A keel-laying ceremony marks the start of physical construction of Icon of the Seas. (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)
Physical construction is officially underway on Royal Caribbean International’s 5,000-passenger Icon of the Seas, the first of a new class of ships scheduled to debut in fall 2023.
A keel-laying ceremony took place at Finnish shipyard Meyer Turku to officially mark the start of the physical construction, with Royal Caribbean and Meyer Turku senior executives and teams attending.
The keel laying, a longstanding maritime tradition, involved a 3,000-ton crane lifting a massive steel block into the new ship’s building dock on top of freshly minted coins, which represent the shipyard and cruise line. The coins are meant to bring luck during construction, and they will be retrieved and given to Icon’s captain and crew before setting sail.
“Five years ago, we began dreaming of Icon of the Seas, and now the next phase of this iconic adventure is beginning,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “As this game-changing ship takes shape, the excitement from families and travelers alike, travel advisors and our partners continues to build. Later this year, we’ll reveal the lineup of firsts and favorites that will set a new standard for vacations come fall 2023.”
Attending the ceremony were Jason Liberty, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group; Richard Fain, chairman, Royal Caribbean Group; Meyer Group Managing Partner Bernard Meyer; and Meyer Turku CEO Tim Meyer.
The 200,000-gross-ton Icon will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), said to be the cleanest fossil fuel available to cruise ships today. The LNG will be combined with proven applications – such as shore power connection and waste heat recovery systems that repurpose excess energy – as the next step in Royal Caribbean’s efforts toward a clean-energy future.
Meyer also has orders for two more in the Icon class – the second ship will be delivered in 2025, and the third will follow in 2026. All three will feature new propulsion technology and the eco-friendly LNG drive system.