Royal Caribbean International has released another episode of its insider “Making an Icon” series, this time examining just how the distinctive Royal Promenade has been reimagined for Icon of the Seas. This includes a reveal of the purpose of The Pearl, a mysterious structure that has been baffling cruise fans for months.
Royal Caribbean is taking cruise fans right to the heart of the upcoming Icon of the Seas with Episode 11 of “Making an Icon” – “Creating Royal Promenade.” The central space is the hub of the ship’s activity and offers something for guests of all ages to enjoy.
Deliberately designed as a central gathering place, the Royal Promenade is a horizontal atrium with dining, lounges, entertainment venues, and much more. You can watch a full video about the Royal Promenade below:
“The Royal Promenade is a classic with Royal Caribbean and has evolved significantly,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean. “It’s an amazing hub for the entire community on board the ship.”
The unique layout first debuted with the Voyager-class vessels in 1999, and has gotten larger, more elaborate, and more detailed with each successive class of ships. Now, Icon of the Seas introduces the next generation of the Royal Promenade.
“You’re going to see a larger, wider, longer, higher Promenade that’s going to have a lot more experiences,” said Jason Liberty, President & CEO of Royal Caribbean Group.
Aboard Icon of the Seas, the 362-foot long, two-deck Royal Promenade will feature updated venues and new spaces. A total of 15 restaurants, bars, and lounges are connected to the Royal Promenade, including popular guest favorites such as Sorrento’s, the Schooner Bar, comedy club, Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar, and more.
One exciting new addition to the Royal Promenade is the first-in-fleet Dueling Pianos bar, where high-energy performances with a musically competitive flair will delight guests of all ages.
Another new bar exclusive to Icon of the Seas is the 1400 Lobby Bar, which pays tribute to the workers who built the vessel. The number 1400 is the construction identifier of the ship’s hull, and will be remembered and celebrated at the new bar where guests can enjoy a varied menu, from tropical drinks to classic cocktails.
Anchoring the aft of the Royal Promenade is Absolute Zero, largest ice arena at sea with more than 2,870 square feet of ice. Not only will the space host the cruise line’s mesmerizing ice shows, but it will also offer skating opportunities for all guests to enjoy and will convert to a laser tag arena for more high-energy fun.
The most notable feature of Icon of the Seas‘ Royal Promenade is a first for any ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet – floor-to-ceiling views that bring immense light and an even great sense of space into the interior of the ship. This was an intense engineering feat that required new changes to the ship’s superstructure, resulting in The Pearl.
Marine engineers, naval architects, and designers helped bring The Pearl to life. This three-deck high, midship superstructure spherical support stretches from Deck 5 up to the Central Park on Deck 8.
“When guests walk onboard they will see a massive structure that we call The Pearl,” said Jennifer Goswami, Director of Product Development for Royal Caribbean. “They may not know what it is, but the scale of it alone is enough to take your breath away.”
Speculation has been rampant about The Pearl for more than a year since the sphere-shaped structure was mounted onto Icon of the Seas, with wide-ranging ideas for what it may be, from an ice bar to a planetarium. At 46 feet (14 meters) tall, 50 feet (15.3 meters) in diameter, and 175 metric tons (385,809 pounds) in weight, The Sphere is a lot to speculate about.
“The Pearl is the most quintessential example of form meets function on Icon,” said Goswami. “We knew we wanted ocean views, and this large structure within the center line of the ship is what allowed us to do that. Once we figured that out, we started to have fun with it.”
More than just a structural support, The Pearl is a multi-sensory, immersive structure featuring 3,000 kinetic panels and integrated lighting to create a sense of water and light through movement and reflections.
“It’s beautiful, it’s artistic, it’s incredibly creative,” said Bayley. “There is nothing else like it on the planet.” Adjacent to The Pearl is The Pearl Cafe on Deck 6, offering specialty coffees, pastries, sandwiches, and gourmet desserts.
Now, finally, we know The Pearl is a key component of the ship’s structural support, sure to become a focal point of the revitalized and expanded Royal Promenade.
Icon of the Seas remains under construction at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland. Construction began with the ship’s steel-cutting in June 2021, and the hull was complete in January 2023 as the immense, 250,800-gross ton ship was floated out for the first time.
In June 2023, the ship aced its first set of sea trials, and finishing details continue to be put in place as the 20-deck vessel nears completion ahead of its January 2024 debut.
Icon of the Seas will be homeported from Miami, Florida, offering 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean voyages and welcoming as many as 7,600 guests per sailing. An international crew of more than 2,300 team members will be onboard to ensure that all travelers enjoy a truly iconic vacation with all the new and impressive ship has to offer.
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