Watch the world's largest cruise ship pass under a bridge with only feet to spare

  • Royal Caribbean lowered the Icon of the Seas' funnels to sail under a bridge.

  • The cruise line recently received the world's largest cruise ship ahead of its 2024 maiden voyage.

  • Royal Caribbean has been building larger and larger cruise ships.

The world's largest cruise ship has a little-known trick that allows it to pass under shorter bridges: retractable funnels.

In late November, Royal Caribbean welcomed the Icon of the Seas to its 28-ship fleet in a ceremony at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland. Shortly after, the 1,198-foot-long, 250,800 gross-ton vessel began sailing to Cádiz, Spain, to receive some final touches ahead of its 2024 maiden voyage.

An outside deck of Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas cruise ship under construction. There's scaffolding up.
The Icon of the Seas is set to begin its roundtrip Caribbean cruises from Miami in late January 2024.Brittany Chang/Business Insider

During its journey from Finland to Spain, the 20-deck ship had to face one glaring obstacle: Denmark's 11-mile Great Belt Bridge.

Most small-ship operators don't have to think twice about sailing under such infrastructure. But as it's the world's largest cruise vessel, the Icon of the Seas required a collaborative engineering feat.

Ahead of the passageway, Royal Caribbean's team had to "lower and secure" the Icon of the Seas' funnels, allowing it to clear the Great Belt Bridge on December 1 with only a few feet to spare. Take a look at the exciting moment:

While momentous, passing under this bridge was no new feat for the cruise operator. A Royal Caribbean spokesperson told Business Insider the Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas — both almost as tall as this new vessel — had already done so.

The cruise line's Icon-, Oasis-, and Quantum-class ships all have retractable funnels.

After its time in Spain, the Icon of the Seas is set to head to Miami for a series of back-to-back seven-night Caribbean cruises starting in late January 2024.

Since the ship's announcement in 2022, Royal Caribbean has been touting onboard amenities such as the 40-plus food and beverage venues, seven pools, and a water park with six water slides. But access to this floating resort is costly: The cheapest 2024 itinerary starts at $3,023 per person, which breaks down to more than $430 per day.

Royal Caribbean has recently been focusing on building larger vessels. Its previous largest cruise ship, Wonder of the Seas, launched in 2022, and the next equally large Icon-class ship, Star of the Seas, is set to launch in 2025.

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