A vessel set to be the world’s largest cruise ship has been undergoing construction since April 2021. Now, its construction at a Finland shipyard is complete.
Icon of the Seas, the vessel set to be the world’s largest ship, has completed a series of sea trials ahead of its 2024 world debut.
The ship will replace the current title holder of the world’s largest ship – Wonder of the Seas – which is a mere 1,188 ft smaller in length.
Ahead of the introduction of the vessel to the world, we thought we would take a compare-and-contrast look at the Titanic vs. the world’s largest ship in 2024.
Titanic vs. the world’s largest ship in 2024 – a compare and contrast look
At the time of its inception, the Titanic was the largest ship ever built. However, with over a century of technological advancements and innovation between then and now, today’s cruise giants would blow the Titanic out of the water (no pun intended).
Icon of the Seas, the world’s largest ship, is a colossal vessel constructed for Royal Caribbean International.
Having undergone its first set of sea trials on 19 June this year, the vessel is set to become the flagship of the Icon class.
Operations are expected to begin in early 2024, departing from the bustling Port of Miami. There are a lot of contrasts between Icon of the Seas and the Titanic, but there are also some interesting comparisons to explore.
Size – The Titanic vs Icon of the Seas
The Titanic had an overall length of 882.75 ft (269.1 m), a breadth of 92.5 ft (28.2 m), and a depth of 59.6 ft (18.2 m) and weighed 52,310 tons.
With a passenger capacity of 2,453, plus approximately 900 crew, it was the largest ship afloat at the time it set sail in 1912.
The Titanic had ten decks which all served different purposes. Now, in comparison, Icon of the Seas is much, much bigger.
To begin, Icon of the Seas weighs in at a whopping gross tonnage of 250,800. The cruise ship has an overall length of 1,198 ft (365.1 m) and a breadth of 213 ft (65 m). Compared to the Titanic’s ten decks, this one has 20.
In comparison to passenger capacity, Icon of the Seas can hold 5,610 passengers and 2,350 crew, with a maximum capacity of 7,600 passengers.
Purpose – safe passage vs luxury holiday
When it comes to the purpose of the Titanic compared to Icon of the Seas, there is a huge difference. The primary purpose of the Titanic was to transport people, mail, and cargo from one continent to another.
It was, however, intended to be a luxury liner that would provide guests with comfortable and elegant passage across the Atlantic. And, it was a more luxurious liner in comparison to others, even the third-class cabins.
Of course, the big difference here is that Icon of the Seas is not merely a vessel intended to cart people from one destination to the next.
Home to the world’s largest water park at sea, the largest pool at sea, and various ‘neighbourhoods’ throughout the vessel, Icon of the Seas will make stops in the Bahamas, Mexico, and Honduras, to name a few.
While the intention and purpose of the ships are very different, there is one very important similarity between the two. Today, people are constantly competing to create the biggest and the best, but this is no new idea.
The Titanic, while built to transport people and goods, was also built to compete with other ocean liners, Lusitania and Mauretania, just like her sister ships, Olympic and Britannic.
Similarly, Icon of the Seas has become the world’s largest ship just one year after its predecessor, Wonder of the Seas, made its maiden voyage. We wonder how long Icon of the Seas will hold the prestigious title.
Onboard facilities – how the times have changed
While there is over a century of difference between the Titanic and Icon of the Seas, the Titanic was a luxury liner that had a number of sought-after facilities on board.
These included a gym with a rowing machine, exercise bikes, an electric horse, and an electric camel. Plus, it was the first ship to come with a heated swimming pool (exclusively for the use of first-class passengers, of course).
Plus, men and women could not use the pool at the same time. There was also a Turkish bath, a squash court, a barber, and a private massage room for these passengers, too. Shockingly, for third-class passengers, there were just two bathtubs to share.
When it comes to facilities on board Icon of the Seas, guests can enjoy rock climbing, laser tag, mini-golf, and seven swimming pools, one of which is equipped with a swim-up bar.
What is the difference in these facilities compared to the Titanic? Well, all passengers of the vessel are permitted to use them, of course.
While the Titanic had four restaurants that were also separated by class, Icon of the Seas has 15 restaurants plus other bars and lounges available too.
Construction & safety – the Titanic
After the design was approved by Bruce Ismay and other White Star directors on 29 July 1908, construction on the Titanic started on 31 March 1909 at Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
At the time, it was the biggest moveable manmade object of its day and took just over two years to complete.
The Titanic was designed by Belfast architect Thomas Andrews, who eventually died when the ship sank on 15 April 1912.
The ship was purpose-built by White Star Shipping to become the pride of its fleet, just like Icon of the Seas will be for Royal Caribbean International.
At the time of its construction, there were no facilities available to build or berth a ship of its size. As such, Harland & Wolff set about building two extra slipways to accommodate such a mission.
The Titanic gained its “unsinkable” label due to the innovation and cutting-edge naval features implemented, including the hull’s division into a series of virtually watertight compartments.
While the engineering ingenious in this design cannot be understated, it was poor budgeting and execution that let the design down in the long run. The Titanic being “unsinkable” is one of the biggest myths surrounding the disaster.
The Titanic became infamous for not having enough lifeboats. In fact, where Thomas Andrews initially proposed 64, it would only end up with 20, about half the amount that was needed to accommodate the 2,223 people on board.
Modern-day ship construction & safety – Titanic vs. the world’s largest ship in 2024
Initial construction of Icon of the Seas began in June 2021 with steel-cutting for the vessel at the Finnish shipyard Meyer Turku.
The momentous keel-laying ceremony took place at the shipyard in April 2022 to mark the progress of the revolutionary cruise ship.
The world’s largest ship took one more step towards completion when 58 million gallons of water was used to fill the ship’s dry dock overnight for floating tests.
In a process that took four hours to complete, five tugboats moved the ship to an outfitting pier 1,266 ft (385.9 m) away.
This outfitting pier is the location for the ship’s final construction. On 22 June this year, the Icon completed her first set of sea trials.
A Royal Caribbean statement said, “During her first set of sea trials, Icon of the Seas traveled hundreds of miles, during which the main engines, hull, brake systems, steering, noise, and vibration levels were all tested”.
When compared to the Titanic, even if a serious wave were to cause Icon of the Seas to capsize and sink, there would be enough time for all passengers and crew to escape, thanks to modern technology and advances in communication at sea.
Plus, Icon of the Seas is equipped with enough lifeboats to accommodate the ship’s capacity.
Cost – how much did it cost to build the two vessels?
The final thing we will compare when it comes to the Titanic vs. the world’s largest ship in 2024 is the cost of construction.
Of course, there is over a century between the two boats, but it is an interesting look regardless. At the time of the Titanic’s construction, it cost $7.5 (€6.8) million.
In comparison, while an exact number is not yet known, the Icon is said to have costed close to $2 (€1.8) billion to build, making it the most expensive cruise ship ever built.
In terms of passenger tickets, the price of tickets ranging from third-class to first-class varied significantly for the Titanic.
According to Wikipedia, a third-class ticket from London, Southampton, or Queenstown would’ve cost £7 (€8), the equivalent to £800 (€932) today, while the top-tier first-class suites would’ve cost £870 (€1,014) in high season, a whopping £92,000 (€107,273) in today’s money.
To go on Icon of the Seas, prices vary depending on the date of sailing but could cost anywhere from $1,000 to more than $3,500.
In conclusion, with the advancements in technology and ship design in the past century, Icon of the Seas is bigger than the Titanic in every way and features a lot more facilities.
However, we think that the ship won’t come close in terms of cultural significance and legacy.