Friday, December 1, 2023

World’s largest cruise ship to visit Mexican Caribbean in 2024

The world’s largest cruise ship will make stops in the Mexican Caribbean in 2024, Quintana Roo Governor Mara Lezama confirmed. 

The Icon of the Seas, as the ship from Royal Caribbean International is called, is currently undergoing open water sea trials. Measuring 365 meters (about 1,200 feet) long and weighing 250,800 tons, it will soon steal the title of world’s largest cruise ship from another Royal Caribbean vessel, the Wonder of the Seas.

The port towns of Cozumel, pictured here, and Mahahual saw over 60% of total cruise ship tourism to Mexico in the first quarter of the year. (Wikimedia Commons)

Royal Caribbean International President and Chief Executive Michael Bayley said during a press conference earlier this year that the ship was on track to join the company’s fleet in October 2023. 

The newest ship will hold 5,610 passengers and 2,350 crew members. In addition to seven pools and nine whirlpools, it also features the world’s largest waterpark at sea, complete with six water slides. There are 20 decks, 40 bars and restaurants, and lodging is divided among eight different “neighborhoods.” 

This  is the first Royal Caribbean International cruise ship to be powered by liquefied natural gas and will use fuel cell technology to produce electricity and fresh drinking water onboard. 

Departing from Miami, Florida, the record-breaking vessel will make stops on the island of Cozumel and in Mahahual, a Riviera Maya destination. The route is expected to consolidate Quintana Roo’s status as a world-class cruise ship destination, which saw over 60% of total cruise ship tourism to Mexico in the first quarter of the year. 

Icon of the Seas rendering
A rendering of Icon of the Seas, which will have capacity for over 5,000 passengers. (Mara Lezama/Facebook)

Increased cruise ship traffic has led to controversy in Cozumel, where environmentalists and citizen’s collectives have filed lawsuits that have stalled the construction of a fourth cruise ship pier on the island.

“Receiving the largest cruise ship in the world means more tourism and shared prosperity for our destinations,” Lezama said on her social networks. 

In addition to the Mexican coast, passengers will be able to choose from itineraries that include visits to destinations such as the Caribbean islands of St. Maarten, Saint Kitts and Nevis, the Virgin Islands and the Honduran island of Roatan. 

With reports from La Jornada Maya, El Economista, CNN and Forbes México

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