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Icon of the Seas: World’s largest cruise ship embarks on maiden voyage

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The Royal Caribbean’s colossal cruise ship, Icon of the Seas, has set sail on its seven-day maiden voyage from Port Miami, marking a significant moment in maritime history.

With a length of nearly 1,200 feet and 20 decks, the $2 billion vessel accommodates a staggering 7,600 passengers, nearly the population of a small city, accompanied by 2,350 crew members.

The cruise ship, touted as the world’s largest, is equipped with luxurious amenities, including a 55-foot artificial waterfall, 40 dining venues and bars, seven swimming pools (including a 40,000-gallon ‘lake’), and entertainment options ranging from 50 musicians and comedians to a 16-piece orchestra.

The Icon of the Seas boasts eco-friendly features, powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), claiming to be 24 percent more efficient in carbon emissions than required by the International Maritime Organization.

World’s largest cruise ship

Despite its grandeur, environmental concerns loom over the use of LNG as a marine fuel.

Critics argue that the ship poses risks for methane emissions, as LNG-fueled engines may leak methane into the atmosphere during combustion, contributing to climate change.

The International Council of Clean Transportation (ICCT) suggests that using LNG as a marine fuel emits over 120% more life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions than marine gas oil.

Research funded by the ICCT reveals that cruise ship engines, including those on the Icon of the Seas, have an estimated methane slip of 6.4 percent on average, higher than the International Maritime Organization’s assumption of 3.5 percent.

Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is the second-largest contributor to climate warming after carbon dioxide.

Despite environmental concerns, the Icon of the Seas is set to embark on Caribbean voyages throughout the year from Miami, with itineraries featuring idyllic destinations and stops at the award-winning private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay in The Bahamas.

World’s largest cruise ship

The cruise ship was officially christened on Tuesday, with soccer icon Lionel Messi and his Inter Miami teammates participating in the traditional breaking of a champagne bottle against the ship’s bow.

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While Messi expressed it as a privilege, critics argue that the vessel’s environmental impact raises questions about the industry’s commitment to sustainability amid the global push for greener practices.


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