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Icon of the Seas to Appear on National Geographic’s Building Impossible with Daniel Ashville

13 September 2023

Icon of the Seas

Airing on 14th September 2023 at 8pm on National Geographic, the first episode of Building Impossible with Daniel Ashville takes a look behind the scenes of the Royal Caribbean’s brand new ship, Icon of the Seas. Exploring how the mega cruise ship has been constructed, including the ship’s extraordinary AquaDome that’s located at its bow, this in-depth programme is perfect for any cruise enthusiast that’s interested in finding out more about how it was constructed.

Showcasing the ultimate engineering challenges faced when constructing such a large cruise ship, this captivating programme is hosted by British construction expert Daniel Ashville and spans six episodes. National Geographic have stated that the series “showcases architectural marvels that defy imagination”.

Throughout the series, science, technology and human ingenuity is put into the spotlight, showcasing a variety of out-of-this-world builds, including the Brenner Tunnel and MSC Sphere.

Building Impossible with Daniel Ashville: Episode 1

AquaDome Theatre
AquaDome Theatre

Throughout episode 1, Daniel Ashville travels to the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland, where Icon of the Seas is currently being constructed, to see how the AquaDome was built and how it’s being installed on the ship itself.

An incredible feat of engineering, throughout the episode, you’ll learn the detailed processes of installing this huge 363-ton orb, from prepping and testing the cables to lifting the spreader, attaching the spreader to the dome and moving the dome onto the ship.

A fascinating and immersive engineering adventure, you’ll see Daniel help with the construction process as the largest steel and glass structure that’s ever been installed on a cruise ship is placed onto it.

Is Icon of the Seas the Biggest Cruise Ship?

You might be wondering, is Icon of the Seas the world’s biggest cruise ship? Well, when it sets sail in 2024, it will take the title of the largest cruise ship in the world. Making history, Icon of the Seas will take over from Wonder of the Seas as the biggest, weighing in at a staggering 250,800 gross tons.

Spanning an impressive 20 decks and with an abundance of amenities onboard, there’s no denying that it’ll be popular with families, friends and couples throughout the world when it sets sail from Florida on its maiden voyage to the Caribbean.

Icon of the Seas Size Comparison

Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas is 1,198 feet long (10 feet longer than Wonder of the Seas) and 213 feet wide. Measuring the same size as nearly 4 football fields, it’s predicted that it can take up to 20 minutes to walk from one end of the ship to the other!

With 8 different neighbourhoods, 40+ eateries and a wide selection of different accommodation options available (including opulent suites), it’s clear that Icon of the Seas will have guests in awe the moment they step onboard.

Icon of the Seas Specs

Gross Tonnage: 250,800 (Wonder of the Seas - 236, 857)

Length: 1,198 feet (Wonder of the Seas - 1,188)

Width: 213 feet (Wonder of the Seas - 210)

Total Decks: 20 (Wonder of the Seas - 18)

Passenger Decks: 18 (Wonder of the Seas - 16)

Maximum Guest Capacity: 7,600 (Wonder of the Seas - 6,988)

Crew Capacity: 2,350 (Wonder of the Seas - 2,300)

How Much Did Icon of the Seas Cost to Build?

It is estimated that Icon of the Seas cost £1.5 billion to build.

Where Will Icon of the Seas Sail?

Icon of the Seas offers a wide selection of itineraries, sailing to destinations throughout the Caribbean, North America, Central America and Mexico throughout 2024 and beyond!

What is the AquaDome on Icon of the Seas?

The 363 ton AquaDome is a multifunctional entertainment venue that transforms throughout the day. Home to breathtaking live performances (within its unique water theatre), restaurants, bars, lounges and more, there’s so much to see and do throughout this captivating neighbourhood.

It’s also a great place to enjoy wraparound ocean views and admire the innovative technology that the AquaDome has to offer, including state-of-the-art projections and a pool that has robotic arms!

How was the Icon of the Seas AquaDome Built?

The AquaDome was constructed using steel and glass. Made up of 712 aluminum panels and 673 glass panels, it took months of preparation from skilled naval architects and structural engineers to create it and plan how it was to be fitted onto the ship. It was then lowered onto the ship’s structure using a specialised rig (which had over 1,640 feet of suspension cables) in a process that took over 80 hours. There was also 6 hours of welding that needed to be done in order to attach the AquaDome to the ship.

Standing at 82 feet tall and 164 feet wide, the process which was done separate to the ship itself was meticulous and organised; something that you will see for yourself in the first episode of Building Impossible with Daniel Ashville.

How to Watch Icon of the Seas on Building Impossible with Daniel Ashville

National Geographic is available on Sky, Virgin Media, TalkTalk and BT in the UK & Ireland.

Book a Cruise on Icon of the Seas


If you’re interested in cruising on Icon of the Seas, check out our wide range of Icon of the Seas cruises, with itineraries throughout the Caribbean, North America and beyond. Discover the world’s biggest cruise ship and enjoy a getaway that’s truly out of this world!

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