Our first live blog from Wonder of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s newest ship. Read what we got up to and our initial thoughts in our Wonder of the Seas Day 1 Blog.
So, here we are on our first proper vacation with minimal restrictions since the whole world went crazy. Of course, things are not quite like they used to be when traveling back in the ‘hazy days” of 2019. First, we had to get the obligatory Covid Test to prove we were safe to travel. £150 lighter, and we were given certificates to say we were safe to travel. Surprisingly the pharmacist who supervised my test wasn’t even in the room when I swabbed my nose. Conscientiously I carried out the test correctly, but it could have been anyone’s snot!
Perhaps more surprisingly, despite test results in hand, nobody asked to review our results before boarding the ship. I’m not against testing guests before boarding ships or having additional restrictions the cruise line thinks are necessary. However, if you make me pay £150 for five tests, you should at least check the result.
Our day started even earlier than initially anticipated, following a late-night email from Ryan Air advising us to arrive at Stansted Airport an hour earlier. Stansted was suffering from security delays. Our advanced purchase of fast-track security soon appeared to be money well spent. The airport was horrendous and was struggling with the increased travel due to the May Half-term holiday. However, in contrast, Barcelona Airport was superb, and we had flown through passport and vaccine checks and collected our luggage within an hour. Our taxi driver soon arrived, initially traveling to the wrong terminal, and took us to Barcelona Cruise Terminal.
There were several other large cruise ships in Barcelona, but Wonder of the Seas dwarfed them all. Wonder is currently the largest cruise ship in the world and had her maiden voyage in March 2022. She will spend summer 2022 in the Mediterranean sailing seven-night cruises from Barcelona and Rome. From November 2022, she will be homeported in her permanent home of Port Everglades. Incidentally, Wonder’s European route will be carried out by its sister ship Symphony of the Seas, in Sumer 2023.
In 2008 we sailed on the recently launched Independence of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship. Since then, we have sailed on Oasis, Allure, and Harmony, which have been considered the newest holders for the record “largest cruise ship at sea.” Wonder of the Seas weighs an unbelievable 237,000 tonnes compared to Independence’s 156,000 tonnes. There is an awful lot fitted into this mammoth of a ship!
Highlights of Wonder of the Seas include a children’s water park, a children’s playground, a full-size basketball court, an ice-skating rink, a surf simulator, a 1400-seat theater, numerous pools, a massive selection of dining venues, exclusive facilities for kids and teens, big-thrill water slides, an outdoor diving theater, miniature golf, and two rock-climbing walls. This is only a tiny taster of what you can find onboard the ship.
Our first day was spent exploring the ship and “recovering” from a very early start. It was amazing how much the ship’s bars helped the recovery process. We had dinner at a new restaurant on Royal Caribbean’s fleet called Mason Jar. We will discuss it further in an upcoming review, but it was terrific.
An early(ish) night as we prepared for our first stop tomorrow at Palma de Mallorca. We will explore more about the ship in upcoming posts. Please keep checking back for our latest information from Wonder of the Seas.