Photo by Jill Weinlein
Cruise travel is having a resurgence with travelers booking trips for 2023 and 2024. According to AAA, 52% of U.S. adults are likely to consider a cruise vacation in 2023. That is up from 45% a year ago.
One of the many benefits of cruising is to experience so many different dining options onboard. Royal Caribbean International is known for its palate-pleasing culinary venues, and the new Icon of the Seas will provide more than 20 new options when it sets sail in January 2024.
The new Empire Supper Club offers an elevated taste with a New York vibe. Guests listen to toe-tapping music from a three-piece band, while indulging in premium American delicacies. The eight-course fine dining menu includes caviar, Wagyu and sparkling drinks paired with each dish.
According to Linken D’Souza, Vice President of Food and Beverage at Royal Caribbean International, “The experiences had over great food are at the heart of so many shared memories that we could all use more of in our day-to-day. We’ve designed Icon of the Seas to offer every guest, no matter their tastes, age and mood or the occasion, a variety of ways they can easily make those moments their way every day while on vacation,” said D’Souzal. “If vacationers want to stick to their favorites, like kids and their chicken tenders, or mix it up every night and try new flavors, more than 20 experiences across Icon’s eight neighborhoods make that possible – without compromise – more than ever.”
Celebration Table rendering Royal Caribbean International
Another elevated passenger pleaser is the Celebration Table, a 12-seat private VIP experience. Guests have the choice of American, Italian, Asian and seafood menu options, plus upgrades and wine pairings while enjoying sweeping ocean views.
Other ocean view dining includes the all-day Windjammer buffet offering an expansive menu of culinary delights from around the world, plus a special section just for young passengers. The main dining rooms offer three-course menus that change daily with window tables looking out to the sea.
Every one of the 8 neighborhoods have a grab a bite and a drink venue. The new AquaDome Market is Royal Caribbean’s first Food Hall featuring five different stalls. Guests can indulge in sweet and savory crepes at Creme de la Crepe, and comforting macaroni and cheese with tasty toppings at Mac’s. Those looking for fresh pita sandwiches and bowls will want to visit Feta Mediterranean. Asian-inspired treats can be found at GNGR offering Korean beef and broccoli.
Giovanni’s – Royal Caribbean Wonder of the Seas – Jill Weinlein
One of the most unique outdoor spaces on some of Royal Caribbean’s cruise ships, is the verdant Central Park gardens. On the Icon of the Seas, guests can indulge in authentic Italian homemade pastas and Old-World-inspired entrees at the newly imagined Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar.
IZUMI Delights – Photo Jill Weinlein
The beloved IZUMI will feature an all-day window next to the first Izumi restaurant in the picturesque Central Park neighborhood. Besides serving up fresh sushi and street food to go, they will have taiyaki ice cream with a twist on toppings.
Chops Grill – Photo Jill Weinlein
Returning favorites include the signature Central Park’s American steakhouse, Chops Grille. The Icon of the Seas will also have Central Park’s Park Cafe open in the afternoon for sandwiches and salads, and in the evenings for tapas.
Over at Chill Island, casual Mexican favorites are available at El Loco Fresh. Sorrento’s makes a variety of signature pizza pies for every day of the week inside the Royal Promenade.
Trellis Bar – Photo Jill Weinlein
Nearby in the garden is Trellis Bar, a serene spot to enjoy a craft cocktail or glass of champagne along with a new shareable bites menu.
Surfside Cafe rendering Royal Caribbean International
Surfside Eatery in the Surfside neighborhood is new and designed for young families staying in the heart of this fun area on the ship. This stay-all-day neighborhood has options for all ages during breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. What makes this cafe different is twists on kids classics for the grownups. Also in this area is Surfside Bites with a walkup window to order burgers, popcorn chicken, and cinnamon-sugar donut holes.
Visit Pier 7 for surf-and-turf tacos, smoked salmon Benedict and shareable platters at this new all-day brunch venue.
Icon of the Seas rendering – Royal Caribbean International
Sandwiches and salads can be discovered at Toast and Garden, and at The Pearl Cafe with its architectural stunning floor-to-ceiling ocean views in the Royal Promenade.
Returning spots include Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade for comfort food, festive drinks and savory bar bites. The ship will also have Sprinkles for soft-serve ice cream in different flavors to enjoy during the day.
Coco Cay – Photo by Jill Weinlein
Starting January 2024, Icon of the Seas will sail 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean vacations from Miami year-round, visiting Royal Caribbean’s award-winning Perfect Day at CocoCay in the Bahamas, as well as Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Cozumel, Mexico; and Roatan, Honduras.