by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The world’s largest cruise ship, ‘Icon of the Seas’ will soon set sail on Caribbean waters and St. Kitts is listed amongst the first set of islands where the vessel will make its inaugural visit in January 2024.
“I am also pleased to announce that Royal Caribbean’s iconic “Icon of the Seas” is scheduled to make its inaugural call to St. Kitts in January 2024. The vessel will surpass Wonder of the Seas as the largest cruise ship in the world,” said Minister of Tourism Hon. Marsha Henderson.
Icon of the Seas, when full to capacity, will bring to the Federation approximately 5,610 passengers and 2,350 crew and would feature six record breaking water slides, seven pools, nine whirlpools and 20 decks.
Royal Caribbean said Icon of the Seas completed its first sea trials on June 22, 2023, following hundreds of tests on several technical areas, such as the main engines, propellers, brake systems, hull steering, noise and vibration levels. The second sea trial is scheduled for later this year, where the vessel will be pushed to its limits.
Icon of the Seas was built at Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland. Royal Caribbean’s President Michael Bayley said the vessel will likely join the Royal Caribbean Fleet in October 2023, a few months ahead of its inaugural visit to St. Kitts.
There were eight inaugural calls to St. Kitts for the 2022-2023 cruise season, which included a Royal Caribbean vessel, “Wonder of the Seas”. The St. Kitts- Nevis Tourism Minister said the performance of St. Kitts as a cruise destination remains high.
“We’ve met with the cruise executive and the different cruise liners and they’ve said that this nation continues to come in high, so even though they have their own personal challenges, the visitors are requesting our destination.”
The buzz about Icon of the Seas has brought record breaking advanced sales to the company. From the Royal Caribbean’s quarterly financial report, the company has seen “the best performing new product launch ever.”