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$2B Icon of the Seas will not return to Puerto Rico until May 2025

When Royal Caribbean’s $2 billion Icon of the Seas departs to Miami on Jan. 6 from the Port of Ponce, it will not return to Puerto Rico until May 2025, the cruise company confirmed in a blog post.

The massive and newest ship to join Royal Caribbean arrived in Puerto Rico’s southern port on Jan. 2 with about 4,000 crew members, contractors, shoreside teams and yard workers aboard. The 1,200-foot, 250,800 gross-ton vessel docked there after completing a week-long transatlantic journey from Cádiz, Spain, for final touches and inspections before heading to Florida.

“Over the next few days while in Puerto Rico, Icon of the Seas will have to pass some regulatory inspections. Additionally, there will be loading and off-loading of equipment, and yard workers will disembark the ship to return home, with more crew arriving to begin their contracts,” wrote Elizabeth Wright in the blog post.

“When Icon departs Ponce to sail to Miami, it will be over one year until she returns to the island, as San Juan isn’t a scheduled port of call on Eastern Caribbean itineraries until May 2025. The May 3, 2025, cruise also visits St. Maarten and Labadee, Haiti, foregoing a stop at the cruise line’s private island in The Bahamas,” Wright added.

On Jan. 9, Royal Caribbean will host the Icon’s arrival party at 7 a.m. at the Port of Miami, which will be the ship’s North American homeport. The event will be followed by back-to-back, three-night “shakedown cruises” on Jan. 20-23 and Jan. 23-26, where cruise line employees and their families participate and that sometimes double as preview sailings for media and travel agents.

“Icon will host a few shakedown cruises, which can be thought of as a dress rehearsal. While the ship is just about ready, they serve as a time for the crew members to experience what their job will actually be like with guests onboard before welcoming paying customers,” Wright noted in her post.

The ship’s naming ceremony is slated for Jan. 23, when Argentinian soccer player Lionel Messi — who last year joined Inter Miami CF — will take part. The soccer star’s role will consist of “bestowing safekeeping onto the new ship, its crew, and the millions of people who will board in hopes of creating ICONic memories in the years to come.”

“I’m thrilled and honored to join the Royal Caribbean family to celebrate the arrival of the game-changing Icon of the Seas,” Messi said. “Icon is beyond anything else that’s out there for family vacations, with incredible never-before-seen features, all designed for making memories together.”

Icon of the Seas’ maiden voyage is slated for Jan. 27, when it will sail a seven-night Eastern Caribbean itinerary from Miami to Perfect Day at CocoCay, St. Thomas, and St. Kitts & Nevis. The ship will return to Miami on Feb. 3.

“Icon of the Seas’ maiden voyage will signify the ship’s completion, as the ship will be ready for regular service,” the blog confirmed.

The Icon of the Seas was seven years in the making and was delivered to the company in late November.

“Seven years ago, we had an ambitious idea to create the first vacation truly made for every type of family and adventurer,” said Royal Caribbean International CEO Michel Bayley, “Now, it’s in our hands, and in this final stretch, we’ll bring it all to life for the biggest debut in our history in January 2024.”

Icon of the Seas boasts impressive features, including:

  • A Category 6 waterpark with six record-breaking waterslides.
  • An indoor AquaDome for entertainment shows.
  • Chill Island pool deck with a swim-up bar and the largest pool at sea.
  • Surfside, a family-focused neighborhood with kid-friendly restaurants and activities.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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