Visit our travel agent friends at MEI Travel

Wonder of the Seas Live Blog - Day 1 - Embarkation

05 Mar 2022
Matt Hochberg

The day is finally here to see Wonder of the Seas for the first time!

I drove down to Fort Lauderdale the night before the cruise and stayed for the second time at the Hyatt House Fort Lauderdale Airport - South & Cruise Port. Great hotel with a large kitchenette at a reasonable price very close to the cruise port.

Before I could board Wonder of the Seas, Royal Caribbean invited me to check out Royal Caribbean’s Entertainment Production Studio.

Located in North Miami at the Florida International University campus, this is where Royal Caribbean trains all if its performers, produces all of the costumes for its shows, and preps everything before it reaches a cruise ship.

I was not able to photograph inside the building, but the tour of the facility showed off just how massive an entertainment operation Royal Caribbean has across its ships.

We saw one cast learning the lines for Hairspray on Symphony of the Seas, and another cast ready to join Anthem of the Seas to perform We Will Rock You.

After our walkthrough, it was time to get to Wonder of the Seas!

Boarding was pretty simple and straightforward, and I was able to get onboard without any delay.

Walking onto Wonder of the Seas, it became evident very quickly that while this is the fifth Oasis Class ship, it is anything but a carbon copy of her sisters.

Royal Caribbean has enhanced, revamped, and in some cases, completely replaced certain venues.

While new cruise ships will always have a certain level of glitz that endears them to just about anyone off the bat, I noticed a few impressive changes that really separates the ship from her sisters.

As I mentioned in the preview blog post for this sailing, I was invited by Royal Caribbean to be their guest onboard.  As such, I had a few meetings to attend onboard the first day. Combined with my own desire to "see it all", I ran around the ship a lot on the first day.

I shared photos of my walkthrough of the major new changes and additions, but I wanted to talk about the areas that really stood out to me.

The revamped pool deck changes are fantastic, and I like how they've added stadium seating in the middle. 

I can appreciate the addition of a movie screen too, although it can sometimes get a little loud (to be fair, the holds true on other ships).

Thanks to some friends, I was able to walk through the new Suite Neighborhood and you can tell quickly this has been rethought completely.

Walking through the hallways of the Suite Neighborhood, it just feels like different.  If I was a suite guest, I could appreciate the sense that you're somewhere special.

And then there's the Suite Sundeck, which is sprawling and offers the right blend of shade and sun.  Compared to other suite decks that are usually all in the sun, there's a good amount of shade and seating that I think make this a home run.

The Wonder Playscape looks to be a fun area for kids, but I'll need to reserve judgement until my kids show up next week.

Speaking of kids, the best news as a parent is Adventure Ocean is back to "normal" in the sense of not limiting reservations.

I spoke with the staff, who told me the 6-12 year old group can handle around 120 kids and assuming they don't reach that number, can take as many kids as they can.  

The reason why they aren't doing limited capacity in Adventure Ocean is because Royal Caribbean joined the CDC's "highly vaccinated" program, which requires at least 95% of passengers be vaccinated.

One other area that really got revamped is the Windjammer. This is the largest Windjammer in the fleet, and it is indeed massive.

Wrapping around the entire back deck, the Windjammer offers a ton of seating and an equal amount of food stations. Plus, I love the aesthetics of the space.

For dinner, I went to the new Mason Jar restaurant.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but the food and drink at Mason Jar blew me away. Between the charred watermelon salad, Nashville hot chicken, chicken pot pie, and fried Oreos, I just couldn't get enough.

The specialty cocktails are also really good, especially the PB&J Old Fashioned. 

But I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the country band at the Mason Jar, which perform at night and add a new dimension to the dining experience.

If you're at the bar, you get a full country band experience to sing and drink to, with some even dancing.  But if you're eating dinner, you're sufficiently far enough away to hear the music but not interrupt the dining experience.

I'm going back for brunch in a few days to sample that, and I suspect I'll be at the bar just for the music too.

It was a full first day onboard Wonder of the Seas, and I wrapped up my evening with some drinks at the pub on the Royal Promenade before calling it a night.

Tomorrow is a sea day.

Stray observations

There are 4200 passengers onboard this sailing.

I noticed the cabin attendant carts have a new look to them.

There are evidently 4 of these astronauts around the ship. So far, I've found two of them.

My shower (standard balcony room) has two shower heads, although I couldn't figure out how to make the top showerhead work.

Some inaugural cruise swag!

Near the bed is a functional lamp with USB plugs. I love this small addition!