When Royal Caribbean’s 5th Oasis Class ship, Wonder of the Seas started cruising in March 2022, it took over from sister ship Symphony of the Seas as the largest cruise ship in the world. The ship stretches 1,188 feet (362 meters) in length, nearly 210 feet (64 meters) wide and has a maximum passenger capacity of 6,988 and 2,300 crew. The top deck is labeled as 18, but as is common on American cruise ships there is no deck 13. There were however cabins numbered as 666 on many of the passenger decks. Decks 3-18 are for passenger use. Some with public areas, others just passenger accommodations, and the top for suite guests only.
There are 2867 passenger cabins onboard, ranging from the least expensive inside staterooms to the most expensive and spacious suites. There’s more variety in types of cabins on Oasis class ships than any other cruise ships. They all have inside, ocean view, and balcony cabins as well as suites, but only Oasis class ships have some inside cabins with balconies. This is made possible by the open space above the Central Park and Boardwalk areas of the ship, which have balconies overlooking these interior features. There are also inside cabins with virtual balconies as well as regular inside cabins. Of course there are ocean view cabins with windows as well as balcony cabins with verandas overlooking the sea and quite a variety of suites.
Wonder of the Seas has many things to do onboard. It has lots of pools and hot tubs, including some in an adults only solarium. Besides the 3 waterslides, there are also 2 dry slides spiraling down 10 decks from the top of the back of the ship to the boardwalk area. It has a flowrider, children’s playground, children’s splash park, mini-golf, zipline, rock climbing wall, gym, track, and spa. There are also kid’s club areas, a theater for production shows and other performances, and games and activities in the daily schedule.
Often cruise ship tracks are just a painted line around a portion of the top deck. Besides being very short those are exposed to wind and weather and hordes of people just getting from one part of the ship to another. Outside promenade decks that encircle the entire ship are a far better place for running. Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class ships take this one step further, having turned the outside promenade deck into an actual track. It has a run lane and a walk lane, starting line, and indicators around the track as to how far you have gone. Signs on the wall tell how many laps it takes to reach the marked distance from the starting line. Along the way notes of encouragement are sometimes painted on ceiling beams.
The spa had a thermal suite as well as treatment rooms, but besides the already high charge to use the thermal area’s steam rooms, sauna, and heated ceramic chairs they charged extra to include its tiny hot tub so we felt it was not worth the money and didn’t use it. Not to mention there’s so many other things to do on this ship besides spending time at the spa.
The mini-golf course was adorably cute featuring a giant octopus that could be seen from outside the ship on one of the holes. It seemed to be designed more for looks than for actual playability of the course though. Instead of a second flowrider like other oasis class ships Wonder has a brightly colored playground with slides for small children. Sometimes we walked by and the playground was full of children, other times there was nobody there.
Other activities included destination talks, karoke, game shows, exercise classes, pickleball, volleyball, trivia, yoga, bingo, zumba, crossword puzzle challenge, escape room, seminars, poker tournaments, scavenger hunts, art auctions, dance class, dodgeball, soccer, ping-pong, casino, music, movies, and lectures.
It has quite a variety of eateries, some included with cruise fare and others that cost extra. There are also many bars, including the bionic bar manned by robot bartenders and the rising tide – which is a bar on a large open elevator platform that sometimes sits on the Royal Promenade and other times at Central Park, several decks above.
The Royal Promenade resembles a city street lined with shops and eateries while central park has real live plants in gardens throughout the park area, as well as shops and eateries on the edges and balcony cabins overlooking it from above.
In addition to the landing point for the ultimate abyss slides, the boardwalk area has the aquatheater where talented performers put on an excellent show, a carousel, and of course bars, shops, and eateries on the sides. Like Central Park, inside cabins with balconies rise above the Boardwalk.
Below the Royal Promenade there’s an ice-skating rink which is sometimes open for passengers to skate as well as being the venue for the intriguing ice show performances. Sometimes the ice is covered over with other flooring to hold events such as glow-in-the-dark laser tag.
In addition to the water and ice shows, Wonder of the Seas also had theater shows and a comedy club. We enjoyed all of the shows we attended in the various venues. The comedian hit the nail on the head with his comment about giving people too high of expectations having Royal’s private island being promoted as “perfect day at CocoCay” when it doesn’t take much to make that day less than perfect – like a little bad weather, which either happens often there or I’ve just had bad luck on both my visits.
The buffet on Wonder felt small for the size of the ship, but it may have been the layout rather than the actual square footage. Finding an available table during busy times was sometimes a challenge though. It was also missing the gluten-free section that the buffets in both Symphony and Explorer of the Seas had when we sailed on those ships. The dining room would take pre-orders for special diets and make the main dish for meals accordingly, but their chef insisted it was not possible to make the sort of gluten and lactose free desserts the chef on Symphony had made. Hopefully it was just an issue with that particular chef and not a cutback on Royal’s part. The food was good and plentiful so we never went hungry, but it’s nice to get to enjoy fancy cruise ship desserts too.
My Time dining in this ship was very deceptive. It was listed as open from 6:30pm-9:00pm, but in their 3-deck dining room they had not reserved a single deck for open dining passengers. Instead, an early seating dining takes place on deck 4 where My Time dining is scheduled so the reservations they recommend making were not actually offered before 8pm. Showing up at 6:30 meant waiting in a long line only to be put on a waitlist and then turned away and told to come back at least half an hour later. However we discovered if we came shortly before 6:00 there was no line and we could get right in and be seated at a table assigned to early-seating diners who had not shown up that night.
All the cruise lines have apps now, and Royal’s is one of the best. It’s well-designed and quite functional being very useful both before and during the cruise. Pre-cruise you can use it for registration, scope out the deck plans, and check out what’s on board, some of the things to do, and what sort of shore excursions are available. You can also find out ahead of time where your muster station is. During the cruise it has useful features like menus, things to do, deck plans, and a digital version of the Cruise Compass daily newsletter of activities and open times for various venues around the ship. (Paper copies of the Cruise Compass are still available nightly from the stateroom stewards if requested.) The menu in the app shows vegan and children’s meal options that are not included on the paper copy in the dining room. The app can also be used to communicate with other passengers onboard.
Wonder had three waterslides. Two regular ones and one of the bowl sort. Some people like the bowl type, but I avoid them because when you get to that bowl you might go around several times bouncing along the walls gathering bruises. The regular ones that land in a water shoot don’t have that problem. The speed with which people go down them varied with the weather being a lot faster some days than others. The lifeguard at the top said the less of you your swimsuit covered the faster you would go down too, but with the same suit on I had days I’d fly down it and days I hardly moved at all without pushing myself along with my hands. Weather also affected speed on the 10-deck ultimate abyss dry slides along with weight and body size. I always went down those quite fast and beat John to the bottom when we started together at the top every time. I beat him by a mile the first time we went down, but on other days it was a lot closer. He flies way ahead of me on a zip line, but weighing more didn’t mean going faster on the slides. Giving yourself a good push from the top at the very start probably helps with the speed regardless.
The main casino allows smoking, but there is a tiny casino called the Golden Room that is smoke free. Minimum bets are ridiculously high for table games there and all the casino activities like poker or blackjack tournaments are in the main smoke-filled casino so the little one only had a few slot machine players when we went there. We never saw anything saying what the golden room was either so unless you actually went down there to see what it was you would never even know it existed. Kind of like it was intentionally set up to fail so they could say they tried having a smoke-free casino, but hardly anyone used it. The big main smoky casino does have doors, which is an improvement over being left wide open to send clouds of smoke everywhere all the time, but whenever one of those doors opens smoke wafts out to the dining room and up the elevator shafts. Unfortunately the doors are way too sensitive and open whenever anybody walks by whether inside or outside of the casino so when the elevator area was crowded like at dinner time the doors spent more time open than closed. They’d do a much better job of keeping smoke contained if the doors had a spot you have to touch to open them like some of the doors to outside decks had. Or better yet make the casino non-smoking like they are on some of the other cruise lines now.
While there’s always some room for improvement, overall the Wonder of the Seas was a nice ship with way more than the average variety of things to do. We had a good time on our cruise.
Wonder of the Seas sounds like an apt name for this vessel. It looks and sounds amazing. The smoking situation has to be challenging when keeping it as an option for customers. The constant opening of the doors sounds like a shared frustration both smokers and non-smokers would certainly have.
The ship definitely is a wonder. The first time we sailed with Royal it was on the Explorer of the Seas, which had no indoor smoking allowed so we thought that was their policy. It was disappointing to us after sailing on some of their other ships to find out it wasn’t their policy at all, but most likely because Explorer was heading to Australia where indoor smoking is banned on all cruise ships.