It’s always exciting when a new cruise ship arrives for her inaugural sailings, and the excitement is bigger than ever as Fort Lauderdale welcomes the largest ship in the world – Wonder of the Seas – as she reaches Port Everglades for the first time on February 20, 2022.
Welcome Home, Wonder of the Seas
This ship’s debut has been a long time coming, as her construction and initial sailings have been delayed multiple times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the moment has finally arrived, and the ship is now arriving in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with full fanfare.
As a cruise ship arrives home for the first time, it is customary that she is escorted by fireboats and given special attention, such as ship horn greetings from other vessels in port.
For Wonder of the Seas, eager ship watchers have been advised of the best viewing locations close to the port, including Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park, at the south end of Fort Lauderdale Beach. Guests can also view Wonder of the Seas‘ arrival via the Port Everglades webcam.
Wonder of the Seas was not originally scheduled to debut in the U.S. at all, as her initial voyages were planned for China in 2021. Those plans were changed throughout the pandemic, however, as construction delays and travel restrictions impacted cruise ship deployments throughout the world.
Instead, Wonder of the Seas is spending her first few months in Florida, offering 5- to 7-night Eastern Caribbean and Western Caribbean itineraries, all of which also include Royal Caribbean’s private island, CocoCay.
In May, the ship will head back to Europe for the summer season, sailing 7-night Western Mediterranean voyages with passengers able to embark either at Barcelona, Spain or Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy.
After the summer season, Wonder of the Seas will return to the U.S. in November to her new homeport, Port Canaveral, to offer 6- and 7-night Caribbean itineraries.
The World’s Largest Cruise Ship
The largest ship in the world, the Oasis-class Wonder of the Seas takes that title from her sister ship, Symphony of the Seas, but just a narrow margin.
Whereas Symphony weighs in at 228,081 gross tons, Wonder is slightly heavier at 236,857 gross tons. Both ships have the same double-occupancy passenger capacity at 5,518 guests, but Wonder of the Seas is equipped with more multi-berth cabins and can host up to a maximum of 6,988 guests, where as Symphony of the Seas can only set sail with a maximum of 6,680 passengers.
Wonder of the Seas also hosts 100 more crew members than her sister ship, is roughly three feet longer than Symphony, and is home to even more amazing features to bring a sense of wonder to all who sail on her, including four headliner production shows that feature outstanding casts of performers and thrilling entertainment for all ages to enjoy.
Wonder of the Seas was constructed in St. Nazaire, France, before moving on to interior outfitting in Marseilles. She was officially delivered to Royal Caribbean International on January 27, 2022, and at that time, Jason Liberty, president and CEO of the Royal Caribbean Group, said:
“Wonder of the Seas will energize cruising in a bolder and bigger way. Adding this ship to our already best-in-class fleet elevates the company in continuing to lead the industry with new features and innovation.”
While crew members began to arrive aboard Wonder of the Seas while she was still being outfitted, the ship also took on additional crew members at Limassol, Cyprus, on January 31.
Finally, she set sail from Cadiz, Spain, on February 10, 2022, for her maiden transatlantic crossing, which will culminate today with her arrival in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Cruise Hive wishes Wonder of the Seas, and all who sail on her, many wonderful voyages to come!