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Wonder of the Seas begins sea trials

In:
20 Aug 2021

The world's largest cruise ship is one giant step closer to her launch.


Photo by Bernard Biger / Chantiers de l'Atlantique

Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas departed the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Naizaire, France to begin a 4-day voyage to test the vessel out.

According to the shipyard, seven dozen tests will be carried out onboard to test out the ship's performance.

The shipyard will evaluate the ship's speed, fuel consumption, stability, noise and vibration measurements to ensure the ship is operating correctly.


Photos by Christophe Dedieu

The plan is for Wonder of the Seas to spend 4 days at sea, and return to Saint-Naizaire on Tuesday, August 24 with the tide at around 5am.

Wonder of the Seas will become the largest cruise ship world, and can accommodate 6,800 passengers and 2,400 crew members. She has a length of 362 meters and a width of 66 meters for a weight of 230,000 tons and a draft of over 9 meters.

She is the fifth Oasis Class cruise ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet, and has 100 cabins more than Symphony of the Seas.


Photo by Gwen

This is the third Oasis Class ship built at Chantiers de l’Atlantique in Saint-Naizaire, France (Harmony and Symphony of the Seas).

Wonder's debut was pushed back from 2021 to 2022 due to the global health crisis. The impact of worldwide port and shipyard closures has created delays in the construction schedule and delivery of Wonder. 

Wonder of the Seas will sail from Shanghai and is scheduled to begin cruises in Spring 2022.

What are sea trials?

Sea trials are tests of a cruise ship's navigational and technical systems, which are the final part of cruise ship construction prior to delivery.

Everything from the ship's propulsion, to navigation, to engines are tested before it can be ready to join the fleet.

Sea trials range in duration, sometimes one or two sessions is common.

The sea trials are conducted with a combination of Royal Caribbean crew members, as well as shipyard workers. 

Royal Caribbean's new Oasis Class ship will have an all suites neighborhood

In:
20 Apr 2021

Wonder of the Seas may be the fifth Oasis Class ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet, but she is going to have a significant addition which her sister vessels did not have.

Royal Caribbean made Wonder of the Seas sailings available to book, and announced the major features guests can expect onboard.

Wonder of the Seas will receive an eight neighborhood, which is the term for how the cruise ship is differentiated for easier navigation by guests.

In addition to the seven neighborhoods found on other Oasis Class ships, Wonder of the Seas will feature an eighth neighborhood: the Suite Neighborhood.

Deck 17 Deck Plan from Wonder of the Seas

Royal Caribbean describes this as an area exclusively for suite guests onboard:

"The new neighborhood provides a private experience like no other, featuring world-class dining, a new sun deck for unparalleled ocean views, a private lounge and restaurant and much more. Moreover, loved ones can make it the getaway of a lifetime when they book the expansive and beloved Ultimate Family Suite."

Existing Oasis Class ships have had certain parts of the ship reserved for suite guests, but never a formal neighborhood just for them.

Based on released deck plans, it appears this neighborhood could be part of Decks 17 and 18.

While Wonder of the Seas is the first Oasis class ship to have an all suites neighborhood, it is not the first Royal Caribbean ship to offer a suite enclave.

Spectrum of the Seas, a Quantum Ultra Class ship that launched in 2019, has something called The Suite Club.

Spectrum of the Seas Golden Suite

Spectrum was also designed for the Chinese cruise market, and features 36 Golden Suites and 106 Silver Suites. The Golden Suites and Silver Suites have exclusive access, elevator, as well as a private restaurant and lounge. 

While Royal Caribbean has not revealed the full set of suite perks and amenities yet, Spectrum of the Seas had a different type of suite offerings, including the top tier Gold Suites. Gold Suite guests may access The Balcony, a private outdoor space with the best views of the sea; and The Boutique, which can be reserved for private shopping, intimate parties and wine tastings. Travelers in suites are also provided with a dedicated team of Royal Concierges who provide excellent value-added services, including concierge services, Royal embarkation, enhanced food and beverage experiences, and exclusive room service.

Wonder of the Seas will set sail from Shanghai and Hong Kong, China in 2022.

Currently under construction in Saint-Nazaire, France, Wonder will be the world’s largest cruise ship and the first of its kind to call China home when it arrives in March 2022.

The ship’s inaugural season cruises are now open for bookings.

Royal Caribbean opens Wonder of the Seas cruises for booking

In:
19 Apr 2021

You can now book a room on the world's next largest cruise ship in the world.

Wonder of the Seas sailings from China are now available for booking on Royal Caribbean's website, beginning with March 2022 sailings.

The new sailings are loaded on the cruise line's website, for dates between March 2022 and January 2023.

Wonder of the Seas will offer cruises from both Hong Kong and Shangai (Boshan), China.

Between March and November, guests can sail roundtrip from Shanghai to Japan. Wonder will transition to warmer climates and homeport in Hong Kong, November 2022 through January 2023.

"China continues to be one of the most important parts of the world for Royal Caribbean. We have won the trust of our partners and the favor of travelers and built on that significantly since we first set sail 12 years ago. By introducing Wonder of the Seas and the iconic Oasis Class to China, our strong commitment to the market’s growth is reaffirmed yet again for years to come," said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.

With a gross tonnage of 236,857, the ship is 362 meters long and 64 meters wide, and it features a total of 18 decks and 2,867 staterooms to accommodate up to 6,988 guests. 

Wonder will be the first of its kind to be designed with eight neighborhoods, introducing the new Suite Neighborhood alongside returning favorites Central Park, the open-air AquaTheater, sporting a new look and where jaw-dropping, high-diving acrobatic and aquatic performances take place; Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea; and a 25-meter zip line 10 decks above the Boardwalk neighborhood.

Eight Distinct Neighborhoods & Highlights

  • Central Park – The first living park at sea, home to more than 20,000 plants — not to mention some of the fleet’s most coveted specialty restaurants and high-end boutiques. Travelers can unwind in one of the many nooks tucked away in this open-air oasis during the day or drop by in the evening for live music under the stars.
  • Boardwalk – Family friendly fun abounds on Boardwalk, a stretch at the end of the ship that is outside and always buzzing with activity. The can’t-miss features and experiences include twin rock-climbing walls, a classic carousel and deck-defying AquaTheater shows.
  • Pool & Sports Zone – It is all about the action in this neighborhood. Travelers can catch waves on the fan-favorite FlowRider, soak up rays in any one of the pools and whirlpools, soar while on the 10-deck-high zip line, and brave a 10-story plunge down Ultimate Abyss. Friends, old and new, and families can also go head-to-head on the basketball or volleyball courts or tee off in a round of mini golf.
  • Entertainment Place – Where world-class performers light up the stage night after night in headline shows and original productions at the Royal Theater, breathtaking ice-skating spectaculars and more. Travelers can even choose to brave the stage themselves at Spotlight Karaoke by belting out their favorite tunes in front of a live audience.
  • Royal Promenade – The pulsing heart of the ship, where shopping, dining and entertainment come together. In the morning, guests can drop by for a cup of tea or coffee. As the day goes on, they can watch and dance as the signature neighborhood comes alive with pop-up musicians and performers.
  • Vitality Spa & Fitness Center – Here is the place to charge up the day or recharge the spiritThe dedicated spa and fitness center offers a lineup of dynamic exercise classes within the full-scale gym and indulgent spa treatments designed for the ultimate in relaxation. It’s also home to Vitality Café, which serves up a menu of light and tasty fare like nutrient-rich smoothies and fresh sandwiches.
  • Youth Zone – Even the littlest explorers will find plenty of adventure just for them. Home to the award-winning Adventure Ocean youth program and a nursery for infants and toddlers, this colorful, action-packed area is full of innovative common spaces, educational activities, games and other thrills. Young adults have their dedicated teens spaces too, where adults and younger kids can’t cramp their style.
  • Suite Neighborhood – Wonder is the first Oasis Class ship with an eighth neighborhood – one just for suite guests. The new neighborhood provides a private experience like no other, featuring world-class dining, a new sun deck for unparalleled ocean views, a private lounge and restaurant and much more. Moreover, loved ones can make it the getaway of a lifetime when they book the expansive and beloved Ultimate Family Suite.

"It will be a remarkable moment to see years of partnership realized when the industry’s newest, most innovative ship becomes Shanghai’s new city skyline and takes cruise travel beyond imagination."

Wonder of the Seas will be the first Oasis Class cruise ship to sail from Asia, and she will immediately head there once she is delivered to the company.

Up until now, all of Royal Caribbean's cruise ships have been sailing out of North America to the Caribbean almost exclusively.  Royal Caribbean has offered a few summer seasons from Europe for various ships, and attempted to sail Oasis of the Seas out of New Jersey in 2020 and 2021.

Wonder of the Seas is under construction at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.

This is the third Oasis Class ship built at Chantiers de l’Atlantique in Saint-Naizaire, France (Harmony and Symphony of the Seas).

Her debut was pushed back from 2021 to 2022 due to the global health crisis. The impact of worldwide port and shipyard closures has created delays in the construction schedule and delivery of Wonder. 

She is now scheduled for deliver in Spring 2022.

First look at Wonder of the Seas deck plans

In:
16 Apr 2021

We have our first look at what is (likely) the deck plans for Wonder of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean's next new cruise ship that is still under construction will be the cruise line's fifth Oasis Class cruise ship and her deck plans are our first look at what the ship may offer guests.

Our friends at Singapore Cruise Society first discovered the new deck plans. 

Wonder of the Seas will cruise in China and be the first Oasis Class ship to sail from Asia.

It is being reported that Royal Caribbean will release more information on the new ship in a conference broadcasted from China on April 20, 2021. 

Keep in mind these deck plans may (and likely will) change.

Here is a look at the deck plans as they are now.

Deck 3

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Deck 4

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Deck 5

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Deck 6

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Deck 7

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Deck 8

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Deck 9

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Deck 10

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Deck 11

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Deck 12

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Deck 14

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Deck 15

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Deck 16

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Deck 17

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Deck 18

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Read moreWhy are new cruise ships still being built?

Wonder of the Seas is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2022. She was originally scheduled to be delivered in 2021, but was delayed due to the global health crisis.

Under construction in France, Wonder of the Seas had to be delayed in order to spread out spending. She is still scheduled to sail exclusively in China.

The new cruise ship was floated out in September 2020, but Royal Caribbean has not released itineraries for Wonder of the Seas to book.

Royal Caribbean updates new cruise ship delivery schedule

In:
01 Mar 2021

The global health crisis has wreaked havoc with Royal Caribbean's plans, including its schedule of new cruise ships.

One of the big questions throughout the cruise industry shutdown has been what impact will there be on new cruise ship orders.

As part of Royal Caribbean Group's fourth quarter 2020 earnings filing, the company included an updated schedule for new cruise ship deliveries.

For a while we have known Odyssey of the Seas was delayed until 2021, and Wonder of the Seas delayed until 2022. But what about the rest of the schedule?

Prior to the global health crisis, Royal Caribbean had orders placed for a number of new cruise ships, including a brand new class of ships, known as the Icon Class.

As of December 31, 2020 the schedule for new ship order delivery is as follows:

"Wonder of the Seas and our sixth Oasis-class ship, which are expected to be delivered in the first quarter of 2022 and the second quarter of 2024, respectively, and the first three ships of a new generation, known as our Icon-class, which are expected to be delivered in the third quarter of 2023, and the second quarters of 2025 and 2026, respectively."

  • Odyssey of the Seas delivery in 1st Quarter 2021
  • Wonder of the Seas delivery in 1st Quarter 2022
  • Unnamed first Icon class ship delivery in 3rd Quarter 2023
  • Unnamed sixth Oasis class ship delivery in 2nd Quarter 2024
  • Unnamed second Icon class ship delivery in 2nd Quarter 2025
  • Unnamed third Icon class ship delivery in 2nd Quarter 2026

This filing confirms that orders are still in place for the three Icon Class ships, as well as a sixth unnamed Oasis-Class ship. Moreover, the original plans for these ship deliveries is essentially pushed back by a year across the board.

Read moreWhy are new cruise ships still being built?

In addition, the filing adds some details about the next new class of cruise ship.

Ever since Royal Caribbean announced the Icon Class would be its next-generation of cruise ship, details have been scarce.

The Icon Class ships will be built at Meyer Turku and be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and fuel cell technology.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is envisioned as the primary fuel for the new vessels, which would dramatically reduce or even eliminate emission of nitrogen oxide (NOX), sulphur oxide (SOX) and particulates, as well as cutting carbon dioxide (CO2). The ICON Class will also introduce fuel cell technology, which in combination with hull air lubrication means that the ships could potentially be some of the most fuel efficient cruise vessels ever constructed. 

With the new filing, we know its capacity will be 5,600. In the original announcement, Royal Caribbean said it would accommodate approximately 5,000 passengers. This would make the Icon class ships larger than the Quantum Class ships, but slightly smaller than the Oasis Class ships.

First look at AquaTheater on Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas

In:
15 Feb 2021

We have a first look of a photo from onboard Royal Caribbean's next new Oasis Class cruise ship.

Wonder of the Seas is under construction and slated to enter service sometime in 2022.

At the aft of the ship is the iconic AquaTheater, which is an outdoor ampitheater home to some of the best stage shows on any cruise ship.

Senior Vice President of Entertainment for Royal Caribbean International, Nick Weir, shared a photo on Twitter of the still under construction AquaTheater.

Photo by Nick Weir

While the venue is still being worked on, we can easily noticeable one of the most striking new features of the space, which is the enclosure around the very back of the space.

Read moreWhy are new cruise ships still being built?

Wonder of the Seas may be the fifth Oasis Class cruise ship, but Royal Caribbean is not "copying and pasting" her based on the previous vessels.

AquatTheater on Harmony of the Seas

From just the concept art, it is clear you can see structural differences to the ship when compared to existing Oasis Class ships.

Wonder of the Seas was originally slated to debut in 2021, but the global health crisis pushed those plans back and will now be delivered sometime in 2022.

Under construction in France, Wonder of the Seas had to be delayed in order to spread out spending. She is still scheduled to sail exclusively in China.

Read more5 plans Royal Caribbean will and won’t be able to do in 2021

The new cruise ship was floated out in September 2020, but there have been few updates regarding the ship since.

Royal Caribbean has not released itineraries for Wonder of the Seas to book, nor indicated when exactly in 2022 Wonder will start sailing yet.

Odyssey of the Seas will debut first, with a spring 2021 delivery.

5 plans Royal Caribbean will and won’t be able to do in 2021

In:
15 Dec 2020

Before the cruise industry shutdown due to the global health crisis, Royal Caribbean had big plans for 2021 and like so many other things in life, their plans had to be changed.

Much of Royal Caribbean's big ticket spending had to be paused in order to conserve cash and be as fiscally responsible as possible.

In 2021, there are still some plans that will go ahead and others that have been delayed.  Here is a look at what we can and cannot expect from Royal Caribbean next year.

Still happening

New cruise ship: Odyssey of the Seas

Photo by Jeroen Houtman

Delayed from launching in 2020, Royal Caribbean's next new cruise ship will instead be delivered in 2021.

Odyssey of the Seas is under construction at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany and will be the cruise line's second Quantum Ultra Class ship.

Originally Odyssey of the Seas was going to start cruises in November 2020, but a combination of Royal Caribbean's financial turmoil and issues at the shipyard contributed to a delay.

Instead, she is scheduled to be delivered in Spring 2021, with her first sailings in April 2021.

Galveston terminal construction beginning

Just like Odyssey of the Seas, the new cruise terminal in Galveston was scheduled to begin construction in 2020, but is now scheduled to begin on April 1, 2021.

The new Terminal 3 in Galveston will be built on 10 acres of land at Pier 10, and will be used exclusively by Royal Caribbean.

The new cruise terminal is the linchpin in Royal Caribbean's plans to bring an Oasis Class cruise ship to the Galveston cruise market.

According to the Port of Galveston Trustees, Royal Caribbean asked to delay the start of construction by a year, and is "very much insistent" that they will begin work in 2021.

Likely not happening

Antigua Beach Club

In late 2019, Royal Caribbean announced a new kind of development that would be a sort of small scale private enclave for cruise guests.

The Royal Beach Club was described as the ultimate beach experience, which would offer guests unique features and flavors of each destination.

The first Royal Beach Club was to be built in Antigua, which will open along a half-mile of beachfront near Fort James and was scheduled to open sometime in 2021.

Since everything shutdown in 2020, there has been absolutely no mention by the cruise line of the Antigua Beach Club, or any Royal Beach Club. Moreover, Royal Caribbean Group informed investors it would conserve cash by reducing capital spending through 2021.

"We have reduced our planned capital spending through 2021, which may negatively impact our execution of planned growth strategies, particularly as it relates to investments in our ships, technology, and our expansion of land-based developments."

So while Royal Caribbean has not provided any kind of official update on the fate of the Royal Beach Club, the likelihood of the Royal Beach Club project moving ahead for 2021 seems unlikely.

Ship upgrades

Just like the Beach Clubs, spending on ship upgrades also Royal Caribbean hit the pause button.

Once it became clear the shutdown was going to last a while, Royal Caribbean postponed its upcoming amplifications until further notice.

Two Royal Caribbean ships were scheduled to be upgraded in 2021 as part of the Royal Amplification process: Adventure of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas.

Planned upgrades for Allure of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas that were scheduled to take place in 2020 also never happened and are also on hold.

New cruise ship: Wonder of the Seas

Similar to Odyssey of the Seas, Royal Caribbean's next Oasis Class ship delivery was delayed.

Wonder of the Seas was originally scheduled to be delivered in 2021, but will instead be delivered sometime in 2022.

Under construction in France, Wonder of the Seas had to be delayed in order to spread out spending. She is still scheduled to sail exclusively in China.

Royal Caribbean trademarks names for possible venues on new cruise ships

In:
28 Oct 2020

Royal Caribbean Group's legal team was busy this week with a variety of new trademarks that sound like it could be names for new venues on its cruise ships.

Trademark registrations may not end up being used by the cruise line, but it does provide insight into what may be currently planned.

Four new trademarks have been filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office earlier this week:

Vue Bar

On October 23, a trademark was made for "Vue Bar" under the category of "cruise ship services".

Cask & Clipper

Another registration made on October 23 is for the "Cask & Clipper", which is filed under two categories:

  • Cruise ship services
  • Restaurant and bar services

Royal Caribbean's English-style pubs on its cruise ships tend to have names that combine two words in a similar style to Cask & Clipper.

Wonder Playscape

The trademark filing for "Wonder Playscape" sounds a lot like the name of a new play area on Wonder of the Seas cruise ship.

Wonder of the Seas will be Royal Caribbean's fifth Oasis Class cruise ship, which is set to debut in 2022 and sail from China.

The description for Wonder Playscape says, "Entertainment services in the nature of children's dry playscape attractions".

The trademark might correlate to a series of renderings for a newly imagined concept for families that popped up online. Or it could be something completely unrelated.

Cantina Fresca

The last trademark filing was made for something called "Cantina Fresca" and is described as "restaurant and bar services".

The name infers a Mexican inspired venue, of which Royal Caribbean has targeted this particular cuisine in the past with Sabor Modern Mexican and El Loco Fresh.

What do these trademarks mean?

Trademark applications are usually quite vague and do not indicate exactly how the cruise line will utilize them, if at all.

In fact, a lot of trademarks never get used for many reasons.

It is also worth noting these registrations are filed on behalf of the Royal Caribbean Group, which means they could be intended for a subsidiary cruise line that is not Royal Caribbean International.

Read moreWho owns Royal Caribbean?

Royal Caribbean has two cruise ships under construction set to debut in the next few years, Odyssey of the Seas and Wonder of the Seas. With new ships comes new opportunities to potentially introduce new venues that will help market a ship and differentiate it from other vessels.

In addition, the Icon Class cruise ships are also on the horizon in the next few years.

Japanese hibachi restaurant confirmed for Wonder of the Seas cruise ship

In:
05 Oct 2020

There are not many details about Royal Caribbean's next new Oasis Class cruise ship, but we can confirm one specialty restaurant that will be onboard.

Izumi Teppanyaki will be available onboard based on a social media post by the creator and mastermind behind Izumi specialty restaurants.

Chef Travis Kamiyama posted on social media that Izumi Teppanyaki will be added to the fifth Oasis Class ship.

Izumi has become one of Royal Caribbean's most popular and most widespread specialty restaurants, many new ships and ship refurbishments having an Izumi location onboard.

Izumi hibachi is a teppanyaki-style restaurant, which is sometimes referred to as a “Japanese steakhouse."  Made famous by Benihana restaurants, the experience combines cooking and service into one fun performance.

Izumi's teppan style dining has become a big hit with guests, and newer Izumi locations have seen more space dedicated to the hibachi side than the traditional sushi side of the restaurant.

On the other four Oasis Class ships, Izumi is split into two restaurants: the sushi side and the hibachi side. It is unclear yet if that setup will continue on Wonder of the Seas, or if the layout and/or location will change.

Wonder of the Seas will not join Royal Caribbean's fleet until sometime in 2022 and will sail from Shanghai and offer sailings around Asia.

Royal Caribbean has not released itineraries for Wonder of the Seas to book, nor indicated when exactly in 2022 Wonder will start sailing yet.

Drone photos of Wonder of the Seas under construction

In:
07 Sep 2020

Over the weekend, Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas reached an important milestone when she was floated out at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard.

Photos by @josselinchevessier

Josselin Chevessier took the opportunity to send up his drone to grab some great photos of the next world's largest cruise ship right before she transfered to the outfitting dock in  Saint-Nazaire, France.

The term "floated out" refers to the transition a cruise ship under construction makes when she starts off being built in a dry area, and then is transitioned to the ocean for the first time.

Using tug boats, Wonder of the Seas was moved into position from one area of the shipyard to another.

Now that Wonder of the Seas is floated out, much of the work to be done will focus on the ship's interior spaces.

Wonder of the Seas will not join Royal Caribbean's fleet until sometime in 2022 and will sail from Shanghai and offer sailings around Asia.

Royal Caribbean has not released itineraries for Wonder of the Seas to book, nor indicated when exactly in 2022 Wonder will start sailing yet.

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