Icon of the seas, sea trials

LNG-powered Icon of the Seas kicks off sea trials

Royal Caribbean International’s first LNG-powered cruise vessel, Icon of the Seas, has left the outfitting pier from Meyer Turku shipyard situated in Turku, Finland.

Image credit Royal Caribbean International

Icon of the Seas will be conducting week-long series of sea trials through the picturesque Turku archipelago representing a culmination of the construction works when ship maneuvering and onboard technology are tested in real-life conditions.

 Royal Caribbean International said that this is the first round of sea trials for Icon of the Seas. There are more than 450 specialists on board the vessel who will be carrying out crucial, preliminary tests with Icon’s main engines, hull, lifeboats, thrusters, etc. These tests will be followed by the ship’s second round of sea trials later this year, where it will be pushed to its limits, the cruise major added.

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Icon of the Seas has six Wärtsilä main engines that can use both diesel and natural gas fuel, and the first of them was started using diesel on 15 March at the shipyard, according to Meyer Turku’s social media update.

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The vessel will also feature fuel cell technology, shore power connections, and waste heat recovery systems with the aim of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. The fuel-cell technology is very interesting for the cruise sector as it can be used to power the ship’s hotel functions.

The cruise vessel will also have air lubrication of underwater hull, sending millions of microscopic bubbles along the hull of the ship to reduce friction.

Being 365 meters long, almost 50 meters wide, and with a gross tonnage of approximately 250 000, Icon of the Seas is the first ship in the Icon series out of three on order at Meyer Turku.

The Finnish shipbuilder started construction on the Icon of the Seas in June 2021 and installed an LNG fuel tank in November 2021.

The ship was launched on 9 December 2022 and moved to the outfitting dock.

Before heading off to sea trials the cruise vessel completed its propulsion start on 8 May 2023. The Icon of the Seas’ electric propulsion power is more than 60 megawatts (MW), and a single Azipod propeller system has a power of 20 MW.

In addition, progress has been made both inside and outside of the vessel: the unwrapping of Aquadome has begun, and the ship has received some fresh paint on the hull.

Icon of the Seas will be handed over to the customer at the end of 2023 and will set sail on its first voyage in January 2024. The ship will cruise from Miami year-round in the Eastern and Western Caribbean.

The Finnish shipbuilder started the construction of the second LNG-fueled Icon-class cruise ship for Royal Caribbean on 15 February with a steel-cutting ceremony. The construction of the ship is expected to take two years, ending in 2025. Its name will be revealed at a later date.

The third Icon-class ship is expected to be completed in 2026.