Big, bold, and high-tech, Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas is exactly that -- a wonder upon the seas. The biggest cruise ship in the world -- at least until Icon of the Seas debuts in early 2024 -- Wonder of the Seas offers more activities, entertainment, dining and experiences than any person could reasonably pack into a single week -- or two.
Despite its leviathan appearance -- the double capacity on the Wonder of the Seas cruise ship is 5,784, and can take 6,988 passengers when totally full -- this surprisingly accessible ship distinguishes itself by offering up uncommonly subdued experiences, like evenings at the outdoor Central Park Boardwalk and quiet days at sea in the 180-degree, three-story Solarium at the bow of the ship.
You'll need to be on top of things, however: entertainment and specialty dining reservations book up well in advance, and pricing for the ship's most interesting dining venues is higher than industry average, with most venues starting above $50 per person before drinks and gratuity. Still, Wonder of the Seas -- the fifth Oasis-class ship to debut since the 2009 introduction of Oasis of the Seas -- emerges as Royal Caribbean's best offering yet.
Prepare to be impressed -- and lost -- onboard the Wonder of the Seas cruise ship. The ship's deck plan is massive, and while public rooms are arranged in a thoughtful way, expect to spend a lot of time looking for directions and doubling-back on your tracks.
Most of the ship's public rooms are clustered along the lengths of Decks 4, 5 and 6. Here, passengers will find the ship's Casino; the Studio B ice rink that doubles as an entertainment venue; and iconic spaces like the robotic Bionic Bar; the Latin-themed Bolero's; and the nautical favorite, the Schooner Bar.
All the way aft on Deck 6, passengers will find an outdoor area known as the Boardwalk -- a fun space anchored by a real, honest-to-gosh carousel that gives way to Johnny Rocket's, the Playmaker's Sports Bar, and the most eye-popping entertainment venue onboard, the Aquatheater.
Up on Deck 15, the ship's top-deck poolside attractions come to life. Here and on Deck 16, passengers will find the Ultimate Abyss slides (the largest at sea); the Flowrider surfing simulator; a zipline; and more pools, bars, and hot tubs than could be reasonably used in a week at sea.
That's not to say the entire ship is party-central. Plenty of areas onboard, like the Solarium on Deck 15 forward and the Central Park "neighborhood" amidships on Deck 8, are enclaves of quiet relaxation by both day and night.
Rooms on Wonder of the Seas run the gamut from economical inside rooms, outside cabins with oversized windows, balcony cabins and suites. But within those categories are a wide array of room choices not normally found on most cruise ships.
Aboard Wonder of the Seas, balcony cabins can overlook either the ocean or the ship's inner outdoor spaces carved out from the center of the ship -- sort of like an inner courtyard at a swanky Caribbean resort. Windowed rooms can look out at the ocean, or at the ship's inner courtyards or the popular Royal Promenade.
The Wonder of the Seas cruise ship offers some of the most lavish suites Royal Caribbean has ever designed, including the spectacular two-story Ultimate Family Suite on Deck 18, complete with its own indoor slide, air hockey table and a table tennis setup on its expansive private balcony. If you're interested in the Ultimate Family Suite, book early; despite the high price tag that starts around $25,000 a week -- and up -- these rooms, which come with Royal Genie butler service, do sell out.
Unless you're a fan of noise, cabins to avoid include the inner-facing Boardwalk View Balconies. While these overlook the fun boardwalk area on the aft end of the ship, the plethora of nighttime attractions -- Playmaker's Sports Bar, Johnny Rockets and the larger-than-life Aquatheater -- mean noise will be a part of the experience well past 10 p.m. on some evenings. Great if you're a night owl; less so if you plan to turn in early.
There is no shortage of choice when it comes to food aboard Wonder of the Seas. The ship features the largest Windjammer buffet in the Royal Caribbean fleet (with the kind of capacity that the ship carries, it's a necessity) and a three-story dining room serving up breakfast and dinner each day, and lunch on sea days.
But to only dine at the complimentary food is to miss out on part of what makes Wonder of the Seas superb: its unique specialty dining venues. From the brand-new Southern-themed eatery The Mason Jar on Deck 15 to the wacky, Alice in Wonderland-themed venue Wonderland or just a hearty burger at Johnny Rockets, these add-on fee experiences are worth your time and money.
Suite passengers will have the ability to dine in Royal Caribbean's exclusive Coastal Kitchen venue, which on Wonder of the Seas takes up a commanding space as a dual restaurant-lounge facing aft on Deck 17.
Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas may be 2022's entry in a line of Oasis-class ships that began with Oasis of the Seas back in 2009, but it is by no means a carbon copy. Significant changes have been made to the ship's pool deck spaces and above, including the line's first-ever Suite Neighborhood -- a complex located on Deck 17 and Deck 18 that houses Wonder of the Seas' most premium suites.
Other enhancements made aboard Wonder of the Seas that aren't found on other ships in this class include a completely reimagined pool deck; a fully-enclosed and expanded Solarium situated all the way forward on Deck 15; and the new Vue Bar on Deck 15 port side that takes the place of an area formerly set aside for an oversized cantilevered whirlpool on earlier ships.
Besides that, Wonder of the Seas is just more technologically enhanced and higher-quality, with thoughtful wall treatments, carpeting, and artwork throughout the vessel that makes wandering its decks (and there are plenty of them) a real joy to explore and discover.
* All shows (reservations required for most)
Most daily activities, unless otherwise noted
Fitness center use, but not classes or personal training sessions
Meals at Windjammer Buffet, Main Dining Room, and select specialty restaurants
All pool, slides and hot tub use
Kids and Teens Clubs
Continental breakfast room service
* Most Specialty restaurants
Most beverages beyond water, drip coffee and lemonade
Fitness classes and personal training sessions
Photos and artwork
Certain onboard activities (wine tasting, bingo, etc.)
Late night babysitting services
Room service, except for continental breakfast
In-stateroom on-demand movies
VOOM Wi-Fi internet access
Wonder of the Seas attracts a very diverse passenger crowd, from experienced cruisers to first timers. Expect to find a wide demographic onboard, including solo travelers, couples, multi-generational families, and seniors looking for a slice of seagoing adventure. Though predominantly North American, expect a smattering of passengers from the UK, South America, Europe and Australia to be onboard as well.
Wonder of the Seas offers single and solo traveler meet-up groups onboard, LGBTQ+ get-togethers, and sessions for recovering alcoholics (listed on the Cruise Compass as "Friends of Bill W"). Accessibility has been well-thought-out aboard Wonder of the Seas, with wide elevators, accessible ramps, and cabins designed with wider doorways, no-step bathrooms, and lowered light switches, electrical outlets and door keycard readers.
High Quality Service, Food, Entertainment and Guest Management