World’s Largest Cruise Ship Completes Handover and Departs
Royal Caribbean Group is celebrating the final handover of its newest cruise ship, which is also the largest cruise ship in the world. The fifth ship of the Oasis class, the Wonder of the Seas, departed Marseille, France on January 27 with her AIS showing the vessel is heading to Cyprus before a scheduled repositioning to Florida. Her maiden voyage is scheduled for March 4 from Port Everglades to the Caribbean.
The Wonder of the Seas was built at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, and after completion departed the yard at the beginning of November 2021. During her time in Marseille, the vessel received some finishing touches to her passenger amenities, including assembly of the large waterslides and other features.
At 236,857 gross tons, the new cruise ship is nearly five percent larger than the first Oasis class cruise ship that Royal Caribbean introduced more than a decade ago and even slightly larger than the fourth ship of the class that was also built in France and introduced three years ago. The Wonder of the Seas is 1,188 feet in length and has an increased passenger capacity with a maximum of 6,988 passengers in addition to 2,300 crew.
Construction of the cruise ship had begun with steel cutting in April 2019 and it was anticipated that she would be delivered in 2021. The cruise line intended to home port the ship in Shanghai as part of its growth in the Chinese market. Construction was delayed by the pandemic, and in April 2021 they revised her deployment plan reporting she would sail from Shanghai between March and November 2022, before transitioning to Hong Kong.
However, with the Chinese market remaining closed to international cruises and much of Asia limiting cruise travel, Royal Caribbean now plans to sail her for a few weeks in the Caribbean, before returning to the Mediterranean for the summer and home porting year-round starting November 2022 from Port Canaveral, Florida. In a related development, Royal Caribbean also announced this week that it will reposition its cruise ship the Spectrum of the Seas from Hong Kong to Singapore six months earlier than planned in part due to COVID-19 restriction in China and the anticipation that Singapore will soon open the cruise market to international destinations.
Like all modern cruise ships, the Wonder of the Seas has a broad range of amenities for its passengers. As with the prior ships of the class, she has different zones for entertainment, accommodations, and dining with features including a waterslide, outdoor theater, and a zip line. New to the Wonder of the Seas is a U.S. southern style restaurant, cantilevered pool bar, and a special zone for suite passengers complete with a lounge, restaurant, and private outdoor deck space.
In the coming weeks, Royal Caribbean is also scheduled to take delivery from Chantiers de l’Atlantique of the third cruise ship in the Edgr series for Celebrity Cruises. The 140,600 gross ton Celebrity Beyond will enter service at the end of April 2022 sailing in the Mediterranean for the summer before repositioning to the Caribbean. Royal Caribbean also has a fourth Edge class ship due for delivery in late 2023 and a sixth Oasis class ship on order with the French shipyard due for delivery in mid-2024.