The Chicago Journal

Highly-Anticipated Biggest Cruise Ship in the World Opens Doors

Photo: Royal Caribbean

The world’s biggest cruise ship is now ready to open its doors to passengers after three years in development.

Standing at 1,188 feet, the Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas was delivered last month. It is set to begin its maiden voyage from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to the Caribbean on March 4.

The cruise ship has 18 decks with a capacity of 6,988 guests and 2,300 crew members. It was built at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.

“We’re excited to introduce guests across the world to Wonder of the Seas and its world-class features after a six-year-long process,” Mark Tamis, the senior vice president of hotel operations at Royal Caribbean International, says.

“From planning to delivery, we’ve utilized our expertise across Royal Caribbean, as well as incorporating our guest’s suggestions and travel partner feedback to create something truly awe-inspiring.” 

In March, five-to-seven-night cruises from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to the Caribbean will be available on the ship. It will then launch Western Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona and Rome in May.

The Wonder of the Seas boasts eight neighborhoods, where one contains over 20,000 real plants. One may also find the “tallest slide at sea,” a 10-deck-high zip line, and a poolside movie screen onboard the ship.

Disruptions caused by the pandemic

“We’ve always prided ourselves on offering guests the best and most innovative ships to give them a truly extraordinary experience. Wonder encompasses all of that,” Tamis says.

Delivery was initially set for 2021, but it had to be pushed back due to the coronavirus. T

The cruise line industry has seen constant disruptions over the past two years as a result of the coronavirus. In December, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention pushed up cruise travel to the highest-risk level, which surmises that the risk of contracting COVID-19’s Omicron variant was “very high” among cruise passengers and crew. 

The CDC’s COVID guidance became optional for many cruise ships by January 2022. The risk level was lowered from Level 4 to Level 3 just this month and people have been advised to update their COVID vaccinations before any traveling.

Opinions expressed by The Chicago Journal contributors are their own.