The eight things you need to know about the new largest cruise ship in the WORLD – and it sails from Europe
CRUISE line Royal Caribbean is all about breaking records.
With newest venture Wonder of the Seas, it has reset the benchmark for the world’s largest cruise ship, for the second time in a row.
An epic 18 DECKS tall, the 1,188ft-long liner is as wide as seven double-decker buses parked end to end, and can carry 9,288 people.
She is set to debut in Europe this May, with eight distinctive “neighbourhoods” on board, including an exclusive new suites-only area on the top two decks.
From the expansive pool deck to world-class entertainment, JESSICA LESTER marvels at its best and newest features.
ALL YOU CAN EAT
Royal’s Oasis-class ships are well-known for their variety of food options — but Wonder tops them all, with more than two dozen different dining areas.
While the much-loved Windjammer Marketplace with all-you-can-eat buffet has returned for everyday dining, there are also new speciality restaurants to try.
There’s a steak house, the Chops Grille, Giovanni’s, and gourmet hotspot 150 Central Park — all of which sit proudly within the giant Central Park complex in the belly of the ship.
But new concept Wonderland is the star of the show. Combining molecular gastronomy with a fairytale theme, the restaurant serves up adventurous dishes from both land and sea in a fabulous interactive setting.
Discover the menu by painting a picture and watch out for Alice and the Mad Hatter, who may join you between courses as you sip on creative cocktails inspired by the Cheshire Cat.
If you prefer to keep it causal, Southern restaurant The Mason Jar has been placed high up on the 15th deck, offering chicken and waffles as well as whiskey cocktails — with grandstand ocean views.
LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU
The ship boasts an amazing entertainment programme.
Among the many treats, new all-female show inTENse lights up the state-of-the-art AquaTheatre — which features the deepest pool ever created on board a cruise ship.
The magical production sees professional acrobats diving and tumbling from 55 metres above the water, as well as synchronised swimmers, all moving to a dramatic soundtrack.
Royal Caribbean’s own superheroes, The Effectors, also return for their previously unseen second instalment, using drone technology to light up the main audi-torium in fabulous formation.
RIDE THE WAVES
If endless views of the ocean aren’t enough for you, the redesigned pool deck brings together a number of new water elements, including four main pools and ten smaller whirlpools.
Thrillseekers will enjoy new waterslides, a terrifying plunge slide at the back of the ship and TWO surfing simulator machines.
This means cruise-goers can practise hanging ten without needing to disembark.
The entire deck is designed with relaxation in mind, with a number of Lime and Coconut cocktail bars dotted throughout.
And there’s an ice-cream bar, Sprinkles, serving soft-whip until late into the night.
CHEERS TO THAT
Why ask the bartender to serve you a cocktail when you can get one perfectly shaken, stirred and poured by a robot over at Bionic Bar on the promenade?
Or there’s the Rising Tide bar — essentially a glorified lift that allows passengers to enjoy a cocktail as they slowly ascend and descend three decks.
New bar complex The Vue is one of two never-before-seen concepts, next to the Solarium at the front of the ship and with views of the pool deck and open water.
And while Giovanni’s and Chops Grille boast the largest collections of plonk, the Cask and Flipper pub is the place to go for home comforts — a British-style venue serving up a selection of beers and spirits.
START YOUR ADVENTURE
New for kids is the Wonder Playscape — an underwater-themed playground with exciting climbing nets, puzzles and a touch-sensory game.
And teenagers get their very own outdoor space, Social 180, complete with mocktail bar and chill-out areas.
But the ship’s thrills are not just for the youngsters. Adults can tackle two rock-climbing walls that stand more than 40ft above the pool deck on the 15th storey, as well as a giant zipline.
Plus, there’s a games room, laser tag, mini-golf and a casino with slot machines to rival Las Vegas.
LET’S GET MOVING
If you’re not exhausted by all the fun, Wonder of the Seas has one of the largest gyms on open water, and a 600-metre running track that even professional athletes would envy due to its endless ocean views.
The track, which circles the outside of the ship and features both walking and running lanes, is surrounded by ping-pong tables and areas for quieter fitness classes.
For those less inclined to work out, there’s a spa with a nail bar, hairdressing salon, 29 spacious massage rooms, a mud room and a thermal suite.
KICK BACK AND RELAX
With 2,867 state rooms on board, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to accommodation.
But passengers after a blow-out trip should book a Royal Class suite on top decks. This includes your own concierge and butler service.
Restaurants across the 17th and 18th decks offer exclusive dining.
There is also a lounge space as well as an outdoor sun deck with a smaller, quieter private pool away from the ship’s hustle and bustle.
Naturally, the world’s largest cruise ship needs a shopping promenade with boutiques to rival the world’s top malls.
Designer tax-free goods are up for grabs once the ship is in open water.
The promenade brings together luxury items from all over the world, including handbags and clothing from Kate Spade and Michael Kors, to high-end jewellery ranging from Cartier to Bulgari, and Hublot watches.
Wonder Of The Seas
Length: 1,188ft (200ft longer than HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier)
Height: 18 decks
Beam (width): 210ft or seven double deckers end to end
Weight: 236,857 tons
Passengers: 6,988Crew: 2,300
GO: WONDER OF THE SEAS
STAYING/GETTING THERE: A seven-night Western Mediterranean full-board cruise costs from £569pp, departing Barcelona on June 12 and including stops at Palma de Mallorca, Provence, Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples.