FILE - The Icon of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship, sits docked after arriving to its home port in Miami, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024. Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas is leaving South Florida on Saturday, Jan. 27, for its first seven-day island-hopping voyage through the tropics. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)
Share article

The world’s largest cruise ship — the size of almost four city blocks — is set to begin its maiden voyage Saturday as it leaves from the Port of Miami.

Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas, which runs nearly 1,200 feet (365 meters) from bow to stern.

The ship, which is leaving South Florida for its first seven-day island-hopping voyage through the tropics, was officially christened Tuesday with help from soccer legend Lionel Messi and his Inter Miami teammates.

“Icon of the Seas is the culmination of more than 50 years of dreaming, innovating and living our mission – to deliver the world’s best vacation experiences responsibly,” Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty said earlier this week. “She is the ultimate multigenerational family vacation, forever changing the status quo in family travel and fulfilling vacation dreams for all ages on board.”

The ship sets sail as Royal Caribbean’s cruises are having a moment online. Since December, the company’s 9-month “Ultimate World Cruise” has captivated — and confused — a following of avid watchers on social media.

Millions are following the journey through the eyes of the passengers, as they live and post their lives aboard a vessel they’ll be on for nearly a year. If it sounds like a reality show, that’s exactly what some watchers have turned it into.

When the Icon of the Seas was first revealed in October 2022, the ship spurred the single largest booking day and the highest volume booking week in Royal Caribbean’s then 53-year history, according to the cruise line.

The Icon of the Seas is divided into eight neighborhoods across 20 decks. The ship includes six waterslides, seven swimming pools, an ice skating rink, a theater and more than 40 restaurants, bars and lounges. The ship can carry up to 7,600 passengers at maximum capacity, along with 2,350 crew members.

- Sponsored -