world's largest cruise ship Wonder of the Seas
Wonder of the Seas arriving in Port Everglades

Video: World’s Largest Cruise Ship Arrives at Port Everglades for MV

The largest cruise ship in the world, Royal Caribbean International’s 236,857 gross ton Wonder of the Seas arrived in the United States last night to prepare for her maiden voyage. The giant ship, which is about four percent larger than her sister ship, arrived in Port Everglades, just after nightfall on February 20, where she will undergo final preparation before her March 4 maiden voyage. 

The cruise ship, which can accommodate 6,988 passengers and 2,300 crew, is the fifth ship in Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class, with each of the ships larger than any of their rivals. The class which started in 2009 has seen small modifications and changes to keep up with the latest trends in the cruise industry. The Wonder of the Seas was built at France’s Chantiers de l’Atlantique with construction beginning in 2019. She departed Saint-Nazaire, France in November 2021 spending the last three months first in Marseilles, and then sailing to Cyprus to begin taking aboard more of her crew and then making a final stop in Cadiz, Spain before her first Atlantic crossing.

(Russell Weaver video of the arrival courtesy of Port Everglades)

There are several design alterations visible on close observation were the earlier ships of the class. Royal Caribbean is highlighting the addition of an additional neighborhood as they call areas of the ship with the new one devoted to suites with a private lounge and restaurant. It is the first time that Royal Caribbean has created a suite enclave on this class of cruise ship although they also created one aboard the Spectrum of the Seas, which like her larger sister was also originally designed for the Chinese cruise market. Royal Caribbean is also highlighting new on deck attractions for adults in children in the play area and waterslides as well as a new specialty restaurant.

The cruise line’s original deployment plan had anticipated that the Wonder of the Seas would cruise in the Chinese market when she was delivered in 2021. The vessel was delayed by the pandemic and the Chinese cruise market remains closed to international travelers as part of the country’s strict COVID-19 policies. The revised deployment plan for the cruise ship will see her operate a few weeks to the Caribbean before returning to the Mediterranean for the summer and then late in 2022 to shifting to Port Canaveral, Florida which will be her year-round homeport. 

Currently, the cruise line has a sixth sister also on order from the French shipyard. The unnamed ship is scheduled for delivery in mid-2024. The cruise line is evolving to a newer class of ships that will be slightly smaller and built in Finland that will also be its first to operate with LNG as its primary fuel.

(courtesy of Port Everglades)

Main Characterizes of Wonder of the Seas:

Length: 1,188 feet
Width:  210 feet (max) / 154 feet at hull
Draft:  30 feet
Gross Tonnage: 236,857
Number of Passengers: 6,988 (maximum)
Number of cabins: 2,876
Decks: 18
Crew: 2,300
Flag: Bahamas
Propulsion: Azipod with 4 bow thrusters
Speed: 22 knots