The Icon of the Seas has been delivered to Royal Caribbean in Turku, Finland. (Credit: Royal Caribbean).
(CNN) -- The world's largest cruise ship is now in the hands of its new owner Royal Caribbean, which this week accepted delivery of the 365-meter Icon of the Seas.
The 20-deck, 250,800-ton ship was officially handed over to the cruise line at the Meyer Turku jetty in Turku, Finland, on Nov. 27. Her maiden voyage will depart Miami, Florida, on January 27, 2024, and will take a seven-day tour of the Caribbean.
According to a press release from Royal Caribbean, the Icon of the Seas took 900 days to build. It has the capacity to accommodate 7,600 guests and 2,350 crew members; In total, almost 10,000 people, the population of a small town.
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"Today we celebrate more than just a new ship – it's also a celebration of the culmination of more than 50 years of innovation and dreams at Royal Caribbean to create the ultimate vacation experience," Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty said Monday during a ceremony at the jetty.
When it sets sail in late January, the Icon of the Seas will have eight different neighborhoods for travelers to explore, some 40 bars and dining options.
Among them is Thrill Island, which will feature Category 6, the largest floating water park in the world. This neighborhood will also have a ropes course, a thrill ride that will allow guests to swing 47 meters above the ocean, a FlowRider wave simulator, and a mini-golf course.
On the opposite end of the vacation spectrum is Chill Island, which will have four of Icon's seven pools and an adults-only area.
At the AquaDome, visitors will find a 16-meter-high curtain of water and the AquaTheater, which features a cast of robots, skaters, divers and more.
Hideaway is where travelers will find the world's first infinity pool to be suspended in the sea.
And that's just a sample of that.
In terms of sleeping options, guests can choose from 28 different styles of cabins and suites, including the three-level Ultimate Family Townhouse.
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Royal Caribbean says Icon of the Seas is the cruise line's first ship that can run on liquefied natural gas and will have the first waste-to-energy plant at sea.
It was originally scheduled to be delivered in early 2022, but the Covid-19 pandemic led to delays.
According to the cruise line, the Icon of the Seas is now on its way to Cadiz, Spain, to receive some finishing touches before setting sail for its new home in Florida.
Viral photo sparks a stir
Much has been said about the Icon of the Seas in the months leading up to its delivery, proving once again that cruise ships are a topic that elicits contrary opinions, especially when it comes to megaships.
A colorful and extremely detailed image of the Icon's stern went viral in July, and the reaction was far from positive.
It was billed as an "eyesore," a "pile of decay," and one user suggested that a better name would be "disease icon."
But some experts CNN spoke to said this wasn't out of the ordinary.
"Images of Royal Caribbean ships have often elicited strong responses," cruise expert Stewart Chiron told CNN Travel in August when asked about the reaction.
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"The negative responses to the Icon of the Seas are obviously coming from people who don't frequent cruise ships. The current image is quite colorful and shows a ship with a lot of options. The positive responses far outweigh the others."
A spokesperson for Royal Caribbean, when contacted by CNN several months ago, did not comment on responses to this specific image, but said that since the Icon of the Seas was revealed in October 2022 there has been an "incredible reaction," which has led to the highest booking volume week in the company's history when sales opened.
The current holder of the title of "world's largest cruise ship" is another ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet, Wonder of the Seas, which made its maiden voyage in 2022. It's slightly smaller than Icon of the Seas, at 362 meters long and with 18 decks to explore.
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