1706425988 The world39s largest cruise ship Icon of the Seas sets

The world's largest cruise ship, Icon of the Seas, sets sail from Miami on its maiden voyage as nearly 8,000 passengers prepare to enjoy the 55-foot waterfall, 40 restaurants and SEVEN swimming pools

The world's largest cruise ship began its seven-day maiden voyage from Port Miami – with almost the population of a small town on board.

Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas sets sail today on a seven-day island-hopping voyage to the Caribbean before returning to Miami.

The $2 billion ship measures nearly 1,200 feet (365 meters) from bow to stern and has 20 decks, 2,350 crew members, 2,805 cabins and space for 7,600 passengers.

In addition, the ship features a 55-foot man-made waterfall, 40 restaurants and bars, seven swimming pools including a 40,000-gallon “lake,” 50 musicians and comedians, and a 16-piece orchestra.

The ship is powered by “environmentally friendly liquefied natural gas”. According to Portal, Royal Caribbean said the Icon was 24 percent more efficient in terms of carbon emissions than required by the International Maritime Organization.

Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas set sail today on a seven-day island-hopping voyage to the Caribbean before returning to Miam

Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, said:

Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, said: “We have built the biggest and baddest ship in the world.” “It's really exciting when you introduce a new class of ship, but the most exciting thing is when it's really just right seems to be.”

The $2 billion ship measures nearly 1,200 feet (365 meters) from bow to stern and has 20 decks, 2,350 crew members, 2,805 cabins and space for 7,600 passengers

The $2 billion ship measures nearly 1,200 feet (365 meters) from bow to stern and has 20 decks, 2,350 crew members, 2,805 cabins and space for 7,600 passengers

According to Royal Caribbean, the Icon is 24 percent more efficient in terms of CO2 emissions than required by the International Maritime Organization

According to Royal Caribbean, the Icon is 24 percent more efficient in terms of CO2 emissions than required by the International Maritime Organization

The ship is powered by “environmentally friendly liquefied natural gas”.

The ship is powered by “environmentally friendly liquefied natural gas”.

The ship also features a structural feature designed as a dynamic art installation on its main access route called “The Pearl.”

The ship also features a structural feature designed as a dynamic art installation on its main access route called “The Pearl.”

People are waiting for the cruise ship to start its journey

People are waiting for the cruise ship to start its journey

The cruise ship passes South Pointe Park in Miami Beach, Florida

The cruise ship passes South Pointe Park in Miami Beach, Florida

People film from South Pointe Park as the world's largest cruise ship begins its journey

People film from South Pointe Park as the world's largest cruise ship begins its journey

Royal Caribbean also said that every kilowatt used on the Icon of the Seas “is assessed for energy efficiency and emissions reduction.”

But despite claims that the fuel is better than traditional marine fuel, environmentalists say the ship poses a high risk of methane emissions.

According to the International Council of Clean Transportation, methane emissions from LNG-powered ships contribute to climate change in the form of “methane slip.”

Methane leaks occur when ships like the Icon use low-pressure dual-fuel engines, which tend to release methane into the atmosphere during the combustion process.

Bryan Comer, director of the marine program at ICCT, said: “It's a step in the wrong direction.”

“We would estimate that the use of LNG as a marine fuel produces over 120% more lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than marine gasoil.”

According to a 2024 ICCT-funded study, cruise ship engines have an estimated average methane slip of 6.4 percent, higher than the IMO assumption of 3.5 percent.

The Icon of the Seas begins its maiden voyage from the Port of Miami in Miami, Florida

The Icon of the Seas begins its maiden voyage from the Port of Miami in Miami, Florida

People film and wave to the ship's passengers from South Pointe Park

People film and wave to the ship's passengers from South Pointe Park

1706425963 496 The world39s largest cruise ship Icon of the Seas sets Passengers relax in the Aquadome area of ​​Icon of the Seas, a dive and event venue under a glass dome on the ship's deck

Passengers relax in the Aquadome area of ​​Icon of the Seas, a dive and event venue under a glass dome on the ship's deck

The Icon of the Seas exits Government Cut past Fisher Island, Florida (right) as she departs Port Miami on her first public cruise

The Icon of the Seas exits Government Cut past Fisher Island, Florida (right) as she departs Port Miami on her first public cruise

An employee walks through the Central Park area of ​​the ship, as it also has its own “family neighborhood” called “Surfside.”

An employee walks through the Central Park area of ​​the ship, as it also has its own “family neighborhood” called “Surfside.”

Despite claims that the fuel is better than traditional marine fuel, environmentalists say the ship poses a high risk of methane emissions

Despite claims that the fuel is better than traditional marine fuel, environmentalists say the ship poses a high risk of methane emissions

1706425971 51 The world39s largest cruise ship Icon of the Seas sets

According to the International Council of Clean Transportation, methane emissions from LNG-powered ships contribute to climate change in the form of “methane slip.”

Lionel Messi will attend the christening of the “Icon of the Seas” in Miami on Tuesday

Lionel Messi will attend the christening of the “Icon of the Seas” in Miami on Tuesday

During a media day preview, water slides are seen on a deck overlooking the floors of rooms aboard the Icon of the Seas

During a media day preview, water slides are seen on a deck overlooking the floors of rooms aboard the Icon of the Seas

Employees and visitors walk in the Royal Promenade area of ​​the Icon of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world

Employees and visitors walk in the Royal Promenade area of ​​the Icon of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world

Fireworks explode as the cruise ship leaves Port Miami

Fireworks explode as the cruise ship leaves Port Miami

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas and the second largest cause of global warming after carbon dioxide, according to NASA's Global Climate Change website.

An estimated 60% of today's methane emissions are the result of human activities.

Those concerns don't appear to be bothering owners, however, as Icon will cruise the Caribbean year-round from Miami, with itineraries including “idyllic destinations” and stops at the “award-winning private island” Perfect Day at CocoCay in the Bahamas .

The ship was officially “christened” by World Cup winner Lionel Messi and his Inter Miami teammates on Tuesday.

Messi headlined the event, placing a soccer ball on a stand to “launch” the traditional slap of a champagne bottle against the ship's bow – something said to bring good luck to the ship and its passengers.

The 36-year-old Argentine later called it a “privilege.”

“It's a great honor for me and I know what it means for the city of Miami and the whole world,” Messi said in Spanish. “So I call this ship Icon of the Seas. 'God bless you and all the people who will sail with her.'

Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, added: “We've built the biggest, baddest ship in the world.” “It's really exciting when you introduce a new class of ship, but it's even more exciting when it's really accurate seems right.”