The state of Florida in the United States has been the first home for each of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ships since the launch of the Oasis of the Seas in 2008, but was on the verge of losing to China for the fifth ship of the class, Wonder of the Seas. . But the cruise line has announced changes that will bring the ship to the Sunshine State early next year.
What will inherit the title of the world’s largest cruise ship will leave Fort Lauderdale on March 4, 2022 for two months of Caribbean travel before moving to Europe for a summer sailing season, then finally heading to China.
âThe momentum that is taking off from reservations and our ship returns in the United States and Europe is significant. With half of our fleet sailing again, we are encouraged by what we are seeing. These regions are able to accommodate a whole new, innovative vessel like Wonder of the Seas, âsaid Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International.
The ship arrives four years after the debut of Symphony of the Seas, the current record holder for the world’s largest cruise ship. Every ship from the 2008 Oasis to the 2009 Allure of the Seas to the 2016 Harmony and then the Symphony were progressively heavier in terms of gross tonnes, so they may have carried the nickname of more the world’s largest cruise ship.
Symphony weighs 206,912 gross tons, is 362 meters long and has a maximum capacity of 6,680 guests with 2,200 crew members. At double capacity, however, the number of guests is 5,518 out of 2,759 cabins.
Wonder of the Seas will debut with a gross tonnage of 214,873, also 362 meters in length, but a maximum capacity of 6,988 guests, the highest of any Oasis-class vessel with 2,867 cabins.
Wonder of the Seas remains under construction at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, preparing for its debut.
Royal Caribbean has also revealed new details about what will be on board.
Instead of seven designated neighborhoods, Wonder of the Seas will have eight with the introduction of the Suite Class neighborhood. In it, guests of the suite will find an elevated terrace with a plunge pool, bar and lounge chairs. The neighborhood will be home to a private Coastal Kitchen dining experience serving global dishes, as well as the Suite Lounge. Dedicating a large space inside the ship exclusively to suite passengers is a similar move to MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line.
For everyone on board, a new bar called The Vue will offer panoramic views from the pool deck and, at night, a colorful mosaic canopy.
On the upper deck will be a new Wonder Playscape, an outdoor children’s play area with slides, climbing walls, games, puzzles and an interactive touch-activated mural.
Similar to other royal ships, the main pool deck will have the Caribbean feel overlay that includes the multi-story The Lime & Coconut bar. It will again feature The Perfect Storm’s three waterslides, a kids’ water park called Splashaway Bay, and loads of unique lounge spaces like hammocks, loungers in the pool, and indoor mini casitas.
Like the other Oasis-class ships, Wonder of the Seas will always feature the Central Park space indoors, Boardwalk, Pool & Sports Zone, Entertainment Place, Royal Promenade, Vitality Spa & Fitness Center and Youth Zone. The ship will also feature the popular Ultimate Abyss dry slide, zipline, AquaTheater, twin climbing walls, carousel, FlowRider and ice rink.
For its trips to Florida, the ship will sail seven nights, alternating itineraries in the Eastern and Western Caribbean with stops such as Cozumel, Mexico; Philipsburg, Saint-Martin; and San Juan, Puerto Rico, as well as private island tours of the Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay.
From May, the ship will migrate to Europe to sail from Barcelona and Rome on seven-night itineraries in the Western Mediterranean. Allure of the Seas will take up summer duties in the Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale following Wonder’s departure.
Wonder of the Seas had its first Steel Cup in April 2019 with its keel laying in October of the same year. It was originally scheduled to debut this year, but the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed construction. The ship successfully completed sea trials in August.
When it arrives in China, the line plans to sail the ship from Shanghai and Hong Kong.
This is the third Oasis class ship built at the shipyard, formerly STX France. The first two ships were built on what was then STX Finland, now known as Meyer Turku.
Wonder of the Seas will hold the title of world’s largest cruise ship until a sixth Oasis-class ship, also built at Chantiers de l’Atlantique, is commissioned in 2024.
Oasis-class ships have a limited number of home ports, first using Port Everglades when Oasis of the Seas debuted, but now sailing regularly from PortMiami, Port Everglades and Port Canaveral as well as from Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey in 2020.