My $540-a-night cabin on the world’s largest cruise ship was shockingly small and disappointing


My stateroom was disappointing, and the bathroom was tiny — I’m not sure it would be comfortable for a family.

If you’re assuming the new world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas, must have giant guest cabins, I’m here to give you a reality check.

You’re wrong. So wrong.

Sure, if you’re shelling out over $100,000 a week for the ship’s most expensive Ultimate Family Townhouse suite, you’ll probably find the 2,523-square-foot, three-floor mansion perfectly comfortable.

But if you’re like me — a normie who can’t afford a seven-day vacation that costs more than a luxury car — your stateroom on the behemoth 1,198-foot, 20-deck ship might be smaller than you’d expect.

Royal Caribbean invited me on Icon of the Seas’ complimentary, three-night preview sailing in late January — a week before the ship’s official debut.

I was assigned one of the ocean-view balcony cabins on deck 14, near the spa.

A cool 80% of its 2,805 cabins were designed for families — a sharp increase from previous vessels, Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, told reporters.

The cruise operator is going after multi-generational families. Makes sense — the Icon of the Seas looks like a giant floating amusement park.

But I’m not sure a family of four could peacefully coexist in my balcony cabin.

I can be a picky cruise cynic. But I have a right to be disgruntled by a stateroom bathroom so small, it made a cryotherapy chamber look like a mansion.

Equally disgruntling could be its price: Icon’s ocean-view balcony cabins currently start at $3,787 per person in 2024.

The mega-ship is spending its first year operating weeklong cruises from Miami to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Royal Caribbean’s private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay.

At least the stateroom guarantees great views of the ocean.

Some of the ship’s balcony cabins face the interior, either onto Icon’s plant-filled Central Park or the colorful kid friendly Surfside neighborhood.

Thankfully, my 50-square-foot balcony — a fourth of the size of the cabin’s interior — overlooked the ocean, serving as my meditative reprieve from the chaotic mega-ship.

But when I dragged myself back inside, my ocean breeze-induced peace was quickly replaced with a list of complaints.

Two twin mattresses were pushed together to make the king-sized bed.

Unfortunately for my back pain, the hard ridge that marked where the two beds met made me feel like I was a princess sleeping on a pea.

It didn’t help that the sheets were unusually uncomfortable.

But I’ll pretend my bed’s view of the TV, which included Chromecast, makes up for this.

The hotel room at sea can sleep up to four travelers thanks to the living room’s sofa bed.

“Room” used loosely. Like most cruise cabins, it was just a couch and a desk with a vanity.

Not much to say here: The space wasn’t a standout.

(I’m just saving my breath for all of my gripes with the bathroom.)

I’ve seen some small bathrooms. I live in a New York City apartment, after all.

But the one in my stateroom made my apartment’s box of a bathroom like a palatial retreat fit for a king (of a porcelain throne).

The room couldn’t fit more than one person at a time. It could barely accommodate my bony elbows.

And the amenities fell short. I was hoping for more than a two-in-one body wash and shampoo.

Some hair conditioner would’ve been nice, especially after a few hours at the ship’s chlorine-filled water park and hot tubs.

But I should’ve expected it — I had the same complaint when I sailed on Icon’s predecessor and the previous world’s largest cruise ship, Wonder of the Seas.

Is it too much to ask for bath towels that don’t pill all over your face? I have a skincare routine to upkeep here!

Problems aside, I’ll admit the bathroom carried surprisingly decent storage: three sets of shelves and a deep drawer.

Ample storage should be a priority for any cruising family, especially in a small four-person cabin.

Thankfully, I have minimal complaints in this department.

Small shelves were subtly integrated near the TV, the desk had plenty of drawers, and the closet was, well, a closet.

But I, ever the opinionated, have a bone to pick with the latter.

The wardrobe’s metal bins let out ear-piercing screeches at every move. It was a lazy design decision, and I’m sure some cheap felt pads could’ve saved me a few winces.

In defense of Royal Caribbean, my balcony cabin did come with all the bare essentials.

And I’ll admit I found myself retreating to my stateroom more times than I expected during my three nights on Icon.

The ship was overwhelming. My cabin was not.

But at $540-per-night and per-person, I had hoped for a near-perfect hotel room at sea.

The cost to vacation in Icon’s balcony cabin is comparable to an ultra-luxury cruise ship.

Please, sir, I want some more square footage in the bathroom, towels that don’t shed, a comfortable bed, and maybe even a drop of hair conditioner. (That’s what Oliver Twist said, right?)

However, some traveling families could find this price justifiable.

Cruises are often seen as a reasonable vacation value proposition.

Besides the cabin, the cost to sail on the mega-ship also includes fun nighttime entertainment, half of the ship’s restaurants, and activities like mini-golf.

So think of it this way: You’re not paying $3,790 per person to bicker with your kids about who gets to use the tiny bathroom first.

You’re paying to spend your afternoons flailing around Icon of the Seas’ six-slide water park and indulging in as many hot dogs as your heart desires.

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