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Charcoalblue's Journey with Icon of the Seas


As the latest addition to Royal Caribbean's fleet, Icon of the Seas, set sail on its maiden voyage from the Port of Miami on January 27th, it marked a significant milestone in cruise ship entertainment, to which we at Charcoalblue are proud to have contributed. Our collaboration with Royal Caribbean, Wilson Butler Architects, and Meyer Turku’s shipyard, from the initial concepts through to the final designs, has been a journey of innovation and passion.

Icon of the Seas is not just the largest cruise ship ever built, boasting a staggering capacity for nearly 10,000 individuals, but it is also a testament to what is possible when creativity meets expertise. Our role encompassed the comprehensive design of theater spaces, stage lighting, audiovisual systems, stage engineering, and acoustics for the ship's major performance venues. Our work extended further into planning for live entertainment accommodations in several secondary venues and neighborhoods on board.

Aquadome Theatre Courtesy of RCCL

Our vision was clear from the start: to create spaces that were not only visually stunning but also technologically advanced, ensuring that each venue could host a wide range of performances and events. Here’s a brief overview of some of the key spaces we brought to life:

  • Royal Theater: We reimagined this iconic space with enhanced flexibility, incorporating a sophisticated catwalk and rigging system that adapts to various performance types, ensuring longevity and versatility.
  • AquaDome Theater: A remarkable venue that showcases our commitment to innovative design, including a 3D aerial duet system and comprehensive pixel mapping capabilities, allowing performances to extend beyond the stage and over the audience, creating a truly immersive experience to complement the stunning waterfall feature.
  • Absolute Zero Ice Arena: Tasked with pushing the boundaries of ice show spectacle, we designed an oval-shaped rink with multi-level volumes to facilitate advanced skating tricks and aerial performances, setting a new standard for onboard entertainment.
  • Music Hall: Here, we aimed to capture the essence of a live music club, creating a dynamic and intimate space that encapsulates the energy of live performances.

Our work on Icon of the Seas extended beyond these primary venues to include the Comedy Club, Jazz & Blues Club, and various themed clubs across the Central Park and Promenade Neighborhoods, each designed with unique characteristics to enhance the guest experience.

Our approach was not just about designing spaces; it was about creating experiences. We worked closely with RCCL leadership and staff to understand their vision and objectives, enabling us to deliver designs that not only met but exceeded expectations. The integration of advanced technical equipment, from digital screens and layer cake lifts to retractable floors and enhanced rigging systems, allowed us to push the envelope of what is possible in live entertainment at sea.

As Charcoalblue continues to explore the intersection of architecture, technology, and performance, our work on the Icon of the Seas serves as a proud example of our commitment to excellence and innovation. We are honored to have played a part in bringing these extraordinary entertainment venues to life, contributing to a new era of cruise ship experiences that guests will enjoy for years to come.

photo of Jon Sivell standing against a pale blue background smiling at the camera

Want to learn more about our work on Icon of the Seas? Contact Jon!


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The Queen's Awards for Enterprise: International Trade 2020 UK Theatre Tonic Theatre Communications Group Carbon Literate Orginisation - Silver
photo of Jon Sivell standing against a pale blue background smiling at the camera

Want to learn more about our work on Icon of the Seas? Contact Jon!

Contact Jon