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You now can book a trip on the biggest cruise ship ever built

April 20, 2021
4 min read
You now can book a trip on the biggest cruise ship ever built
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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.

Wonder of the Seas will be a sister to the world’s biggest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas. . (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

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."

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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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Featured image by Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas can carry more than 6,500 passengers. (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean).
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more