Thu. Feb 9th, 2023
I just sailed aboard the world’s largest cruise ship. Here are the 9 features that have made it my favorite vessel.3

I sailed on Royal Caribbean’s newest mega cruise ship, the Wonder of the Seas.
The 9,288-person vessel has a variety of activities for intergenerational families.
These are my 9 favorite amenities and activities from the exciting neighborhoods to the thrilling show.

In December 2022, I sailed on Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship.
It’s now my favorite cruise ship I’ve traveled on for work.
And much to my surprise, all of the typical complaints I have about cruise didn’t apply to this behemoth floating city.
My biggest qualm with cruise vacations is that it’s often easy to feel trapped and bored. I can only sit by the pool for so many hours before feeling tireless.
And as much as I love staring at the ocean, I don’t think I could do it for hours while sitting inside a cruise ship lounge.
But it’s hard to feel stuck on a ship designed to entertain up to 9,288 occupants, guests and crew included.
The Wonder of the Seas’ 18 decks are filled with amenities for every intergenerational family, whether it be children with boundless energy or adults who want some quiet relaxation.
I can’t speak for children or older adults, but these were my 9 favorite amenities aboard the mega cruise ship as a solo adult passenger who was new to the brand.
1. This isn’t an amenity as much as it’s something that I appreciated: Walking around the 1,188-foot-long cruise ship felt like exploring a massive amusement park.
Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class Wonder of the Seas is a behemoth of a vessel.
The floating city has 24 elevators, 2,867 staterooms, and eight neighborhoods.
And these neighborhoods are all vastly different from its counterparts.
No matter where I went, I was amused and captivated by the variety of sights and spaces, many of which looked nothing like a cruise ship.
There were so many attractions pulling me in different directions, I had a hard time picking where to begin.
I was consistently lost even after two nights at sea.
But there’s something enjoyable about learning your way around a ship this large. It kept my short trip entertaining, busy, and exhausting.
2. To feed up to 7,084 guests, the ship has over 20 dining venues.
Unfortunately, the majority of these come at an extra cost to travelers.
But there’s options for all picky eaters, whether they like teppanyaki, seafood, Southern comfort, or Johnny Rockets.
The seafood-forward Hooked Seafood served up a satisfying and fresh meal. It didn’t blow my mind but I had no complaints.
Unfortunately, the new-to-the-brand Southern restaurant Mason Jar fell short of offering a satisfying meal.
But the option is there for travelers who can’t go a few days without gumbo and fried chicken.
3. The complimentary food venues were just as enjoyable as the specialty restaurants.
The Italian pizza shop and open-air build-your-own taco bar were both decent fast-casual eateries.
While the food wasn’t outstanding, these options were great for grabbing a quick mid-day snack.
But to my surprise, the buffet was the best I had ever seen on a cruise ship.
Some of the most memorable bites were at this buffet, something I never thought would happen aboard a cruise ship.
There were plenty of options like international fare, classic hits, and seafood. The latter — some raw — was just as craveable as the options at Hooked Seafood.
The buffet was consistent. And in retrospect, I would’ve been content eating most of my meals here.
4. Like the buffet, the pool deck was the best I’ve ever seen on a cruise ship.
The outdoor decor and amenities were painted in different colors, creating an overwhelmingly colorful spectacle.
There were more outdoor pools, water slides, and hot tubs than I’ve ever seen on a pool deck.
It was sprawling and speckled with these bright eye-catching structures.
And I never struggled to find a spot in the hot tub or by the pool, although it’s worth noting that I was traveling on a non-revenue sailing exclusive for reporters and travel agents. The ship was not at capacity.
The three water slides provided a fleeting thrill I hadn’t experienced since childhood …
… while the large water playground provided plenty of fun for young children and their families.
During the day, it looked like the busiest hub aboard the cruise ship.
5. The Wonder of the Seas has enough outdoor activities to occupy a family’s entire afternoon.
The outdoor deck above the pools had a dry slide, playground, mini-golf course, surf simulator, sports court, and zipline.
I saw young children climbing the playground, families at the mini-golf course, and a lone person testing their balance at the surf simulator.
As a traveler who’s easily bored, I appreciated all of these options. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to try out these activities. The rest of the ship kept me busy enough.
And if I had another day or two aboard the ship, I would’ve been first in line for the zip line.
6. The Central Park neighborhood felt like a gentle reprieve from the rest of the ship.
Here, there were no thrilling slides or rambunctious bars blasting loud music.
Instead, the Central Park neighborhood was a peaceful escape.
The neighborhood is a walkway lined with plants, dining, shopping, and music (sometimes live).
The ambiance, restaurants with outdoor tables, and foliage made Central Park look more like an outdoor mall in California than a cruise ship.
And when the live musicians came out to perform, the neighborhood transformed into a peaceful outdoor music venue.
7. There were plenty of bars aboard the ship.
I tend to stay away from cruise ship bars — I was here for work after all. But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the watering hole options.
And there were plenty aboard the Wonder of the Seas from a bar operated by robotic arms …
… to a karaoke bar …
… to the Rising Tide, a bar that rises and lowers between two decks throughout the day.
There were plenty of places for people to quietly enjoy a cocktail, watch the latest football game over a pint, or even drink and dance to a live band.
8. The Boardwalk neighborhood was nearly identical to a real boardwalk.
Here, the wood-planked floors, bright lights from the hot dog stand …
… and temptation from the candy and ice cream store brought back childhood memories of walking down boardwalks with my family.
Like the water slide, it was a sense of nostalgia I hadn’t experienced in years.
And this instantly made Boardwalk one of my favorite neighborhoods.
Like other decks, there were plenty of open-air family activities from the carousel that grounded the neighborhood to the two large rock climbing walls.
9. The Boardwalk ended at the Aqua Theater, home of the nighttime “inTENse” show.
Let’s be real: Cruise ship shows are almost never thrilling.
Some cruise lines — Royal Caribbean included — have seen plenty of success doing Broadway musicals.
But “inTENse” was the most unique show I had ever seen on land and at sea.
The divers, tightrope walkers, changing stage, and waterworks made this an exhilarating performance.
And it’ll be a hard show for other cruise ships or cruise lines to top this heart-pounding nighttime event.
Read the original article on Business Insider

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