A voyage to wonderland
Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas is not just the largest cruise ship to sail the Earth, it is, in fact, a veritable wonder sailing the seas, bringing gravity-defying entertainment, jaw-exhausting dining variety and some of the most fun cabins to a Mediterranean port near you.
Waterpark? Check. Aqua theatre? Check. Shopping arcade? Check. Ice-skating rink? Check. Robots mixing cocktails? Check. Boardwalk with a carousel and hot dogs? Check. Alice in Wonderland themed restaurant serving molecular gastronomy? Check.
Warning: post-sailing symptoms include a nagging need to return to sea, for a longer period of time, and with a larger group of friends or family
We can go on and on: Royal Caribbean’s latest Oasis Class ship is home to all this and more than 40 restaurants, bars and lounges. It debuts the brand’s Suite Neighborhood: a new, eighth neighbourhood that welcomes Royal Suite Class guests to an elevated experience (literally, it is on Deck 18). It showcases a brand-new, underwater-themed play area for kids named Wonder Playscape, with slides, climbing walls and puzzles. The vessel boasts returning favourites like The Ultimate Abyss - the tallest slide at sea; the FlowRider surf simulator; and The Perfect Storm racing waterslides. The list goes on. MORE THAN 40 OUTLETS
Wonder of the Seas serves up a lip-smacking and mind-numbing variety of food in complimentary and speciality outlets, totalling 40 restaurants, bars and lounges.
The Royal Promenade on deck 5, perfect for a spot of retail therapy, is also popular for its abundant watering holes: Rising Tide Bar, Bionic Bar (where robots mix drinks for you), Boleros (which doubles up as a salsa school for one exhilarating hour) and Starbucks. This deck is also where you find the glamorous main dining room - with seating capacity to match the size of the ship - and the main Royal Theatre, for the entertainment.
Boardwalk Dog House, right by the full-size carousel on Deck 6, is perfect for the quick fill-me-up on the move if you’re craving hot dogs. Also on the Boardwalk and leading up to the AquaTheater, Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade (with its multiple screens), Johnny Rockets and Sugar Beach (everything from ice cream to cotton candy) offer a variety of dining possibilities.
On the other end of the spectrum is Windjammer, with limitless buffet service and ocean-view seating all the way up from deck 15. The Mason Jar next door to Wind Jammer is a speciality dining concept that makes its debut on Wonder of the Seas, and brings a touch of authentic Southern comfort food, inviting guests to share a meal, drinks and memories in a warm, casual setting.
A key highlight of the dining experience is the returning favourite Wonderland speciality dining outlet that mixes food with entertainment and the latest in culinary physics. Expect to be served clever jokes by a quick-witted Mad Hatter and a menu that sets a new bar in the category of molecular gastronomy. ENTERTAINMENT
If the food options leave you feeling spoilt for choice, the entertainment aboard Wonder of the Seas will make you jump out of bed and seize the day.
Whether you’re feeling a strong need to zipline across a ship, go tumbling down the tallest slide at sea, test your figure skating skills on ice or indulge in a bit of show surfing on the FlowRider, Wonder of the Seas will not disappoint.
A juggernaut in the cruise and entertainment industries, Royal Caribbean brings the most exciting AquaTheater on sea, with the Royal Theatre showing Broadway-level musicals, Studio B featuring unique ice themed productions and Attic featuring clever stand-up comics. The seats fill up fast and reservations are highly recommended, either immediately upon boarding or via the Royal App.
The Cruise Compass, which is available on the app, can also be printed off on special request and is lined with activities to keep you entertained and busy throughout the cruise. There’s jazz music playing somewhere, a bingo game is live, a mini golf competition is underway, a trivia quiz is on, retail discounts on watches and jewellery are being offered, while a wellness therapist is advising on spa treatments. KIDS KEPT BUSY
The underwater-themed play area for kids, named Wonder Playscape, with its slides, climbing walls and puzzles is a great addition to the robust Royal Caribbean family offering. The whole area transforms into an other-worldly playground in the evening as the colourful lights come on. While this particular part of the cruise needs parents to supervise play, entertainment for kids is on a whole other level on this ship.
Adventure Ocean kids club features different rooms and supervised programming for different age groups. Aquanauts (3 to 5 years) enjoy finger painting, building blocks, music activities, games and kids bingo. Explorers (6 to 8 years) have pirate nights, pyjama nights, carnival games and talent shows. Slightly older kids Voyagers (9 to 11 years) are entertained with karaoke, scavenger hunts and crazy tag. Teenagers have an entirely separate calendar.
Group sitting is available for ages 3 to 11 from 10pm to 2am in the Adventure Ocean centre for as less as $7/hour. For kids younger than 3 years, the Sitters at Sea programme is priced at $19 per hour for up to four children.
When you pay for a Royal Caribbean cruise, it’s an all-inclusive sea voyage with some exceptions, which usually include speciality dining, spa treatments, gratuities, shore excursions, retail indulgences etc. Royal Caribbean’s newest ship includes all shows, most daily activities, fitness centre access, meals at several complimentary and select speciality restaurants, pool, slides and hot tub use, FlowRider, ziplining, kids and teens clubs, continental breakfast room service.
Beginning November 2022, the vessel returns stateside to its new year-round home in Port Canaveral, Florida, after a summer in Europe sailing in the Mediterranean. The action-packed ship will set course to idyllic destinations on seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises, including Perfect Day at CocoCay, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Mexico and Honduras.
Warning: post-sailing symptoms include a nagging need to return to sea, for a longer period of time, and with a larger group of friends or family. By Rashi Sen