Royal Caribbean International is preparing to debut Wonder of the Seas, a cruise ship so big it can host up to 5,518 passengers and 2,300 crew, and is longer than the Eiffel Tower. Jenny Southan reports
As we predicted in our 2022 Travel Trend Forecast, “Conspicuous Hedonism” will be one of the defining trends of the year – if not the decade. This is one example of how it is manifesting…
The fifth in a series of monstrously huge Oasis class cruise ships, Wonder of the Seas will set sail from Florida in March around the Caribbean before relocating to the Mediterranean in May, cruising out of Barcelona and Civitavecchia (Rome) to other locations around Italy, France and Spain.
What’s it like on board? Firstly, it will be so vast and there will be so many people, it will be hard to make friends as you will be unlikely to see the same person twice. An article in the The Telegraph states: “Most ships have simple choices when it comes to cabins, with rooms inside (with no window), outside (with a fixed window) or with a balcony. Wonder of the Seas is not most ships. It has all the above, but inside cabins also come with a virtual balcony or a view over the Royal Promenade, a parade of shops, bars and cafés that runs through the centre of the ship. If a balcony appeals, take your pick from a view of the sea, Central Park or the Boardwalk.”A floating city, the Wonder of the Seas has eight “unique neighborhoods”, which apparently is a Royal Caribbean “first”.
Suite Neighbourhood – The newest “neighbourhood” offers Royal Suite Class guests their own Suite Sun Deck in a new location complete with a plunge pool, bar and loungers, along with Coastal Kitchen, the Suite Lounge, and the largest Ultimate Family Suite for a family of ten.
The Mason Jar Southern Restaurant and Bar – The restaurant serves savoury “johnnycakes”, southern fried chicken, crab beignets, and shrimp and grits. Completing the experience is live country music, farmhouse–style decor, a collection of American whiskeys and spiked shakes.
Wonder Playscape – This is an underwater–themed play area for kids with slides, climbing walls, games, an interactive mural activated by touch and imaginative puzzles.
The Vue Bar – A new cantilevered bar that offers panoramic ocean views by day, and after sunset, has a colourful mosaic canopy.
Caribbean Pool Deck – At the center of the ship is the poolside Lime and Coconut bar, alongside a trio of high–speed waterslides, the Perfect Storm, kids aqua park Splashaway Bay, Casitas, in–pool loungers and live music.
El Loco Fresh and Cantina Fresca – A grab–and–go spot for Mexican food such as tacos, burritos and quesadillas.Other locations on the ship include Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar, the 100ft-high Ultimate Abyss (the tallest slide at sea), and newly designed kids and teens spaces at Adventure Ocean. There’s a even a surf park, zipwire and rock-climbing walls.
What most interests Globetrender is the Bionic Bar where cocktails are made by Makr Shakr robots. (A Makr Shakr robotic bar recently opening in Asterdam too.) Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Along with taking the revolutionary Oasis Class ships to a new level of wonder, innovation and adventure, Wonder sets the stage for the spring and summer vacations families and all travelers alike are looking forward to in the new year.
“The combination of brand–new features and favorites that span thrills, entertainment, dining and nightlife is unparalleled, and it’s what will make our latest and most innovative ship the world’s newest wonder and the ultimate vacation in the Caribbean and Europe.” The Telegraph writes: “Return to the Boardwalk after dark for more dare-devil stunts, this time courtesy of the high divers in the AquaTheatre who plunge head first from a platform 60ft above the pool. It is brilliant, as is the ice show, and all the more incredible when you remember you are on a ship. That is easy to forget as most of time you can’t even feel this leviathan moving. If you’re not a cruiser, or are just after a fun holiday at sea, this is the ship for you.”