Royal Caribbean International has reached out to guests booked on what will be the last sailing of Wonder of the Seas while she holds the title of World’s Largest Cruise Ship with itinerary modifications, including swapping the order of ports and changing one port of call altogether.
Though the impacted sailing is almost a year away, this gives guests plenty of time to adjust their travel plans if they prefer.
Itinerary Changes for Wonder of the Seas
Guests booked on the January 21, 2024 sailing of Wonder of the Seas have been notified via email of a change in the itinerary.
“To provide you with the best experience, we’ve swapped the order we’ll visit Philipsburg, St. Maarten, and Perfect Day at CocoCay. We’ve also replaced our visit to Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas with a visit to San Juan, Puerto Rico,” the email explained.
The revised 7-night, Eastern Caribbean itinerary has the mega-ship now leaving Port Canaveral on Sunday, January 21, 2024, with two days at sea right away, giving guests plenty of time to explore and enjoy the vessel. The call to Philipsburg will then be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m on Wednesday, January 24, followed immediately by San Juan from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, January 25.
Friday is then another day at sea, and the ship will visit Perfect Day at CocoCay, the cruise line’s private island destination in The Bahamas, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 27, before returning to Port Canaveral Sunday morning.
The original itinerary had the ship visiting CocoCay on the very first day of the cruise, followed by one day at sea, the visits to St. Thomas and St. Maarten, and finishing with two days at sea.
“Thanks for your understanding,” the email concludes. “We can’t wait to welcome you onboard Wonder of the Seas next year!”
Why Switch Ports?
There has been no explanation given for why the itinerary has been rearranged, but it is not unusual for cruise lines to make such changes.
Construction in the port area, crowded schedules compared to other vessels, dredging operations that affect harbor navigability, and other factors can all influence how a cruise ship’s itinerary may need to change, and all ports of call must be considered throughout the itinerary. This may mean an issue at just one port might cause changes for the entire 7-night cruise.
By making the itinerary change well in advance and informing passengers of the switch, however, everyone has plenty of time to adjust their expectations for a new port or altered visit, or to change their cruise plans altogether if preferred.
Last Sailing for the Largest Ship
This particular cruise will be of interesting significance for Wonder of the Seas, which currently holds the title of the World’s Largest Cruise ship. Weighing in at 236,857 gross tons, with 18 decks and the capacity to welcome 5,734 guests at double occupancy and as many as 6,988 passengers when fully booked, the ship holds that title with distinction.
On January 27, 2024, however – one day before Wonder of the Seas returns to complete the now-altered cruise – that title will be taken over by Icon of the Seas as she welcomes guests for her inaugural sailing.
The new ship will be larger, heavier, and have a greater capacity than Wonder of the Seas. While the final statistics are not yet confirmed, Icon of the Seas is projected to weigh in at 250,800 gross tons with 20 decks, and a double occupancy guest capacity of 5,610 passengers. When fully booked with all berths filled, the new ship should be able to welcome as many as 7,600 guests.
The two huge ships may meet up on their respective voyages, as Icon of the Seas‘ first sailing is also an Eastern Caribbean sailing, though the ship will be homeported from Miami rather than Port Canaveral.