Port Canaveral head says it's getting Royal Caribbean's next new world's largest cruise ship

Richard Tribou, Orlando Sentinel on

Published in Business News

With less than two months before the world’s largest cruise ship Icon of the Seas debuts in Miami, the CEO of Port Canaveral confirmed Royal Caribbean will be sending sister ship Star of the Seas to Central Florida when it debuts in 2025.

In an email statement, Capt. John Murray reacted to news of the ship’s homeport assignment, although Royal Caribbean has yet to make an official announcement. The news was originally posted to the Royal Caribbean Blog website run by Matt Hochburg, not affiliated with the cruise line.

“This is tremendous news, and we are very proud to be the homeport for this remarkable new ship. Star of the Seas will add even more excitement to the Royal Caribbean fleet that calls Port Canaveral home,” he stated. “We’re looking forward to her arrival in 2025 and will be ready to welcome her and the many cruise guests who will enjoy all that she has to offer.”

The port also posted to social media celebrating the news noting bookings for the ship’s itineraries will open next week, and Royal Caribbean’s website states they open Wednesday.

Port Canaveral is already home to the latest Oasis-class ship Wonder of the Seas while also recently welcoming Allure of the Seas, one of the older Oasis-class vessels, and in line to get the newest Oasis-class ship Utopia of the Seas when it debuts in 2024.

The five, soon-to-be six, Oasis-class ships are now the second largest behind Icon of the Seas, which was delivered to Royal Caribbean this week at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland. Star of the Seas remains under construction there.

While Icon of the Seas is headed to Miami, Port Canaveral is the only other port in the state hosting ships that use liquefied natural gas for fuel including Disney Wish, Carnival’s Mardi Gras and next year’s Utopia of the Seas. Icon-class ships also use LNG.

Royal Caribbean earlier announced Star of the Seas will begin sailing in summer 2025 saying it would include class-specific features “from the beach retreat to the resort escape and the theme park adventure – the lineup of new experiences and favorites on Star will set the stage for even more ways for every type of family and adventurer to make memories without compromise.”


The class features 20 decks and comes in at 250,800 gross tons at 1,198 feet long. In comparison Wonder of the Seas, which is now the second largest, comes in at 235,600 gross tons and 1,188-foot-length. Icon of the Seas actually has less passenger capacity based on double occupancy — 5,610 compared to Wonder’s 5,734. The size of the rooms among 28 categories, and the expected growth of family traveling, though, means Icon of the Seas’ maximum capacity of 7,600 exceeds Wonder’s 7,084.

Icon of the Seas will make its transatlantic voyage to Florida on Dec. 23 ahead of a series of preview sailings in January and its first sailing with normal customers beginning Jan. 28, 2024,

A third Icon class ship is due in 2026.

“The idea of combining the best of every type of vacation into one ultimate adventure has created more excitement than ever anticipated, and Star of the Seas will be the next bold answer to the record-breaking consumer demand we’ve seen for nearly a year and counting with Icon of the Seas,” said Royal Caribbean President and CEO Michael Bayley in an October press release.

The ship will also be set up with shore power connections, meaning it doesn’t have to burn fuel while in port, another effort among cruise lines to reduce their carbon footprint, and part of Royal’s goal of reaching a net zero cruise ship by 2035.

Star of the Seas will follow Icon’s footprint, which features a six-slide waterpark, seven pools, the new Surfside family neighborhood at the aft of the ship, and the massive glass dome that makes up the new AquaDome neighborhood at the top of the ship.

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