Kid-ing with Kayla: Icon of the Seas Review
Kid-ing with Kayla: Icon of the seas
Kid-ing with Kayla: We were invited on board Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas from January 20-23 for a preview of this historic ship. I say historic because it is currently the largest cruise on the ocean! It truly is an experience and I’m excited to share what it was like bringing my family. I took my 4-year-old son, my fiancé, his 6-year-old son, my sister, her husband and their two kids ages 2 and 8.
When you pull up to the Miami port, you get a tour of all the other ships leading up to the exclusive Icon of the Seas docking area. It’s extremely exciting to compare the size of the Icon to other ships. You really feel like you’re boarding the best of the best when it comes to cruises. This was by far the easiest onboarding experience of my life. I cannot stress enough how organized everything was and convenient they made it for families with kids. You could do pretty much everything ahead of time on the Royal Caribbean phone app which made for a very fast and easy process. The app doesn’t just make registration and check-in easy, it also helps you navigate the ship and make reservations throughout your stay.
Once on board, you are greeted with friendly faces and blown away by the beautiful sphere that changes colors and has a staircase designed for the perfect family photo. The word “Icon” was spelled out with real roses in front of the sphere for another fun picture opportunity.
Our luggage was already waiting for us once we got to our room. It was so clean and had tons of clever ways to optimize space. Our stateroom overlooked “Surfside” which is an amazing space for families with kids. It had a playground, an arcade, a carousel, a splash pad and kid’s pool as well as unlimited ice cream and child friendly foods like chicken nuggets and fries. The drinks at the bar were in pouches and had gummies in them! The kids went wild for them and they had adult drinks too. We sipped them while we supervised the kids at the pool and felt comfortable doing so since it was packed with life guards on duty. We honestly could have spent the whole three days at Surfside and it would have still been a dream vacation.
Like most cruises, the Icon has unlimited ice cream machines. I believe the kids will be talking about that for the rest of their lives. It also has strategically placed kid slides throughout the ship, swings, little playgrounds for them to climb on. It truly is a child-friendly place.
Later in the day, there was a spectacular fireworks show to welcome guests. The kids watched it while soaking in the hot tub. We didn’t do our regularly scheduled dinner because the children wanted the chicken nuggets at surfside but it also had some other fun options. I ended up eating the meatball subs which were delicious!
Next it was time for some live entertainment! Pete Matthews juggled knives on a unicycle in one theatre. Then we saw one of the most unique shows I’ve ever attended in the aqua dome. This stage was unreal! The lights, the props, the robotic equipment was all so cool. There was water from the ceiling, people flying through the air, diving from unbelievable heights. There were shooting water fountains coming from the stage synchronized to music and the stage would lower and raise throughout the dances to make for a very exciting experience. It truly is something you just have to see for yourself! The kids were screaming, “wow! and “woah!” the whole time.
We ended up staying awake until the balloon drop at midnight. They had live music getting the party ready for the countdown. The kids loved dancing and running through a tunnel created by an excited group of people dancing and having a great time. It was the perfect end to an amazing day.
We woke up and immediately went to the Windjammer buffet for breakfast. It had delicious omelets made to order, freshly sliced ham, all of the breakfast meats, sides and pastries you could think of available to grab. I especially loved the handwashing section as you walked in. Staff sang songs while you entered the buffet encouraging people to wash their hands to avoid spreading germs. The kids even thought it was fun because it was outside of a restroom environment.
After breakfast, we went putt-putting, rock climbing, played basketball, grabbed some Starbucks, and checked out the Ultimate Family Townhouse. While this normally would be offered to a paying customer, it was on display for this preview cruise. It was truly every family’s dream! A spiral slide from the upstairs down to the living room, a hammock overlooking the main floor, bunk beds, a shower that’s big enough to bath an elephant, a large wrap around balcony overlooking the best view on the ship, a private hot tub, a table that doubles as a video gaming system, a theatre, little hideaway spots for the kids, and a Lego wall. It was incredible! If you can afford it, or save up for it, I’m sure you wouldn’t be disappointed!
After the tour, the kids finished their scavenger hunt of different places to travel on the ship and got their reward pins from staff. Next we went to what’s known as thrill island to check out the incredible water slides and the flow rider. I was not able to surf on it for long, but I was proud of myself for getting up at all! My fiancé and I went down the slides but the kids weren’t quite tall enough for them yet. They were so fun and I just couldn’t believe it was on a ship. These felt like large theme park rides.
We got cleaned up and fancy for our dining room dinner. The fact they gave us kids menus and brought out the food for the kids first was so convenient and appreciated. The staff was incredible and waited on our every need or wish.
Next we attended an amazing performance of the Wizard of Oz. The fact the kids sat entertained the whole way through with zero complaints or bathroom breaks is a testament in itself to how wonderful it was. Most of the production was in the air as they used so many opportunities to lift people and props up with cables. I especially liked the tornado scene where the bed was spinning in the tornado while the wicked witch rode her bike in the air next to it!
The adults were really hoping for a little alone time from the kids so we attempted the kids club on board the icon. This was incredibly convenient and I felt so comfortable leaving them with this staff. They asked a lot of good questions, the registration process was thorough and the best part was they handed us a phone so the kids could call if they needed us and we could call to check in! When we returned, the kids confirmed they had a blast playing games and entertained the entire time. They wanted to come back the next day!
We didn’t have time to visit this area but I wanted to let anyone reading know that families and friends can team up to race against the clock and crack the code at the Icon’s Royal Escape Room. There is also laser tag in Absolute Zero, as well as the largest ice-skating arena at sea.
On the third day, we ordered breakfast to the room and quickly got off the ship to spend our perfect day at CocoCay. This private Royal Caribbean island in the Bahamas is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been! The splash pad and kids waterslide was perfect for our 2, 4, 6, and 8 year old children. There was a ropes course for kids, a rock wall in the pool and a wave pool that they played in for hours. The beach was stunning and even had bean bags! The buffets on the island were so delicious and they even had sand strollers available for those with little ones not wanting to walk. There’s a towel station everywhere you turn so you can use your room key to check out dry towels throughout the day. There’s an amazing number of water slides some designed for kids and other for adults or those brave and tall enough to handle it! It felt so safe and exclusive. I really loved this island and would go back again and again!
Back on the ship, I tried Crown’s Edge which was a zip line and ropes experience overlooking the ocean. It was incredible and I highly recommend the view.
We got more ice cream, sat by the hot tub, had some drinks, got ready for dinner, ate, walked the ship and saw Central Park which had a beautiful garden and plants as well as higher end restaurants and shops. I’d say this was one of the classier parts of the ship. It was absolutely stunning!
After playing in the arcade for a bit and some late night pizza, the kids were ready for bed and we needed to pack to leave the next day. I wish we could have had more time on this ship but the time we did have was unforgettable and I’m truly so grateful for the experience! If you’ve followed along this far, feel free to reach out to me on Facebook to learn more about the Icon of the Seas!
For more Kid-ing with Kayla, click here.