The building of Royal Caribbean International's highly anticipated cruise ship, Icon of the Seas, has reached a pivotal milestone ahead of its fall 2023 debut. A keel-laying ceremony took place at Finnish shipyard Meyer Turku to officially mark the start of the revolutionary ship's physical construction, with Royal Caribbean and Meyer Turku senior executives and teams in attendance.
The keel laying, a longstanding maritime tradition, involved a 3,000-ton crane lifting a massive steel block that is placed into the new ship's building dock and 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."
At the ceremony, the working teams behind constructing Icon were joined by 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.
Icon will set sail next year with the latest innovations and signature features Royal Caribbean's teams have imagined and reimagined in bold, new ways, including a shift toward cleaner energy. The first of three Royal Caribbean ships will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) – the cleanest fossil fuel available to cruise ships today. Combining LNG with a lineup of the cruise line's proven applications, such as shore power connection and waste heat recovery systems that repurpose excess energy to help power the ship's operations, Icon will be the next important step in Royal Caribbean's journey toward a clean-energy future.