The Allure of Sailing on the Icon of the Seas

Jill Weinlein

Now that the $125 million Royal Caribbean cruise terminal is open in Galveston, Texas, the Allure of the Seas, the second largest cruise ship in the world, according to President & CEO Royal Caribbean International Michael Bayley, made her debut on Nov. 8, 2022, at her new home port.

The Allure of the Seas is an 18-deck Oasis-class ship that is 1,187 feet long and 215 feet wide. She can cruise with a total of 6,780 guests and 2,200 international crew members. Royal Caribbean International had to build this cruise terminal in Galveston to manage a cruise ship of this scale.

“We are thrilled to take family vacations to a whole new level in Texas. Our new, 161,334-square-foot terminal opens up a world of vacation possibilities for families in the Southwest,” said Bayley.

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The $125 million cruise facility is bold and innovative in its sustainable design, featuring the first LEED Zero Energy facility in the world. It generates clean energy 100% of the time through 30,000 square feet of onsite photovoltaic solar panels. This enables the port's self-sufficient energy usage. Any remaining energy not used by the terminal will be sent to the local power grid. Carbon emissions are being offset through the purchase of carbon credits.

From the start, the design strategies used to develop the terminal were aligned with parent company Royal Caribbean Group’s wholistic environmental goals, its focus to advance the development of sustainable infrastructure as well as its decarbonization strategy – Destination Net Zero.

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There are 2,742 well appointed staterooms and suites, 1,796 of which have a balcony. 711 of the staterooms can accommodate three and four guests, and 46 are accessible cabins.

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What cruisers appreciate on the Allure of the Seas are the seven signature neighborhoods, including the open-air Central Park offering thousands of real plants and flowers blooming. Many cruise cabins overlook this serene area through a picture window or from the balcony. They can hear the birds tweet, listen to a live acoustic guitarist and watch the three gardeners maintain the park daily. Passengers enjoy the complimentary Park Cafe' for a casual meal of soup, salad, and panini sandwiches.

Many of the specialty restaurants are located in this neighborhood too. In Central Park, there is the upscale family-style Italian Giovanni’s Table preparing fresh pasta, eggplant parmigiana, calamari, and Caprese salad.

Perfectly grilled proteins and delicious side dishes are on the menu at American steakhouse Chops Grille, and fresh sushi and sizzling hibachi are at Izumi.

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Other entertaining areas include a 9-story-high zip-line and nearby two FlowRider surf simulators. There is ice skating with performers spinning, jumping and twirling to original productions and guests are able to try and replicate these easier to watch than do moves and ice routines.

The ship does have a full casino, indoor theater, comedy club and karaoke bar. Guests can select from an array of wellness services at the Spa that includes facials, massage and teeth whitening.

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With 30-plus restaurants, bars and lounges on board, passengers have an array of international options to choose from during their cruise. A new concept is El Loco Fresh at the Wipeout Cafe, fitting for the ship’s new home in Texas. This Mexican venue offers grab-and-go quesadillas, tacos, nachos and guacamole. Take it back to your cabin to watch a sunset.

Along the Royal Promenade, guests can enjoy a complimentary slice of pizza at Sorrento's or take one of the 24 elevators up to Windjammer for an array of International delights discovered among buffet stations and tables with ocean views.

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Towards the Aft of the ship is the Boardwalk neighborhood filled a fun arcade, and a carousel to ride. Treats include an ice cream and donut shop, plus a Johnny Rocket's Diner and hot dogs at Boardwalk Dog House.

At the very back is the one-of-a-kind AquaTheater entertainment venue where high divers, acrobats, aerialists and dancers perform. Special musical artists such as Kelsea Ballerini have performed at this outdoor concert venue. Above the AquaTheater is the rock climbing wall overlooking the stern of the ship.

Icon of the Seas

Recently it was announced that Royal Caribbean International celebrated it's single largest booking day in its 53-year history when reservations opened on October 20, for the cruise line's first Icon class ship, Icon of the Seas. “The enthusiasm and excitement for Icon are undeniable in more ways than one,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “The incredible response we have received from our loyal guests, vacationers new to cruising, crew members and travel partners continues to come in, and this is just the beginning. We can’t wait to share more of what Icon has in store in the coming months.” Due to debut in January, 2024, the ship will be an 'Icon of Vacations'.

The ultimate family vacation features an all-encompassing lineup of firsts and next-level favorites across eight neighborhoods, making it the perfect getaway for multi-generational families. Those seeking adrenaline-pumping thrills will enjoy the new Thrill Island, while those looking to chill in neighborhoods will find the new Chill Island an ideal spot. The ship offers 28 room categories that range from standard rooms to luxury suites and new layouts for families of three, four, five, six and more in the four-level Suite Neighborhood.

Icon of the Seas will sail year-round starting in 2024 on 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean vacations from Miami. Every cruise will visit Royal Caribbean’s top-rated private island destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay, The Bahamas, and a mix of destinations like Cozumel, Mexico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Basseterre, St. Kitts.

Until the Icon of the Seas sails, the Allure of the Seas is offering one of the best cruise vacations at sea. 

Jill Weinlein

Los Angeles based Jill Weinlein covers travel, food and lifestyle destinations for multiple newspapers, magazines and websites. Her areas of expertise include, luxury travel, culinary reviews, cruising and family travel destinations. Born in Los Angeles, Jill studied Communications and Theatre Arts at UCLA. She has a a Dine and Travel blog - and she writes a weekly restaur...(Read More)

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