Does a Bigger Ship mean a Better Cruise?

by | Mar 1, 2024

Royal Caribbean Cruise line’s newest ship set sail this month.  The Icon of the Seas is the largest cruise ship in the world.  At least until their next ship, the Utopia of the Seas is complete!   It seems that many cruise lines are trending bigger.  But, is bigger really better?  The short answer:  Yes.  And No!

No matter the size, cruising is a great vacation option because of it’s inclusive nature.  Accommodations, Food, and entertainment are combined into one fun package.  Plus you can enjoy multiple cities, depending on the cruise itinerary you choose.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Icon of the Seas cruise ship

Benefits of larger ships

If you are the type of cruiser who enjoys time on board checking out all the activities, hanging out at the pool and sampling various types of food, consider one of the larger cruise ships.  Larger ships provide a resort-like atmosphere with plenty of things to do.  Just a few of the features on board Icon of the Seas are 6 waterslides, 7 pools (including an adult only infinity pool), an Arcade, an Ice Rink and the amazing Aquadome, where you can experience tranquil ocean views during the day and fantastic water shows in the evening. 

Icon of the Seas Surfside and outside of the arcade

Icon of the Seas has designed an interesting concept with neighborhoods.  There are 8 different neighborhoods offering a different ‘personality’.   Each neighborhood includes bars, restaurants, shopping and activities.

Aquadome :  Tranquil oasis by day, a vibrant hot spot at night with a 360 degree immersive water theater

Thrill Island : The largest waterpark at sea!  Water slides, the Adrenaline Peak rock wall and more.

Chill Island : Relaxation in the largest pool at sea! Enjoy in-water loungers and raised whirlpools.

Surfside : Stay all day neighborhood for families!  Splash pad, pool, arcade, and carousel plus nearby kid clubs.

The Hideaway : Adult only paradise with the first suspended infinity pool at sea.

Royal Promenade : The 2-deck promenade starts with amazing floor to ceiling ocean views!  Find great entertainment like comedy, karaoke and a piano bar with plenty of dining and shops.

Central Park : Beautiful green space with over 33,000 real plants. Relax to nature sounds or enjoy live music in this park-like atmosphere.

Suite Neighborhood : Exclusive getaway for suite guests with private access  to sun deck, pool and upscale dining.

Creme De La Crepe restaurant on Icon of the Seas

You can find over 40 restaurants and bars on the Icon of the Seas.  Enjoy a variety of cuisine such as Mexican fare, Seafood, Casual quick bites and Deli offerings.  Special dining experiences include the Chef’s Table, the Celebration Table and the all new Empire Supper Club.  Spreading your dining options throughout the ship means less crowding into one main dining room.

Icon of the Seas Owner's Suite Stateroom
Icon of the Seas Owner’s Suite

Plenty of staterooms allows more people a chance to cruise.  Icon of the Seas has 30 different stateroom categories!  From spacious interior staterooms to the infinite balconies to the Ultimate Family suite, find the perfect stateroom for your journey.

Elevator Bank on the Icon of the Seas

Coordinating a larger number of people on a larger ship has resulted in some new, creative innovations.  Icon of the Seas has created an interesting design for their elevator system.  You select your floor in the elevator bank and you get assigned to an elevator.  This system balances out the crowd flow using the elevators.  The stage shows and aqua performances have added new technology to wow the crowds.  Multi-directional harnesses allow the performers to glide through the air, sometimes above the audience. 

Ice Rink Skating Show on the Icon of the Seas

The Downside to Bigger Cruise Ships

The most obvious concern is a larger number of guests sailing together.  Does this make the cruise more crowded? The ships are built larger to add more space for the additional guests, but it is possible that popular venues still get crowded.  The Icon of the Seas ice rink is one of the smaller entertainment venue and can fill to capacity early.   Long lines at the Starbucks on the promenade are not uncommon.

Icon of the Seas in port next to a smaller Royal Caribbean cruise ship

There will be some port limitations for ships over a certain size.  Not all ports are large enough to handle ships over a certain size.  Some ports can handle the ship size, but cannot accommodate the larger number of guests who may come ashore.  If you are a cruiser who prefers to relax on the ship and enjoy every moment in a port destination exploring a new culture, a smaller ship might be a better choice for you.  

Bon Voyage!

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