The biggest cruise ship ever built is about to sail its first voyages in Europe
It's Europe's turn to welcome the new world's largest cruise ship.
Royal Caribbean's giant new Wonder of the Seas, which is just two months into its reign as the new size leader in the cruise world, arrived in Barcelona today in advance of its first Europe sailings with paying passengers.
The much-ballyhooed, 18-deck-high vessel, which initially sailed out of Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades to the Caribbean and the Bahamas, will depart from Barcelona late in the day on a non-revenue preview sailing for media and travel agents. It'll then begin a regular schedule of seven-night Mediterranean sailings for paying passengers out of Barcelona on Sunday.
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The new seven-night sailings, which will continue through late October, will bring calls at Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Marseille, France; and La Spezia, Civitavecchia (the port for Rome) and Naples, Italy.
Built at the giant Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in St. Nazaire, France, over the past three years, Wonder of the Seas measures 236,857 tons — about 4% bigger than the previous size leader in the cruise world, Royal Caribbean’s 4-year-old Symphony of the Seas.
Like Symphony, Wonder is part of Royal Caribbean’s groundbreaking Oasis class of ships, which began rolling out in 2009 and now dominates the list of the world's largest cruise ships.
With the arrival of Wonder, Royal Caribbean now operates all of the world's five biggest cruise vessels and nine of the world's 20 largest cruise vessels.
The Points Guy covered Wonder's debut in March extensively, sending a three-person team at our own expense on the ship's maiden voyage to test three levels of cabins, including a suite that costs more than $11,000 per week. You can read our takeaways here:
- First look at Wonder of the Seas: What we like, don't like and can't find on the new world's largest cruise ship
- Wonder of the Seas 3 ways: Inside, balcony and suite cruise experiences compared
- Why Wonder of the Seas is awesome for families
As we explain in the above guides, Wonder is similar to Symphony and three earlier Oasis-class vessels with a few new twists that contribute to its bigger size, including a dedicated suite area with a private lounge, restaurant and sun deck. Like the four earlier Oasis-class ships, it is nearly 1,200 feet long — the equivalent of more than three football fields.
Notably, Wonder has room for up to 6,988 passengers with every berth filled — more than any other passenger ship in history. It sails with 2,300 crew members, also more than any other passenger ship in history.
As a result, the total number of people on Wonder at times could approach 9,300.
Related: How I had the busiest two days ever on Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas
After launching the Oasis class in 2009 with the debut of Oasis of the Seas, Royal Caribbean added three more Oasis-class vessels in 2010, 2016 and 2018. Each of the ships has been a little bigger than the last, and they’re all more than 20% larger than any other cruise vessels afloat.
Like the earlier Oasis-class ships, Wonder offers multiple main pool areas, a kiddie splash zone, surfing simulators, a miniature golf course, a basketball court and even a zip line. And that’s just on its top deck. Inside the vessel, you’ll find more lounges, bars, restaurants and shops than you can imagine, plus a huge casino, spas and theaters.
As with earlier Royal Caribbean ships, it even has an indoor ice-skating rink.
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