You now can book a trip on the biggest cruise ship ever built
The first voyages of the biggest cruise ship ever built are now available for booking.
Royal Caribbean on Tuesday began taking reservations for the initial sailings of its much-awaited, soon-to-debut Wonder of the Seas, the fifth vessel in its groundbreaking Oasis Class series.
At 236,857 tons, Wonder of the Seas will be nearly 4% bigger than the current size leader in the cruise world, Royal Caribbean's 3-year-old Symphony of the Seas. It'll be able to hold up to 6,988 passengers -- a new record for a passenger ship.
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As previously announced, the first sailings of Wonder of the Seas will be in Asia, marking the first time one of the world's biggest cruise ships has debuted in the region.
Royal Caribbean on Tuesday said Wonder of the Seas would debut in March 2022 with an initial series of four- to eight-night sailings to Japan out of Shanghai, China.
The vessel then will reposition to Hong Kong in November 2022 for a series of four- to nine-night voyages to Vietnam, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.
The deployment of the ship to Asia comes amidst growing demand for cruises from Chinese travelers -- a market that Royal Caribbean has pursued aggressively for more than a decade. Royal Caribbean began deploying ships to China in 2009.
"China continues to be one of the most important parts of the world for Royal Caribbean," Royal Caribbean president and CEO Michael Bayley said in a statement accompanying Tuesday's announcement. "We have won the trust of our partners and the favor of travelers and built on that significantly since we first set sail 12 years ago."
Bayley said the deployment of Wonder of the Seas to China was a mark of the line's "strong commitment to the market’s growth."
Currently under construction at the giant Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in St. Nazaire, France, Wonder of the Seas originally was scheduled to debut this year. But its arrival was delayed due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the shipyard.
Wonder of the Seas was ordered long before the start of the pandemic and has been under construction since April of 2019.
Wonder of the Seas features
Wonder of the Seas will be similar to Royal Caribbean's four earlier Oasis Class vessels with a few new twists that will 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 will be 18 decks high and nearly 1,200 feet long -- the equivalent of more than three football fields.
Royal Caribbean's first Oasis Class ship, Oasis of the Seas, debuted in 2009. The line added additional Oasis Class vessels in 2010, 2016 and 2018.
Each of the ships has been a little bigger than the last.
Ranging from 226,838 to 228,081 tons, each of the four existing Oasis Class ships are more than 20% bigger than any other cruise vessels afloat and like nothing else you’ll find at sea.
Resembling megaresorts on land, each of the ships has three separate main pool areas, a kiddie splash zone, surfing simulators, miniature golf courses, basketball courts and even zip lines. And that’s just on their top decks.
Inside the vessels, you’ll find more lounges, bars, restaurants and shops than you can imagine, plus huge casinos, spas and theaters with real Broadway shows. They even have indoor ice-skating rinks. Seriously.
The initial sailings of Wonder of the Seas start at $641 per person for a five-night trip to Japan out of Shanghai. The voyages will be open to passengers from all countries.
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