What We Know About Viral Image of Largest Cruise Ship in the World

The Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas is scheduled to sail from Miami for the first time in January 2024.

Published Jul 12, 2023

 (Twitter user @Dexerto)
Image Via Twitter user @Dexerto

In early July 2023, social media users shared a picture allegedly showing the largest cruise ship in the world.

The image in question was originally published in October 2022 in a Royal Caribbean Blog article about the company's new cruise ship. Although the image was authentically published by the company, it was digitally created for promotional purposes, to show what the ship would look like once construction is complete.


The digitally created version from 2022 (on the right) looked similar to the actual ship, but when we compared it to actual footage from 2023 (on the left), we noticed significant differences. The digitally rendered image, for instance, included full equipment on the ship, various plants, and the Royal Caribbean logo on the front. 

(Instagram user @alexojeda, Twitter user Twitter user @Dexerto)

Moreover, in October 2022, the ship was still under construction, so it would not be possible to capture a picture of it at sea loaded with passengers.

The Royal Caribbean has reported that the Icon of the Seas will sail from Miami beginning on Jan. 27, 2024. Social media users claimed the Icon of the Seas would be the largest cruise ship in the world. Various sources, such as The Maritime Executive and the official Royal Caribbean Blog, have confirmed the truth of that. Currently, the title holder is that same company's Wonder of the Seas ship.

Gross tonnage (GT) is the total cubical capacity or volume of a ship. The Icon of the Seas will have a gross tonnage of 250,800 and will be more than 6% bigger than Wonder of the Seas (235,600t). The new cruise ship will be able to hold up to 7,600 passengers and will offer the world's largest waterpark at sea.

In July 2023 the ship had successfully undergone first sea trials, in Turku, Finland, where it was under construction. "During the key milestone, more than 450 specialists ran four days of preliminary tests on the first Icon Class ship's technical areas, like the main engines, bow and propellers, and even noise and vibration levels," Royal Caribbean Press Center stated

In short, the Icon of the Seas cruise ship is scheduled to set sail in January 2024 and will indeed be the largest cruise ship in the world. However, the image that went viral on social media was digitally created for promotional purposes and did not show the actual ship.

Aleksandra Wrona is a reporting fellow for Snopes, based in the Warsaw area.

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