Icon’s Captain Henrik Shares The Top Things to Do on The New Ship

The world's best family vacation debuts January 2024, with everything from the largest waterpark at sea to seven pools—one for every day of the week.
by 2088

In January 2024, Icon of the Seas debuts in Miami as the first-time combination of the best of every vacation.

Credit: Royal Caribbean

Imagine a getaway that combines the best of every vacation. Think: The beach retreat, the resort escape, the theme park adventure and more—all in one getaway. Enter Icon of the Seas. For the first time, adults and kids alike, as well as all types of travelers—whether you prefer thrill or chill—will have ways to make memories together and on their own terms.

And with a new ship comes a new captain: Meet Captain Henrik Loy. Born and raised in Bergen, Norway, this captain has had a taste for life at sea for as long as he can remember.

“Bergen is a popular cruise destination and also the gateway to the Norwegian fjords,” he said. “I was always fascinated by ships and decided to become a seafarer. I started out as a cadet and moved up through the ranks on many different ships all over the world.”

Henrik joined Royal Caribbean more than 25 years ago in 1997. While it may seem like he’s seen and done it all, he’s about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime when he takes the wheel and sets course for the Caribbean from Miami in January 2024.

Ahead of setting sail next year, Captain Henrik shared the firsts and favorites he’s looking forward to experiencing on Icon, as well as tips on where to start when you join him and the team on board:

Captain Henrik Loy marks more than 25 years at Royal Caribbean as the first captain of the cruise line’s brand-new ship.

Credit: Royal Caribbean

Icon of the Seas is a completely new class of ship with many new features and innovations,” Henrik said. “I am working hard to learn it all.” However, he’s anything but fazed by the challenge: “I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, and at the summit, I thought, ‘If I can do this, I can do anything.'”

In fact, Captain Henrik’s been visiting Icon while it’s under construction in the Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland. He’s been working with the team on the ground to see that inspections, training, tests and prep for key moments in the construction process go smoothly. One such key moment that’s coming up is sea trials. That’s when a ship, Icon in this case, is pushed to its limits in a series of performance tests that include the engines, navigation systems, propulsion and more.


Icon features eight signature neighborhoods, like The Hideaway and Thrill Island. Each one’s home to a lineup of restaurants, bars, entertainment and activities.

Credit: Royal Caribbean

When Henrik says he’s working hard to learn it all, he means never-before-seen experiences, reimagined favorites and new features like the liquefied natural gas (aka LNG, the cleanest-burning marine fuel to date) tanks on the ship.

There’s a lot to cover between the new adventures and engineering feats. The best part is that whatever your travel style and personality, you have ways to make the most of your vacation thanks to eight signature neighborhoods. And by neighborhoods, we’re talking destinations in and of themselves that each feature your choice of restaurants, entertainment and activities, bars, shopping and more.


Find a pool for every mood and day of the week on Icon, including the largest pool at sea and the first suspended infinity pool at sea.

Credit: Royal Caribbean

Are you a thrill-seeker? Look no further than adventures like six record-breaking waterslides, rock climbing and the FlowRider surf simulator to start. Or if you’re all about kicking back, there’s a slice of paradise for you across seven pools—that’s one for every day of the week—including the largest pool at sea and the ultimate beach club experience with the first suspended infinity pool on a cruise ship at The Hideaway.

From Thrill Island to Chill Island to the first neighborhood designed for young families from end to end (more on that later), the variety of neighborhoods on Icon is matched with just as many flavors at more than 40 spots to dine and drink. That includes 15 bars and entertainment venues where you can have your best day ever and the best night ever, too.


A next-level AquaTheater and 55-foot-tall waterfall are at the center of the first AquaDome, a transformational neighborhood that sits at the top of the new ship.

Credit: Royal Caribbean

“I am honored and excited to be the captain of Icon of the Seas,” Henrik said, adding that he’s most looking forward to the AquaDome, Thrill Island and Surfside neighborhoods.

Surfside is Royal Caribbean’s first neighborhood made for young families. There are the sprawling Splashaway Bay and Baby Bay aquaparks for little ones to have fun with slides, spray fountains and a massive drench bucket, all while the adults keep an eye on them from the Water’s Edge pool. Staying dry is just as exciting with a beach-themed carousel, an arcade with more than 30 new and retro games, and activities like family festivals. And when it’s time to recharge between adventures, have your pick of places where every member of the family can grab a bite and a drink, including the new Surfside Eatery buffet, a convenient pick-up window at Surfside Bites and even a bar with menus for adults and kids called The Lemon Post.

You could literally spend all day in Surfside, too, because there are new family staterooms and suites, like the three-story Ultimate Family Townhouse and the Surfside Family Suites, nestled right in the neighborhood.


Do you have what it takes to brave the adrenaline-pumping Crown’s Edge 154 feet above the ocean?

Credit: Royal Caribbean

You’ll find the biggest thrills at Thrill Island, a lost island adventure and brand-new neighborhood where Category 6—the largest waterpark at sea—awaits with the tallest, fastest and longest slides like the first family raft slides on a cruise ship. For the bravest, there’s Crown’s Edge, an experience that’s part skywalk, part ropes course, part thrill ride 154 feet above the ocean. Thrill Island is also home to returning favorites that have been reimagined, including the Adrenaline Peak rock climbing wall and the Lost Dunes mini-golf course.

With so much thrill also comes plenty of ways to chill, like at Chill Island and Henrik’s top pick, the AquaDome. Perched at the top of Icon is the new AquaDome, which Henrik describes as “spectacular.” By day, the transformational neighborhood is a tranquil oasis with 220-degree ocean views. At night is when it all transforms into a vibrant hot spot that comes alive with restaurants, bars and jaw-dropping entertainment. Here, you’ll catch shows at the next-level AquaTheater that combines artistry and cutting-edge technology with aerialists, acrobats, high divers, state-of-the-art projection and more. And did we mention the 55-foot-tall waterfall that towers over it all?


The Hideaway—which has beach club vibes—is home to uninterrupted ocean views as well as the first suspended infinity pool at sea.

Credit: Royal Caribbean

No doubt, the unforgettable experiences you can have while sailing from one destination to the next is a big part of what makes a cruise the vacation of a lifetime. Henrik’s tip to make it the best getaway yet? “Do your research, don’t pack too much and make the most of every minute.”

The adventures you can experience on a cruise aboard Icon include the tropical destinations you’ll visit, too. While Henrik has been around the world, he says that with Icon he’s most looking forward to visiting St. Maarten, a historic hotspot in the Caribbean that’s governed by two countries, France and The Netherlands; and Cozumel, a stunning Mexican island off the Yucatan Peninsula.


More than 120 acres of thrill and chill is what’s in store on Royal Caribbean’s private island destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Credit: Royal Caribbean

Of course, he also can’t wait to spend time on Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island destination in The Bahamas. You’ll find all kinds of things to do there, like plunging down 13 waterslides—including Daredevil’s Peak, the tallest in North America, or kicking back on miles of white sand beaches and at laidback spots like the first overwater cabanas in The Bahamas. Henrik says Perfect Day is “an incredible last day for everyone to enjoy.”

When Icon debuts in just under a year, Henrik is most excited about getting to deliver thousands of iconic vacations to families, thrill-seekers, chill enthusiasts, couples and groups of friends.

“My job is very fulfilling,” he said. “I make use of my passion and talent while delivering exceptional cruise vacations to our guests and get to work with incredible crew members from all over the world.”


Are you ready for the Icon of vacations? Head here to see where Icon is headed and all the experiences you have in store.