World's Largest Cruise Ship Icon of the Seas Starts Sea Trials in June

Icon of the Seas trials
The world's largest cruise ship, Icon of the Seas, is due to begin her first sea trials next month (Meyer Turku)

Published May 5, 2023 10:16 PM by The Maritime Executive

Shipbuilder Meyer Turku reports that the world’s largest cruise, the Icon of the Seas under construction in Finland for Royal Caribbean International, is a month away from her sea trials. It will mark a key milestone for the ship that was ordered seven years ago as they undertake the first tests of the ship and its machinery.

Icon of the Seas' sea trials are rapidly approaching! Icon is scheduled to start her sea trials in mid-June,” Meyer Turku announced in social media postings. While the shipyard has begun bringing power on aboard the ship and testing out elements of the plant, it will be the first time the massive cruise ship moves from the dock under her own power.

The new cruise ship is a pioneer for Royal Caribbean International and the cruise industry. At a projected 250,800 gross tons, she will be almost six percent larger in volume than the current largest cruise ship in the world, Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas. In length, she is only 10 feet longer overall, with the larger differences in the propulsion plant. The Icon of the Seas is a dual-fuel LNG-powered cruise ship with six Wärtsilä engines generating a total of 67,500 kW. In addition, she has fuel cells and a heat recovery system as well as air lubrication on the hull.

The LNG plant includes two massive fuel tanks. Each is reported to weigh 307 tons and measure 90 by 26 feet. 

The cruise ship was moved from the dry dock where she was assembled on December 9, 2022. The next key milestone was the start of her power plant in March. The first engine, Chief Engineer Tuomas Auvinen, reported started on March 15 at 1100.  It was done with diesel but he said it illustrated a key moment in the ship’s progress. 

“Sea trials are one of the most important milestones on a ship's road to completion,” says Meyer Turku. “Sea trials are a way to test all the ship's features that cannot be tested while docked, and that every function onboard is working as intended. Sea trials are also used to make sure the noise and vibration levels are where they should be. Icon's early sea trials are important to ensure that all the ship's main equipment such as propulsion equipment, main engines and power plant, thrusters, and fin stabilizers are working as they should.”

Icon of the Seas will undertake a second stage of sea trials later in her construction closer to the delivery date toward the end of 2023. She is due for previews and then to enter service in January 2024 operating 7-day cruises to the Caribbean from PortMiami.

The first steel cut was already undertaken on February 14 for the second Icon class cruise ship. She is due for delivery in 2025 and will be followed by a third ship of the class in 2026.