Hello from the world’s biggest cruise ship.
I’ve been busy dashing about filming the new 20-deck, 1,198-foot Icon of the Seas – inside and out – during a preview sailing from Miami to the Bahamas.
The vast vessel cost $2billion (£1.5billion) to make, took 900 days to build and is a ship of many ‘firsts’.
My video takes in the world’s first suspended infinity pool at sea as well as the largest-ever water park at sea, with six record-breaking slides. Plus, I panned my camera around the showstopper glass-topped AquaDome, which was the single largest glass-and-steel structure ever to be lifted onto a cruise ship and houses a 55ft indoor waterfall.
Royal Caribbean has been pushing boundaries in the world of cruising for decades, but Icon is on the next level and its outdoor decks are so bright and colourful that they’re like a cartoon otherworld.
Jo Kessel boarded Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas – the world’s biggest cruise ship – in Miami for a sneak peek at the vast vessel ahead of its maiden voyage on January 27. Jo is pictured here enjoying a cocktail at Swim & Tonic, Royal Caribbean’s first swim-up bar
Icon of the Seas, pictured here in Miami, cost $2billion (£1.5billion) to make and took 900 days to build
If watery thrills are what you’re after, then Icon’s Category 6 is the place to be, says Jo
Category 6 is the largest water park at sea with several record-breaking white-knuckle rides
My video starts with the pools and there’s a different one for each day of the week.
Royal Bay is the biggest pool at sea. Then there’s Swim & Tonic, Royal Caribbean’s first swim-up bar whose cocktails share one key ingredient. You guessed it – tonic! Piece de resistance, however, is Hideaway – the first ever suspended infinity pool on a cruise ship, which hangs giddily off the side of the vessel, 135 feet above the ocean.
But if watery thrills are what you’re after, then Icon’s Category 6 is the place to be – and this is where the video heads next.
Royal Bay is the biggest pool at sea
Swim & Tonic’s cocktails all share one key ingredient – tonic!
Meet the largest water park at sea with several record-breaking white-knuckle rides.
Pressure Drop is the first ever open free-fall slide at sea (it looks terrifying), with a 66-degree incline; and Frightening Bolt is a 46-foot-tall drop slide. Their names alone are enough to scare you off.
My footage then moves to the front of Icon, where you’ll find the dazzling glass-topped AquaDome, a first-of-its-kind entertainment space that houses the AquaTheatre, whose four nine-foot robotic arms have lights at the ends (used for special effects) and cost millions.
Royal Caribbean has been pushing boundaries in the world of cruising for decades, says Jo
Kessel on a vessel: Above is Jo enjoying the first-ever suspended infinity pool at sea
Dreamy cabin: Jo’s footage takes in her comfy balcony room
Jo reveals that the acrobatic shows on Icon are ‘gasp-inducing’ – and some incorporate the ship’s 55ft-tall indoor waterfall
Here’s where daily gasp-inducing acrobatic shows are held using divers instead of gymnasts. Like Cirque de Soleil on water. That 55-foot indoor waterfall becomes a spectacular part of the set.
Finally, we go into the heart of the ship to explore my cabin as well as two other Royal Caribbean debuts – the new walk-up Bubbles Champagne bar and ‘The Pearl’. This is a giant, walk-through three-deck sphere installation with an artistic stairway – Icon’s answer to the more conventional cruise ship atrium.
The finale is a dazzling fireworks display before the ship excitingly pulls away, heading for the Bahamas on the first sailing ahead of a maiden January 27th voyage, from when Icon will be offering weekly seven-night roundtrip Miami voyages to the Caribbean.
For more videos from Jo, visit her YouTube channel Go With Jo.
Ferry impressive: Icon’s vast Central Park Neighbourhood
Corking: Jo ventures to Icon’s Champagne bar – Bubbles
Here a barman at Bubbles pours Jo a glass of fizz
Jo is pictured here taking in Icon’s Pearl feature – a giant, walk-through three-deck sphere installation
Icon of the Seas has 20 decks and is 1,198 feet long. This official drone footage captured her arriving in Miami
Jo describes Icon of the Seas, pictured above in Miami, as ‘next level’