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It's celebration time for the new world's biggest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas

Dec. 09, 2022
5 min read
Wonder of the Seas exerior_Royal Caribbean
It's celebration time for the new world's biggest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas
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The new giant of the cruise world, Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas, will finally be christened on Friday, nine months after its debut, in a gala celebration led by a "wonder mom" godmother chosen through a TikTok contest.

Pennsylvania mother and cancer survivor Marie McCrea, who was nominated by her daughter in the "wonder mom" contest, will oversee the breaking of a bottle of Champagne against the side of the vessel — the biggest cruise ship ever built — as it prepares to sail on a celebratory, two-night voyage from Florida's Port Canaveral.

The non-revenue sailing of the much-ballyhooed, 18-deck-high vessel, with Royal Caribbean executives, travel agents and other special guests on board, will mark the official start of the ship's first year-round schedule of sailings to the Caribbean.

The ship will make a single stop at Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean's private island in the Bahamas.

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Wonder of the Seas initially debuted in March with a handful of Caribbean sailings out of Florida's Port Everglades before repositioning to the Mediterranean for the summer. However, it is only now settling into its first long-term home, Port Canaveral. It began sailing out of the Florida cruise hub on a year-round basis in mid-November.

A three-person TPG team reported live from Wonder of the Seas' maiden voyage in March, posting a long list of first-impression stories and guides to the vessel, including:

A new record holder

Built at the giant Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in St. Nazaire, France, 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, five-vessel Oasis class of ships, which began rolling out in 2009 and dominate the list of the world's largest cruise ships.

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Wonder is similar to Symphony and three earlier Oasis-class vessels, with a few new twists that contributed 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 a record for a passenger ship. As a result, the total number of people on Wonder could approach 9,300 at times.

Related: The ultimate guide to Royal Caribbean cruise ships and itineraries

After launching the Oasis class in 2009, Royal Caribbean added three more Oasis-class vessels in 2010, 2016 and 2018 before unveiling Wonder of the Seas in March. Each of the ships has been a little bigger than the last.

Splashaway Bay on Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

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.

The TikTok contest that found a godmother

Wonder of the Seas godmother Marie McCrea was named to the role in the wake of a TikTok contest that asked for nominations for the ultimate "wonder mom," to be submitted via the platform under the #SearchforWonderMom hashtag. More than 16,000 videos were submitted, and the promotion led to 10.6 billion views of the hashtag on TikTok.

McCrea was nominated in a video submitted by her daughter, Allie, and picked by a Royal Caribbean panel that considered the top submissions. Her nomination noted how she overcame adversity with strength.

McCrea and a list of other finalists in the TikTok contest will all sail on the ship for free.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image by MICHEL VERDURE STUDIO/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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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees