World’s largest cruise ship to have 2 new family-focused ‘neighborhoods,’ including bars and water slides

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Family-friendly bars, new eateries and redesigned attractions are just some of the offerings that will be part of two new neighborhoods on Royal Caribbean‘s Icon of the Seas — the first vessel in the line’s Icon class and the next “world’s largest cruise ship.”

The vessel, which debuts in January 2024, will take Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class neighborhood concept to another level by rearranging the location of some popular venues and adding new ones, many of which will be family-focused.

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A slew of bars, restaurants and fun areas will be the hallmarks of two of the new neighborhoods, Surfside and Thrill Island.

Surfside, which replaces the Oasis-class Boardwalk, will be designed for young families. It will be home to Surfside Eatery, the line’s first family-centric buffet; Pier 7, an extra-fee restaurant that serves up beachy seafood fare; Lemon Post, a bar that caters to both adults and children with menus for both; and the Surfside Carousel, a redesigned version of the original Oasis-class carousels. (Oddly, despite the neighborhood’s name, the vessel’s FlowRider surf simulator will not be located there.)

Upper-deck Thrill Island is set to feature Basecamp, where families can enjoy Icon of the Seas‘ water slides at the Category 6 water park, the Crown’s Edge ropes course, or a bite or drink at the accompanying walk-up window and bar; the Lost Dunes mini-golf course, where families will have to dodge sunken ships and plane wrecks to score the perfect hole in one; and Desserted, a milkshake shop that also has spiked options for adults.

When it begins sailing, 20-deck 7,600-passenger Icon of the Seas will officially become the biggest cruise ship in the world, taking the title from its current holder, sister ship Wonder of the Seas.

Some of the notable differences between Icon of the Seas and most of its predecessors is that it will have eight neighborhoods (instead of six), five of which will be new to the ship. (Three Oasis-class favorites — the Suite Neighborhood, Royal Promenade and Central Park — will be returning.) Others include the AquaDome, and indoor version of the line’s popular AquaTheater; Chill Island, with a swim-up bar and the largest pool at sea; and The Hideaway, the ship’s take on an adults-only beach club.

It also will be focused more heavily on families, which means that it has a larger number of cabins designed to hold more than two people.

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