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Biggest cruise ship ever built arrives in Florida for first sailings

Feb. 21, 2022
4 min read
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It's almost go-time for the biggest cruise ship ever built.

Royal Caribbean's massive, 18-deck-high Wonder of the Seas finally arrived in Florida on Sunday in advance of its first sailings with paying passengers in March.

The ship initially will be based at Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades for sailings to the Caribbean before moving to the Mediterranean for the summer. Fares for seven-night Caribbean voyages start at $763 per person, not including taxes and fees.

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The ship's first sailing with paying passengers -- a seven-night voyage to the Eastern Caribbean -- is scheduled for March 4.

TPG will be reporting live from the first sailing of Wonder of the Seas.

Biggest cruise ship ever built

Under construction at the giant Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in St. Nazaire, France, for nearly three years, Wonder of the Seas measures 236,857 tons -- about 4% bigger than the current size leader in the cruise world, Royal Caribbean's 4-year-old Symphony of the Seas.

Like Symphony of the Seas, 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 of the Seas, Royal Caribbean now operates all five of the world's five biggest cruise vessels and nine of the world's 20 largest cruise vessels.

Wonder of the Seas is similar to Symphony of the Seas 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 of the Seas has room for up to 6,988 passengers with every berth filled -- more than any other passenger ship in history.

Related: The ultimate guide to Royal Caribbean

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 of the Seas at times could approach 9,300.

After launching the Oasis class series in 2009, 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 of the Seas will offer 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’ll even have an indoor ice-skating rink.

Related: The 7 most anticipated new cruise ships of 2022

Wonder of the Seas originally was scheduled to debut in China earlier this year as the largest cruise ship ever to sail in Asia. But Royal Caribbean canceled its inaugural season of China cruises and redirected the ship to the U.S. market in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Featured image by ©2022 Michel Verdure Studio, In
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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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
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  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
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  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases