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Star of the Seas Vs. Icon of the Seas: What's the Difference?

Who will take you by surprise with a mega-ship? Star of the Seas vs Icon of the Seas: romance, adventure, relaxation - find your perfect match!

By Cruise Booking Team

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Star of the Seas and Icon of the Seas are members of the Royal Caribbean's new class of cruise ships, which have the same grandeur and dedication to delivering the ultimate family holiday. Nevertheless, some key differences make these sister ships very different. Being the younger of the two, Star of the Seas presents a gastronomic spectacle with 28 more culinary spaces, outperforming the Icon of the Seas in diversity and options. Between Pier 7 and Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, Star of the Seas has a wide variety of complimentary restaurants and gives guests a great dining experience that cannot be found anywhere else. With 100% more dining options, the Star of the Seas is a food lover's heaven, taking the onboard culinary experience to another level.

Although both ships offer excellent pool and leisure facilities, the Star of the Seas has yet to reveal the details of its pool complex. In contrast, the Icon of the Seas has 7 pools and 9 hot tubs with different access options for adults and some cabin categories. The possible variations in the pool options available for Star of the Seas may impact the passenger's desire for particular relaxation experiences during a cruise. These differences indicate that, although they belong to the same class and have the same layout, the sibling rivalry between Star of the Seas and Icon of the Seas shows up in the subtle details targeted at different passenger tastes.

With Royal Caribbean, going on a cruise vacation is a great adventure, making the decision between the two magnificent ships, Star of the Seas and Icon of the Seas, all the more exhilarating. These sisters, born in the mid-twenties, will embody the ultimate family holiday, providing a wide range of amenities, meals, and entertainment. Let's analyze the details to find out what makes the Star of the Seas different from its somewhat older brother, the Icon of the Seas.

Star Power or Icon Status? Your Ultimate Cruise Ship Guide

1. Ship Size and Layout

While the sheer size of these ships is imposing, there is a slight difference in their dimensions. Icon of the Seas is the world's largest cruise ship, with a length of 1,198 feet and a width of 216 feet. Imagine it would be three football fields long, four tractor-trailers wide, and as high as an 18-story building. Star of the Seas, one year younger, is a mirror image of its sister, matching the same class and layout.

In this respect, both ships have a neighborhood layout that disperses the crowds and creates an immersive experience for the passengers. This arrangement guarantees that regardless of the large number of facilities, the cruise journey is spacious so that families can enjoy their time without being overwhelmed by the large number of people.

2. Number of Passengers

When considering double occupancy, the accommodation capacity of these sister ships correlates well, making the ships feel very exclusive to the passengers. The Space Ratio, the ratio between the tonnage of the ship and the number of passengers, is the same between the Icon of the Seas and the Star of the Seas. This thoughtful design ensures that guests can revel in the luxurious surroundings without feeling cramped.

3. Food and Restaurants

Culinary delights are a very integral part of any cruise, and both ships offer a wide array of dining options to suit any taste. Icon of the Seas tempts the taste buds with 28 different dining sites, which include Pier 7, Izumi in the Park, and Windjammer. Of these, 13 are free, and the rest are 15 chargeable.

But the Star of the Seas raises the bar on the culinary experience with 28 more dining venues. It provides various options, from Pier 7 to Izumi Hibachi & Sushi. Remarkably, 26 of these restaurants are entirely free, giving the guests an ample selection of options. 100% more dining options than the Icon of the Seas make the Star of the Seas a food lover's dream.

4. Drinks and Cocktails

As for drinks, both ships serve the Coca-Cola family products to provide a reassuring and thirst-quenching array of soft drinks. Royal Caribbean ships also have Coke Freestyle machines, enabling guests to make more than 100 flavor combinations. A wide variety of bars in the Icon of the Seas and the Star of the Seas adds to the overall beverage experience.

5. Pools and Relaxation

A cruise is only complete with poolside relaxation, and both ships deliver. Icon of the Seas offers 7 pools and 9 hot tubs that accommodate different tastes. It is also worth noting that one pool and one hot tub are for adults only, thus creating a calm retreat from the vibrant environment. Likewise, the Star of the Seas offers a revitalizing experience with its many pools and hot tubs, although the specifics have yet to be revealed.

6. Activities and Entertainment

Icon of the Seas and the Star of the Seas are equipped with numerous activities to ensure the passengers are entertained during the entire trip. The ships provide an adventure and family-friendly thrills to various interests. Interestingly, 80% of the activities on both ships appear in the cruise ticket so that the guests can take full advantage of their vacation without constantly opening their wallets.

7. Cruise Costs and Onboard Expenses

As mass-market cruise ships, Royal Caribbean strives to serve a broad audience, and both the Icon of the Seas and the Star of the Seas fall into the $100 - $350 per person per day price category. However, the variability of the cruise price is due to the departure locations, the ports of call, and the season.

As for the onboard expenses, guests should expect to spend around 25 - 40% of the cruise fare on other amenities like spa services, specialty dining, drinks, and shore excursions. However, it should be noted that these costs make up a part of the cruise experience, enabling the passengers to personalize their holiday according to their needs.

Related: Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships By Age Newest to Oldest


With its boast of being the world's most giant cruise ship, Icon of the Seas promises an epic voyage. Meanwhile, the Star of the Seas, a sister ship born just one year after, takes center stage with its vast dining array.

Ultimately, it is a preference between the most significant ship afloat and the opportunity for unmatched culinary experiences. Regardless of the ship you select, you can be confident that a Royal Caribbean cruise onboard the Icon of the Seas or the Star of the Seas is bound to become a treasured family memory. Bon voyage!

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