Vacation Ideas For Families: Book A Cruise Onboard Icon Of The Seas

Your Family-Friendly Guide To Icon Of The Seas

By Amanda Mesa | Published on May 30, 2023

If you've been racking your brain over vacation ideas for families, you can stop now. In 2024, the largest cruise ship in the world will hit the open ocean. Icon of the Seas is a true game-changer. It's home to a slew of firsts, including record-breaking waterslides, rides and other family-friendly attractions. Never-before-seen culinary concepts are sure to please discerning foodies and even the pickiest eaters, and seven pools are designed to level up every sun-soaked sea day. With eight sprawling neighborhoods with their own unique vibes, there's something for everyone onboard Icon of the Seas.

If you're searching for "family vacation ideas in Florida," consider booking a cruise on Icon of the Seas, currently offering sailings traveling out of Florida to the eastern Caribbean, western Caribbean and the Bahamas.

This expert guide to all things Icon of the Seas will give you a glimpse into each of the ship's neighborhoods, highlighting things to do on your family vacation.

Thrill Island

For daredevils and adrenaline-chasers, there's nothing like Thrill Island. One of the most anticipated neighborhoods onboard Icon of the Seas, it's home to Category 6 — the largest water park at sea with six record-breaking slides. This includes the Frightening Bolt, the tallest drop waterslide at sea; the Pressure Drop, the first open free-fall slide at sea; Storm Chasers, the first mat-racing duo ever to sail; and the Hurricane Hunter and Storm Surge, two new raft slides built to be enjoyed by the whole family. Thrill Island is also home to Adrenaline Peak, a reimagined version of the iconic Royal Caribbean rock-climbing wall that takes vertical adventure to new heights — literally. It's the cruise line's highest vantage point yet, peppered with challenging crags and designed with racing lanes and multiple difficulty levels, so you can put your climbing skills to the test.

Craving more thrilling experiences? Crown's Edge is calling your name. This exhilarating attraction is unlike anything else on a cruise ship — brave guests strap into a suit and harness, step out onto a walkway that hovers over the edge of the ship and embark on a hair-raising skywalk-meets-rope course. The floor can collapse at any moment, leaving you dangling over the crashing waves. For something a little more grounded — yet just as fun — there's Lost Dunes, a nine-hole mini golf course with lots of shipwreck-themed obstacles, a sports court where you can shoot some hoops or join a volleyball match and the iconic FlowRider Surf Simulator, where you can carve waves like a pro all day, every day. Once you've worked up an appetite, grab some beach day-inspired bites at Pier 7 or indulge in a homespun, over-the-top milkshake at Desserted.

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Set sail on the family-friendly Icon of the Seas.

Chill Island

If laid-back vibes are your vacation language, Chill Island is made for you. This sun-soaked neighborhood onboard Icon of the Seas is home to most of the ship's seven sprawling pools and is perfect for families with teens and older children. Adults can float in Cloud 17, a brand new open-air retreat that offers prime ocean views, a secluded pool, a cantilevered whirlpool and private access to The Lime & Coconut bar — all set to the soothing soundtrack of live Caribbean music. There's also The Cove Pool, another low-key hideaway with a disappearing edge that offers even more dazzling sea views. Grab a comfy domed daybed and chill out in the shade, or soak up the sunshine poolside while enjoying frozen cocktails from The Lime and Coconut.

Hands down the most unique spot on Chill Island is the Royal Bay Pool. With over 40,000 gallons of water, it's the largest pool at sea, and it offers plenty of room to unwind or live it up. Think lots of in-water loungers, an abundance of deckside chaise seating and raised whirlpools that offer elevated views of the ocean and all the action on deck. If you're craving a drink, head to Swim & Tonic, the first swim-up bar in the Royal Caribbean fleet with its own dedicated pool scene and more hot tubs to relax in. Or visit the cruise line's biggest Lime and Coconut ever — it's home to four bars, including a frozen cocktail bar, and features nonstop live music from musicians and DJs.


When it comes to epic vacation ideas for families, the Surfside neighborhood onboard Icon of the Seas checks all the boxes. The first-ever neighborhood by the cruise line designed specifically for young families, Surfside is home to all kinds of ways to make a splash and level up playtime. Little ones can get drenched at the sprawling Splashaway Bay aqua park, a fan-favorite activity that offers interactive water features like spray fountains, drench buckets galore, mini slides and more for kids and their supervising parents. The cruise ship is also home to Baby Bay, a water park built for even smaller cruisers. And for poolside family bonding, there's Water's Edge pool, where the views of the ocean are literally infinite, and you'll find plenty of room to unwind on one of its many islands.

Additionally, Surfside is home to the retro arcade, where kids and parents can enjoy hours of fun beneath the glowing neon lights as they level up in classic favorites, modern hits and team-style games like air hockey. A beautiful, beach-themed carousel within the neighborhood doubles as a fun ride and a one-of-a-kind photo opp, while the climbable Playscape provides the perfect setting for kids' imaginations to soar.

Surfside also boasts the award-winning Adventure Ocean youth program, where kids can enjoy hours of supervised fun while parents indulge in a little grown-up time. And Social 020, an ultra-cool hangout spot designed exclusively for teens. In between fun activities, the whole family can fuel up at several nearby dining options, including Surfside Bites and Surfside Eatery, Basecamp and The Lemon Post — a bar that serves up tasty cocktails for parents and mocktails for kids.

When cruising with extended family, one of the best large family vacation ideas is to splurge on a stay at Surfside's Ultimate Family Townhouse. Spanning three levels, it has an in-suite slide, movie theater and a private patio with a private entrance to the Surfside neighborhood.

The largest cruise ship in the world, Icon of the Seas is a true game-changer.

The Hideaway

On Deck 15, you'll find the Hideaway, a new-to-brand neighborhood that's buzzing with beach club beats and chic, coastal vibes. It's home to the only suspended infinity pool at sea, an engineering marvel designed with disappearing edges and perched right in the center of the neighborhood, eight stories up. Suffice it to say, the 180-degree views of the surrounding ocean are downright dazzling — especially at sunset. The Hideaway also has its own resident DJ, who's skilled at serving up all the right tunes to whisk you away to Tulum or Mykonos. You'll find ample room to soak it all in and snap up some wow-worthy photos, too, thanks to plenty of plush, full-sized daybeds surrounded by water.


Jaw-dropping entertainment gets a new, revolutionary stage onboard Icon of the Seas. It's called the AquaDome, and it's the most immersive venue. AquaDome levels up dazzling displays and show-stopping spectaculars with stunning screens, next-gen robotics and a dynamic waterfall. Perched at the crown of the ship, this enclosed reimagining of the iconic AquaTheater transforms lounging and dining into a full-sensory phenomenon with wraparound ocean views by day, then hosts boundary-pushing performances after dark where world-class athletes pull off superhuman stunts. It's without a doubt one of the coolest, most unique feats onboard Icon of the Seas, and a must for any family cruise vacation.

Royal Promenade

The Royal Promenade is a fleetwide favorite that longtime Royal Caribbean cruisers should find familiar when sailing onboard Icon of the Seas. It bustles with shops and eateries and hosts impromptu parades and themed parties throughout every sailing, but onboard Icon of the Seas, it also introduces a totally new venue — Absolute Zero. This immersive ice arena is the biggest ever, complete with high-resolution digital projections from ceiling to rink. This incredible new design ensures every seat in the house enjoys prime views of the show-stopping ice shows that take place here. Catch every double-axel, spin and ice-carving whirl as talented figure skaters play out mesmerizing original productions. What's more, during the day families can lace up and hit the rink themselves.

Central Park

All of the variety that Icon of the Seas has to offer makes it one of the best cruise vacations for families — it's like visiting a major city. Like a major city, Icon of the Seas also has a Central Park! This leafy, open-air neighborhood is another staple located at the heart of every Oasis Class ship, and Icon of the Seas takes it to another level with the biggest, boldest one ever. Over 13,000 tropical plants and trees grow along the neighborhood's serene, winding pathways, while four living walls tower five decks high and serve as a beautiful backdrop for family photos. Stop by one of the neighborhood's breezy bars and walk-up windows for tasty brews, wines, cocktails and bites, or make a reservation at several elegant fine-dining restaurants perfect for dialing up date night and special-occasion dinners. Need a little retail therapy? Pop in and out of Central Park's upscale shops and treat yourself to top-of-the-line apparel, accessories and souvenirs by big-name designers.

Suites Neighborhood

When searching "family vacation ideas near me," let Icon of the Seas make you feel right at home. Icon of the Seas has the largest-ever Suites Neighborhood, open exclusively to Star and Sky Suite guests. It's home to The Grove Suite Sun Deck, an elevated pool deck that turns every moment into a VIP experience. Perched high above the Suite Neighborhood, The Grove sun deck offers awe-inspiring ocean views across two decks, a private pool and whirlpool, and swinging day beds. There's a bar nearby, too, where talented mixologists keep the libations going strong, as well as top-notch Mediterranean mezes at The Grove and fresh seasonal fare at Coastal Kitchen. Craving the perfect nightcap? Head to the Suite Lounge for delicious cocktails paired with tasty bites and jaw-dropping views into the AquaDome.

Written By

Amanda has written for Royal Caribbean since 2017. She also covers travel, lifestyle, food and beverage for Indulge Magazine, the Miami Herald and PureWow. She's traveled extensively around the world, enjoys building unforgettable itineraries and loves introducing readers to lesser-known destinations. 

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