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I had the incredible opportunity to embark on a three-night preview cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s latest marvel, Icon of the Seas. This megaship, touted as the “world’s largest,” officially joined the Royal Caribbean fleet, and my 9-year-old daughter and I were eager to explore its family-focused amenities and attractions during our brief voyage.

Sailing with a reduced guest capacity of 4,500 passengers, including only 300 children, the ship wasn’t operating at full throttle. Consequently, I couldn’t gauge the full extent of the ship’s crowdedness or the length of queues under normal conditions. Additionally, some shows and activities were not in full swing during our preview cruise, limiting the completeness of our Icon experience.

Here are my initial impressions after spending three days aboard the impressive Icon of the Seas.

Navigating a colossal ship like Icon of the Seas may seem daunting, but Royal Caribbean’s innovative neighborhood concept ensures a user-friendly layout. The Royal Promenade, spanning decks 5 and 6, serves as the central hub flanked by the dining room and theater. Moving to Deck 7, you encounter Surfside, a family-focused area leading to the lush Central Park. Conveniently, a staircase near the Pearl Cafe provides direct access from The Royal Promenade to Central Park, bypassing Surfside if desired.

The seamless flow between Chill Island (main pool area), Thrill Island (water park and active pursuits), and The Hideaway (adults-only pool and sun deck) contributes to the ship’s well-thought-out design. The AquaDome, housing the AquaTheater, adds another layer of entertainment. Despite a few dead ends, the purposeful placement of The Hideaway behind Thrill Island, accessible only from the deck above, enhances the overall accessibility of the ship’s various attractions.

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