Did Royal Caribbean's CEO hint Wonder of the Seas could be deployed to Galveston?

26 Jan 2024
Elizabeth Wright

If you read between the lines, it sounds like Royal Caribbean might have plans for an even bigger cruise ship to move to Galveston.


Royal Caribbean first deployed Allure of the Seas to Galveston in November 2022. Shortly thereafter, the second Oasis Class ship was replaced by Harmony of the Seas, and recently, Michael Bayley, Royal Caribbean International's President and CEO, hinted that the former largest cruise ship in the world, Wonder of the Seas, might be next. 

During a Q&A session with travel agents on Icon of the Seas, Bayley was asked if Royal would ever consider deploying an Icon Class ship to Galveston, as they've done "very well" with Allure and Harmony and want to show the company what they could do with an Icon Class vessel. 

To be clear, he did not announce or confirm anything.  However, he did allude to a possible future ship deployment. 

"It wasn't an accident that we built that 100 and whatever it was million dollar terminal in Galveston, Texas, which, by the way, is our highest-rated terminal experience in the world," he said. 

Top of the terminal

"And if you just, you know, if you just think forward a few more years, I WONDER what we're going to do next. I'm not giving away our strategy here because it's pretty simple, but if you can just use your imagination, you know, big things are coming." 

It was clear that when he said "Wonder," he was emphasizing the word to the audience, to which they responded in cheer!

As of now, Harmony of the Seas is available to book from Galveston through March 2026. No other deployments have been announced beyond that date.

Wonder of the Seas is unlike any of the previous five Oasis Class ships

Wonder of the Seas in Labadee

While you'll still find Oasis Class favorites onboard, such as Central Park, the Boardwalk, a Flowrider, AquaTheater, and Riding Tide Bar, the ship is slightly different than her younger sisters. 

Truthfully, she — and Utopia of the Seas — can be thought of as "Oasis Plus" ships. While Wonder shares many of the same bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues as Oasis, Allure, Harmony, and Symphony of the Seas, significant enhancements were made to her design and layout.

First, the cruise line added a brand-new neighborhood, the Suite Neighborhood, which is only accessible to those staying in suites. It's where they will find the Coastal Kitchen restaurant and suite concierge, as well as the Suite Sun Deck that's complete with a private bar, plunge pool with in-pool lounges, and a variety of comfy seating options. 

Suite Sun Deck on Wonder of the Seas

Additionally, whereas on other Oasis Class ships, many Loft Suites face the Sports Court, this isn't the case on Wonder, as this area is occupied by the Suite Sun Deck. Instead, the majority of suites have an ocean view. 

Royal Caribbean also significantly increased the size of the Windjammer Marketplace onboard. It can be found on Deck 15 and is situated around the entire Boardwalk Neighborhood. 

Adults will also appreciate how the Solarium is completely closed and climate-controlled. However, it is important to note that, while most Oasis Class ships have two cantilevered hot tubs near the Solarium, there's only one on Wonder, as the space for the second was used for The Vue Bar. 

Wonder of the Seas pool deck

When it comes to the pool deck, it's much more colorful than those found onboard Allure, Harmony, and Symphony of the Seas. Wonder has a Caribbean-style pool deck, which means that you will find a Lime and Coconut Bar, private casitas, and even a brand-new large television that hangs over the Central Park Neighborhood

At the aft of the ship, guests will notice that there's only one FlowRider. The second one was replaced with the Wonder Playscape area, which is essentially an underwater-themed climbing playground for children. Moreover, the mini-golf course was moved and rethemed. 

Read more: Wonder of the Seas vs other Oasis Class ships

Galveston's brand-new terminal opened in late 2022

New Galveston terminal

Terminal 3 cost Royal Caribbean $125 million and is the cruise line's dedication to the Galveston cruise market. 

In total, the building measures 161,300 and has numerous high-tech features, including mobile check-in and facial recognition to help expedite guest arrival. 

Moreover, it's a LEED-certified terminal (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), meaning that it is environmentally responsible and uses resources efficiently.

Read more: I cruised Royal Caribbean from Galveston for the first time. Here's what a cruise from Texas is like

While you can cruise from the popular port cities of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or Tampa, Galveston helps make cruising to those living in Texas, as well as nearby states, more accessible

Galveston terminal drop off

Before this terminal opened, you couldn't find some of the world's largest ships in Texas. Now, however, cruising on Oasis (and, potentially, even Icon) Class ships is easier than ever, especially if you aren't located near Florida. 

There are some limitations. First, newer ships usually are not sent here. Allure, for instance, while a jam-packed Oasis Class ship, isn't brand-new and never underwent any sort of Royal Amplification. 

Harmony of the Seas, which replaced Allure in 2023, is the newest ship to sail from Galveston for Royal Caribbean to date. 

Wonder of the Seas

Second, since Galveston is located on the Gulf of Mexico, you won't find any Eastern Caribbean itineraries. Western Caribbean cruises tend to be more port-intensive, too. 

While Bayley didn't give any specifics regarding when we could see Wonder move to Texas, it's exciting to think one of the largest Oasis Class vessels could call Texas home! 

Elizabeth graduated from New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute with her M.A. in Journalism in May 2023. Growing up, she had the privilege of traveling frequently with her family and fell in love with cruising after sailing on the Oasis of the Seas her freshman year of high school. She wanted to pursue a career that highlighted her passion for travel and strengths as a writer. 

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