We’re Back from Wonder of the Seas’ Inaugural Voyage
I saw the pictures. I read the stat sheets.
But funny enough, the first time the new Wonder of the Seas from Royal Caribbean International made a tangible impression on me came while I was still four miles away from port.
There I was, shooting down sweltering I95 on a sunny South Florida afternoon, texting away in the back of a Lyft, when the dimples of Wonder’s top deck Solarium loomed large in the distance. Docked in Port Everglades, the ship held its own alongside the glittering high rises of downtown Fort Lauderdale and that’s when the reality of traveling on the world’s biggest cruise ship truly began to set in.
How Big is Wonder of the Seas?
I can rattle off the stats; 6,988 max guest capacity, 236,857 gross tons, 1,188 feet long and another 210 wide.
These numbers mean nothing until you’re walking up the gangway with your neck craned, mouth ajar, staring at the absolute behemoth in front of you. Cruise ships are obviously big by their very nature, but there were some serious inadequacy vibes emanating from the other vessels unlucky enough to pull up to the dock while Wonder sat in port.
Trust me, see it for yourself.
The Start of a 7 Day Inaugural Cruise
Enough about size, let’s dish some details of what it’s like to spend a week living on board. Our crisp Friday-to-Friday itinerary included stops at both of Royal Caribbean’s private slices of paradise, Labadee, Haiti and Coco Cay sandwiched around calls to San Juan and Nassau.
Royal’s staggered embarkation times meant I buzzed into the terminal, through security and onto the ship in less time than it would take to mosey from Wonder’s bow to stern. I stepped out into the bustling Deck 5 promenade from the gangway and had a glass of champagne coaxed into my hand before I had time to get my bearings.
The first night on any cruise ship is a whirlwind of activity, but this was an 18-deck block party fit for the biggest cruise ship at sea. Smiles all around among the guests, and yes, delightfully so, we could actually see them as only the crew members on board Wonder of the Seas are required to roam the corridors in face masks.
After dinner in the main dining room (the prime rib was divine), I hustled out to check out the Boardwalk neighborhood on Deck 5, home to the Aquatheater and The Abyss, a 10-story dry slide found corkscrewing it’s way down the aft of the ship. You read that right, 10 stories.
From there I ventured to my floor and what I found to be my favorite on the ship; deck 8. Home to Central Park as well as a variety of stateroom categories, Deck 8 added a convenience factor I really loved. Along with multiple specialty restaurants (Giovanni’s, 150 Central Park and Chops Grille), the space is a lush garden with live plants, a terrace bar and the Park Cafe which I made great use of both for my morning cup of joe on my balcony or a glass of cabernet as the sun sets over the endless expanse of frothing Caribbean waves.
Much like the guests ripping down the Dragon’s Breath zipline in Labadee, the first night flew right into the last with almost too much revelry and hedonism to capture. My apologies for the brevity with this update, but stay tuned, I’ll be banging away at this keyboard a bit more for the upcoming ship review exclusively on Porthole.com!