Robin Murray reviews the world’s largest cruise ship, from Royal Caribbean
The facts: Royal Caribbean’s newest Oasis-class ship is not only the largest in its fleet but the largest ship of any cruise line in the world. As you’d expect from a brand known for its dizzying array of features, Wonder of the Seas offers a vast range of both activities and food and drink options for passengers of all ages, set across eight ‘neighbourhoods’ spanning 18 decks, including the all-new Suite Neighbourhood.
The world’s largest cruise ship set off on its maiden voyage on March 7, a seven-night Caribbean sailing from Fort Lauderdale in Florida, before making its European debut on May 4 from Barcelona.
Wow factor: It’s hard to ignore the fact that this is the biggest cruise ship in the world, and the size of the vessel really does blow you away as soon as you set foot on board. After making it up the gangway and passing through the turnstiles you immediately get a sense of just how much there is to see and do during your stay, filling you with – you guessed it – wonder. You could easily spend a week on board and still find things you didn’t manage to fit in by the time you disembark.
Food and drink: With more than 40 restaurants, bars and lounges, there are ample options to satisfy clients’ taste buds aboard Wonder of the Seas, no matter what cuisine they prefer. From casual restaurants such as the Boardwalk Dog House and Mexican-themed El Loco Fresh, to swanky eateries like the Chef’s Table and 150 Central Park, they’re bound to find at least one place with a menu that’s up their street.
The Bionic Bar, where cocktails are rustled up by robotic bartenders, is sure to be a favourite feature for many, while the somewhat more traditional English Pub transports passengers back to Blighty – especially when there’s a live band playing classic British hits in the corner.
Onboard activities: It’s no secret that Wonder of the Seas offers plenty to do for all ages, from relaxing retreats to hair-raising, adrenaline-fuelled adventures. The all-new Wonder Playscape is jam-packed with slides, climbing walls, games and puzzles where adventurers can discover a world with seemingly endless possibilities.
Or there’s the 10-storey-high Ultimate Abyss slide – at 150 feet, the tallest at sea – for those who are feeling really brave. Elsewhere, guests can soak up jaw-dropping live entertainment in the AquaTheater or be transported to London’s West End in the Royal Theater; try their luck at blackjack in the casino; or even ride the waves on surf simulator FlowRider.
And the options don’t stop there for sporty passengers, with table tennis, basketball, crazy golf and a zipline above the Boardwalk among the other activities on offer.
Book it: Seven-night Western Mediterranean sailings cost from £779, departing from Rome on September 29 and Barcelona on October 16. Wonder of the Seas will also operate a 14-night Transatlantic Cruise, departing from Barcelona on October 30, from £1,192.
PICTURES: Michel Verdure