage, dance floor, and two bars, this tribute band had the room up on their feet rocking out to the likes of Aerosmith, Journey, Bon Jovi, and more.
While we do enjoy this band, we’ve seen them several times now, so we decided to move on after about a half hour. Our final stop of the evening was the 1400 Bar. This new bar located on Deck 5 of the Royal Promenade features nods to shipbuilding and the cruise line’s history with a specialty drink menu like no other. It’s also the first time the promenade has ever been open to the outdoors.
Be sure to try the Fourteen Hundred with its signature citrus bubble. Yes, this drink as well as most of the other specialty drinks on the ship are all included in the Deluxe Drink Package.
Finishing our “nightcap”, it was time to call it a night. Day 3 of this Icon of the Seas cruise was another sea day.
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Icon of the Seas Cruise Review – Day 3
Experiencing the New Surfside Neighborhood
In prep for our visit to St. Kitts tomorrow, we had to turn the clocks one hour ahead last evening. This meant we lost an hour of sleep. Taking our time to get ready, enjoy our morning coffee, and get a little work done, we finally headed off around noon time to enjoy more of this great ship.
First on the agenda was trying brunch at Pier 7. Pier 7 is a new casual, beachside eatery found in the Surfside neighborhood. This specialty restaurant is an up-charge with a menu of a la carte items. The good news for families is that kids eat free off the menu here.
There are two different menus at Pier 7, one for brunch and one for dinner. While most of the starters and desserts are the same, the entree selections do vary. Thus, we would subsequently end up testing out dinner here later in the cruise.
For brunch, we ordered the buttermilk pancake board to split, then the fish tacos and chicken tenders for our meals. The fish tacos were good, but the chicken tender meal was extremely salty. We also don’t think the pancakes were worth the $11 fee. While good, it was reminiscent of something you could get for free on other cruise lines.
Following brunch, we took some time to stroll the new Surfside neighborhood. While this area is specifically designed for families with young children, it’s still worth a visit even if you don’t have kids. Think The Lemon Post bar, Pier 7 specialty restaurant, additional casual dining options, and familiar favorites like the seaside carousel, an arcade, and Sugar Beach with cotton candy.
There’s also the Water’s Edge Pool adjacent to Splashaway Bay so the adults can relax while the kids play.
Dinner and a Show on Icon of the Seas
Afterwards, we also checked out the new laser tag, the Rise of Poseidon, in the Absolute Zero ice rink. This ice rink is the largest at sea, and the laser tag course looked massive as well. This activity is complimentary, but guests must be 5 years old and at least 40 inches to participate. We were surprised at how dead this activity was as it’s usually pretty busy on other ships.
We didn’t have time to try the new course as Don had a few work meetings this afternoon. Instead, we headed back to the room for a few hours, eventually changing up for dinner and another evening around Icon of the Seas. But first, how could we pass up admiring the beautiful sunset from the pool deck.
Dinner tonight was back in the main dining room at 6:45 PM. Tonight was Italian Night. I ordered the arancini, chicken parm, and lemon curd tartlet. Don ordered the mushroom risotto, NY strip steak, and tiramisu. These selections were on par with a typical Royal Caribbean main dining room experience.
Service was quick again this evening, taking just about 75 minutes. Out of dinner around 8 PM, we decided to slowly make our way up to the AquaDome as we had a 9:15 PM reservation for Aqua Action.
I grabbed some seats in the venue while Don ordered us some espresso martinis from the nearby Rye & Bean Bar. A pro tip is that you CAN arrive to the AquaTheater early to get seats as long as you have a reservation. About 45 minutes before showtime, staff will scan your keycard to ensure that you do have a reservation.
A One-of-a-Kind Aqua Show
Unfortunately, this new show is not yet complete. We saw about 30 minutes of the production, and what we did see was amazing. This one-of-a-kind interpretation of a live action movie features revolutionary technology, highly skilled acrobatics, and familiar songs from popular movies like Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean.
The talented cast includes aerial acts, synchronized swimmers, and Olympic level high divers, alongside a 55 foot water curtain, projection mapping, and robotic arms. The show is even billed as having skateboarders as part of the cast. Though, this part was not ready yet. The second show, Pirates vs. Mermaids, won’t be ready for a while either.
Following the show, we met up with some friends at the Point & Feather Pub. This Royal Caribbean staple still features live acoustic guitar music and a wide selection of beers, along with some new cocktails on the menu.
Listening to music and chatting for about an hour and a half, we decided to call it a night around 11:30 PM as we had an early excursion in St. Kitts tomorrow.
Icon of the Seas Cruise Review – Day 4
A Morning in Scenic St. Kitts
Day 4 of this Icon of the Seas cruise was our first port of call in St. Kitts. Given we hadn’t been to this Caribbean island in quite a while, we booked a shore excursion with the cruise line. The Scenic Rail and Sail tour had a meeting time of 8 AM in the Royal Theater.
We set an alarm for 6 AM, so we could take our time getting ready and have some morning coffee and continental breakfast items from the Pearl Cafe before heading ashore. The Pearl Cafe is certainly an upgrade to the traditional Cafe Promenade found on other ships in the fleet.
This Cafe serves Starbucks brewed coffee which IS included in the Deluxe Beverage Package and the Cafe Select Coffee card. However, the licensed Starbucks location one deck down IS NOT included. The Pearl Cafe also offers an upgraded selection of food items throughout the day, including new grab-and-go options.
Meeting in the theater as scheduled, our group was one of the first numbers called. Heading ashore, it wasn’t long before we were escorted to a catamaran to begin the first portion of the tour. This approximately 90-minute scenic sail was just that. We passed remnants of sugar mills, historic estates, and Brimstone Hill Fortress along the southwest coast with Mount Liamuiga visible in the distance as well.
We then took a short bus ride to the boarding location for the scenic train ride. This portion of the tour was also approximately 90 minutes. These custom rail cars are two-levels, with the top level being open-air. This railway was built over a century ago to carry sugar cane from plantations to factories. Both portions of the tour did include complimentary drinks.
While the shore excursion was indeed “scenic”, I guess we were expecting a bit more. We arrived back to the port around 1:30 PM, where we quickly browsed a few shops on the way back to the ship.
More Firsts on Royal Caribbean
Back onboard, it was time to enjoy some lunch at the new AquaDome Market. This is yet another new complimentary dining spot on Icon of the Seas. Royal Caribbean has definitely stepped up its game when it comes to casual dining options. Though, we have to admit that Carnival’s newer ships still win with options like Guy’s Burgers, Shaq’s Big Chicken, and BlueIguana Cantina.
Still, the AquaDome Market is Royal Caribbean’s first food hall, taking nods from Virgin Voyages’ The Galley or Norwegian Prima/Viva’s Indulge Food Hall. This market features five food stalls including: Creme de la Crepe, GNGR, Toast and Garden, Mac’s, and Feta Mediterranean. These stalls serve up quick service items like crepes, small Asian dishes, sandwiches, and mac ‘n cheese.
We tested out the crepe station on our preview cruise, and it was a hit. Today, Don ordered a gyro from Feta, while I did some chicken teriyaki from GNGR and mac ‘n cheese. All of these selections were great. While everyone raved about the Monte Cristo sandwich from Toast and Garden, we thought this was the weakest of the food stalls.
Now, it was time to burn a few calories. We walked around the ship for a bit and also tested out the new Lost Dunes mini-golf course in Thrill Island. Having our fill of the Caribbean sun, we retreated to our cabin with our afternoon coffees in hand to cool off, relax, and shower up for dinner.
A Return Visit to Pier 7
Tonight, we were meeting a friend at Pier 7 for dinner. After having sampled brunch at this venue, we were hoping for a more favorable meal as we really wanted to like this new specialty restaurant. Luckily, our menu selections delivered. We definitely enjoyed this meal much more than brunch, and the options were more on par with what we would consider worthy of the upcharge.
All menu selections at Pier 7 are a la carte, so the bill can add up quickly though. We started with the chicken lettuce cups. Then, I ordered the Surfer’s Club for my meal, and Don did a Buddha Bowl. For dessert, we split the Caramel Waffles. Our friend ordered the Ahi Tuna and Korean Fried Chicken. The consensus at the table was that everything was great.
Following dinner, we continued our “drink around the ship” at Boleros. Even this Latin-themed bar has a new spruced up cocktail menu and decor. It’s also in a new location on Deck 6 of the Royal Promenade on Icon of the Seas.
Another Evening on Icon of the Seas
After spending about an hour here enjoying our drinks and people-watching, we made our way to the theater for the 9:30 PM headliner show, Mo5aic. If you’ve cruised with Royal Caribbean before, you’ve likely seen this act. This a cappella group is unlike any other as all of the sounds heard are produced by the quintet’s voices. There are no instruments, even though it might sound like it. I am a fan of this group so was glad to see them on the entertainment lineup.
Following this show, we darted over to The Attic for Royal Caribbean’s version of the Liar’s Club. This game show is usually a hit, but this one wasn’t as funny as usual. So, we stayed for about a half hour and then decided to call it a night.
Tomorrow was another port of call in St. Thomas.
Icon of the Seas Cruise Review – Day 5
A Daring Morning on Icon of the Seas
Day 5 of this Icon of the Seas cruise was our second port of call in St. Thomas. Given it was a rather short stop and we still had so much to cover on the ship, we made the decision to stay onboard today.
Up around 7:30 AM, Don set off for our morning coffee and breakfast from Pearl Cafe. We had a 9:30 AM reservation for Crown’s Edge. This one-of-a-kind attraction is part ropes course, part zipline, and all thrill ride perched 154 feet above the ocean.
Unlike similar experiences like the plank on some NCL ships or the ropes courses on some Carnival ships, this attraction is an up-charge. For our sailing, it was $39 on a port day and $49 on a sea day. This price does include a short video of the experience for cruisers to share on social media. Still, given the entire experience is only about 90 seconds, we don’t really think it’s worth that up-charge.
On the flipside, it does take a while to gear up with a jumpsuit, helmet, and harness, then watch the safety video. So, if this attraction were free, cruisers would likely get frustrated by the lines or inability to experience it. Thus, maybe a smaller price tag or a reservation system would be a good compromise.
Nonetheless, we can now say that we’ve conquered the Crown’s Edge and have video to prove it.
Next on the agenda was finally testing out the Category 6 waterslides. Of course, I would be capturing the videos of Don riding these slides and NOT partaking myself.
This largest waterpark at sea features 6 record-breaking slides. One tower consists of Frightening Bolt and Storm Chasers. Frightening Bolt is the tallest drop slide at sea. At 46 feet tall and 282 feet long, you’ll propel through a 360’ loop once the floor drops out from beneath you. And Storm Chasers is the first mat-racing duo at sea.
The other tower consists of Pressure Drop, Hurricane Hunter, and Storm Surge. Pressure Drop is the first open free-fall slide at sea with a 66’ incline. Hurricane Hunter is a raft slide with two water curtains, and Storm Surge is the first suspended family raft slide at sea.
Guests need to be at least 48 inches to ride any of these slides and there are weight restrictions as well.
Of all the slides, Don’s favorite was Frightening Bolt.
A More Relaxing Afternoon
With all the thrills out of the way, it was time to head back to our cabin to get some work done. One of the benefits of having a “real” balcony is that we can take our laptops outside to work and enjoy the fresh air, while still keeping our room cool with the air conditioning. Unfortunately, the AC will shut off when the window is open in an infinite balcony cabin.
Taking a break around 2 PM for a late lunch, we headed down to Central Park. Our plan was to test out Izumi in the Park and the bar bites at Trellis Bar. But, contradictory to what the app said, we were told that the bar bites were only available in the evenings. So, Don grabbed some sushi from the Izumi takeout window (a la carte prices), and I got a sandwich from Park Cafe. We couldn’t help trying a bubble cone for dessert too.
Izumi in the Park is a great addition to the quick service dining options.
While here, we FINALLY met Rover!
Now, it was time to continue our “drink around the ship”, checking the Trellis Bar off our list then heading up to the Lime and Coconut on the pool deck. The Lime and Coconut on the starboard side of Deck 15 has some great seating options around the corner (heading towards the AquaDome Market). It was quite windy today, so seating was plentiful.
Grabbing our afternoon coffees, we caught a bit of the parade on the Royal Promenade before heading back to our cabin.
A Low Key Dinner
In lieu of the main dining room, we decided to try more of the casual options around the ship for dinner this evening.
First, we started with some tapas at the Trellis Bar. While the drink menu remains the same at this venue, there are now a la carte food items. We opted for the mac & cheese poppers and the crab cake fritters. Similar to what we’ve been saying about many of the other “bites” around the ship, they were really good, but not sure that we’d pay these prices again.
Next up was a return visit to the Surfside Eatery. We sampled this family buffet during our preview cruise and were not impressed. Since we heard so many people raving about the selections here, including the taquitos and lasagna bites, we wanted to give the venue a second chance.
There are some unique items that kids will likely enjoy, and there is an ice cream bar here. But given the venue is never too busy, we think the food is just sitting under the heat lamps too long. None of our selections were fresh or even that warm.
While it is a nice option for families chilling in this neighborhood, the Windjammer is definitely the better buffet choice for those looking for a casual dinner.
While in the neighborhood, we popped into Sugar Beach. This candy store no longer has an ice cream sundae selection but rather serves cotton candy. With a reasonable price, how could I resist?
More Drinks and Shows
Still with some time before our 9 PM headliner reservation, we headed up to the Overlook. This forward-facing area of the AquaDome is perhaps the most beautiful on the ship. It features 220’ ocean views from floor-to-ceiling windows, plenty of comfy furniture, a bar, and the first of their kind pods at sea.
This bar has the standard drink menu with one signature cocktail, the Overlook Spritz, which was quite tasty.
While the AquaDome is best known for the AquaTheater shows, the rest of this neighborhood should not be overlooked. The Overlook, Rye & Bean bar, and AquaDome Market are great additions to Royal Caribbean.
Around 8:30 PM, we made our way to the Royal Theater for tonight’s headliner show with Pete Matthews. We’ve likely seen this comedian juggler on another Royal Caribbean ship before but couldn’t remember. Now, we’ll remember that he is high energy, but there isn’t a whole lot of juggling worked into the show.
After the show, we grabbed another drink at the 1400 Lobby Bar. We really liked the vibe at this bar and think it’s a great addition to the fleet. From here, we just so happened to catch the Ships Ahoy parade once again.
While we did see the Dueling Pianos during our preview cruise, we had yet to see them this trip. But to no avail, the venue was packed again tonight so we called it a night instead. The Dueling Pianos is a great addition, but it’s the one spot where we really felt the crowds on Icon of the Seas. If you want to see the show, plan to arrive early to get seats.
Icon of the Seas Cruise Review – Day 6
A Work Day on Icon of the Seas
Day 6 of this Icon of the Seas cruise was our last sea day, and Don pretty much had work meetings all day today. The good news was that we also gained an hour of sleep, turning our clocks back one hour to get back onto ET time.
Up around 7 AM, we got ready for the day and grabbed some breakfast in the Windjammer. In fact, this was the first time I had stepped foot in the Windjammer in the 9 total days that we had been on the ship. For someone who hates buffets, Icon offers so many alternatives, both quick service and sit-down, that you really can go the whole cruise without having to eat here.
The selections were pretty typical, and there was an omelet station which is always a pro for me. Also, it was not very crowded at all, and there were plenty of empty tables.
While Don worked his full time job in the cabin, I sat on the balcony organizing and editing our thousands of photos and videos from the trip.
We took a midday break to get some steps in around the pool deck and grab lunch. We headed back to the Surfside neighborhood, this time for Surfside Bites. Surfside Bites is a complimentary takeout window serving items like popcorn chicken, burgers, and churros. These got a thumbs up from us. Our pro tip is to add the churros to a bowl of soft serve from the nearby Sprinkles.
Back to the cabin, Don re-joined work meetings while I wrote some more for our blog. This was our agenda for the rest of the afternoon. Thankfully, it was rather windy and cool so we didn’t feel like we were missing out on too much.
Enjoying More of the Onboard Entertainment and Dining
Around 4 PM, I signed off for the day to check out the second ice show in Absolute Zero. This largest ice arena at sea got a makeover on Icon of the Seas. Now circular, there are better sight lines, and the space just feels more open.
The only odd feature is getting to the venue. You need to walk through a shop and Playmakers on Deck 6 then descend a flight of stairs to enter Absolute Zero.
The signature production here is Starburst: Elemental Beauty which we would be seeing on Day 7. But today, there was a second show which did not require reservations, Once Upon a Time: The King’s Royal Ball.
This family-friendly show featured many of your favorite fairy tale characters. Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter, Little Red Riding Hood, the Big Bad Wolf, Hansel and Gretel, Humpty Dumpty, and more all take the stage is this whimsical skating performance. While a bit cheesy, it was still a good time.
Meeting back up with Don who had finally finished his work day, it was time for our 5:30 PM dinner at Izumi. This specialty restaurant is a Royal Caribbean staple but has been relocated to Central Park on Icon of the Seas. The venue also feels bigger and has more hibachi tables. While we love hibachi, tonight we were meeting a friend for dinner in the sushi part of the restaurant.
Luckily, Izumi does offer more than just sushi. You can also purchase items a la carte or as a prix fixe menu which includes one small plate, two large plates, and a dessert. I ordered the fried rice and yaki udon with grilled chicken. Don ordered the pork dumplings and spicy crispy tuna rolls. This experience lived up to our previous visits and everything was flavorful.
Then More Drinks and Laughs
Following our 2-hour dinner, we strolled around the ship watching some free skate in Absolute Zero and grabbing a drink in Playmakers. Seeing that the standby line for the comedy show wasn’t too long, we decided to hop in. We saw the comedians on the preview cruise, but this was the one show we were unable to secure a reservation for on this cruise.
Luckily, we made it in right before they cut off the line. This cruise featured three comedians, all of which we’ve seen multiple times before. Simeon Kirkiles is a Royal Caribbean fan-favorite. The other two comedians were Paul Ogata and Al Romas; of the two, we definitely find Paul Ogata funnier. It seems like Al Romas hasn’t changed up his set in years.
Exiting the comedy show, we ran into friends at Giovanni’s Wine Bar. Thus, we grabbed a drink here then eventually made our way to the Schooner Bar for another round alongside some live piano music before calling it a night.
Tomorrow was our final day of the cruise and a visit to Perfect Day at CocoCay.
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Icon of the Seas Cruise Review – Day 7
A Perfect Day in CocoCay
Day 7 of this Icon of the Seas cruise was our final port of call in Perfect Day at CocoCay. We had originally purchased tickets to Hideaway Beach, the new adults-only area on the island. However, our friend informed us that he had a Hideout Cabana which we were welcome to join. We were easily able to cancel our tickets at Guest Services a few days prior.
With an arrival of 9 AM, it was a bit of a struggle getting out of bed this morning. Though, we managed to get ready, grab some coffee and breakfast at Park Cafe, and make our way onto the island around 9:15 AM.
We walked around this private space taking photos and videos of the beach, infinity pool, dining spots, and bars before settling in at the cabana.
Coco Beach Club and Hideaway Beach both have very different vibes, and it was a mixed opinion among us which we liked better. Though, when comparing prices, Hideaway Beach appears cheaper than Coco Beach Club.
Enjoying Our Hideout Cabana
Hideaway Beach feels bigger and is definitely more lively…think Oasis Lagoon pool area minus the kids. There are also two food huts, one serving items similar to the Snack Shacks around the island and the other serving pizza and empanadas. We were able to enjoy many of these selections from the privacy of our cabana.
Hideaway Beach also has two different cabana options. The Hideout Cabanas can accommodate 8 guests and have exclusive access to a private infinity pool. The Hideaway Cabanas are the cheaper option. They can still accommodate 8 guests but are located beachside. While they don’t have their own private infinity pool, these guests can still enjoy the area’s larger infinity pool with the nearby DJ.
Personally, we LOVED the Hideout cabana; though, they are pricey. It was also the perfect weather, so we stayed here until almost 3 PM.
Let’s Get It All Done
Making our way back to the ship, we had a few more items to check off our to-do list. Surprisingly, we had not stepped foot in the Swim & Tonic pool all week. So, now was the time. We were already in bathing suits, and it wasn’t busy at all. We enjoyed some signature cocktails in the in-pool loungers before moving on to our next order of business.
In the name of research, we had to test out the new Desserted Milkshake Bar. These milkshakes are pretty pricey and are NOT included in the beverage package or dining package. We tried the Stranded Burro and Oreoasis. While the Stranded Burro is the more crazy, over-the-top option complete with a mini pinata (and the more expensive option), we thought it was rather bland. The Oreoasis won as our favorite…but yet again, probably not worth the $14 upcharge.
With our bar crawl almost finished, we decided to grab a margarita from Cantina Fresca while still outside. After all, it would just help to drown our sorrows before the next task at hand…packing!
Since we had been traveling for two weeks now, we had quite a bit of luggage. While we typically complete self-assist disembarkation, we decided to put some of our luggage out tonight so we had less to carry off the ship tomorrow morning.
This meant packing and showering up for the evening took us right to dinner time.
Our Final Evening on Icon of the Seas
Tonight was our final evening in the MDR. I enjoy this Bon Voyage menu as it features the turkey dinner. I surrounded this entree with a cheese plate to start and the chocolate brownie for dessert. Don ordered the shrimp cocktail, braised lamb, and apple cobbler.
Once again, all the selections live up to our previous MDR expectations. The food was served warm, and the service was quick. We like that the cheese plate is permanently back on the menu as well.
Out of dinner by 8 PM, the last bar on our list was Dueling Pianos. While the musicians weren’t playing yet, we were able to scoot in to at least order a drink. Although, they did not have the ingredients to make the signature cocktail here– the Snap, Crackle, Pop. So, I went with the Metalliquor and Don did the Jack and Diane.
From here, it was on to Absolute Zero to see the 9:15 PM showing of Starburst: Elemental Beauty. With a story line paying tribute to elements of the periodic table, great use of projection mapping and lighting, and talented performers, I really enjoyed the show. Though, Don preferred some of the ice shows on other ships over this one.
To round out a fantastic 10 days on Icon of the Seas, we ended the evening with the late night comedy in the main theater. Too tired to grab a final drink of the cruise, we called it a night when the show ended.
Icon of the Seas Cruise Review – Disembarkation
Time to Go Home
Disembarkation day, the saddest day of this Icon of the Seas cruise!
With our luggage tags scheduled to be called at 7:15 AM, we set a 5:30 AM alarm so we could shower, finish packing, and get some breakfast.
Ready and fueled for our day of travel, we exited our cabin around 7:30 AM. With the new smart elevator design, we weren’t sure what to expect. While we hadn’t had any issues all week, disembarkation day is always a test of the elevators. And to our surprise, the first elevator allocated for us indeed had room for us and our carry on bags.
From here, it was down to the promenade to get scanned off the ship, through the terminal to pick up our luggage, and through the CBP facial recognition in no time. Securing an Uber did take a little while, and the chaos at the airport really made us appreciate Royal Caribbean’s smooth disembarkation process.
While some cruise lines haven’t figured it out, Royal Caribbean typically does a great job…even disembarking passengers on the largest cruise ship in the world!
Checking our bags and getting through the TSA pre-check line at the Fort Lauderdale airport took over an hour. Thankfully, it was smooth sailing from there. Our flight took off without any delays and we were back home by mid afternoon.
Now, it’s time to organize and continue sharing everything about our time onboard this Icon of the Seas cruise. We are home for about 3 weeks before we set off on our next series of travels. Coming soon is Carnival Jubilee, Sun Princess, and a Viking Seine River cruise. So, stay tuned!
Did you enjoy our Icon of the Seas cruise review? Do you have plans to sail on this largest cruise ship in the world? Drop us an anchor below to share your thoughts on Royal Caribbean’s newest mega-ship.