Travel

How the World’s Largest Cruise Ship Was Built

How the World's Largest Cruise Ship Was Built

(CNN) — It has been preparing for three years, but the largest cruise ship in the world is finally ready to welcome passengers.

Measuring 1,188 feet, Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas was delivered last month and is due to begin its maiden voyage from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to the Caribbean on March 4.

The 18-deck cruise ship was built at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, and has a capacity of 6,988 guests and 2,300 crew.

Innovative ship

A rendering of the Wonder of the Seas, which is the largest cruise ship in the world.

Royal Caribbean

“We are thrilled to introduce guests around the world to Wonder of the Seas and its world-class features after a six-year process,” Mark Tamis, senior vice president of hotel operations at Royal Caribbean International told CNN Travel.

“From planning to delivery, we’ve used our expertise across Royal Caribbean, as well as incorporating input from our customers and feedback from travel partners to create something truly awe-inspiring.”

The ship will begin operating five- to seven-night cruises from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to the Caribbean in March before launching Western Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona and Rome in May.

wonder of the seas features eight quarters, one of which contains over 20,000 actual plants, and its onboard features include what’s described as the “tallest waterslide at sea”, as well as a 10-deck zipline and a huge movie screen by the swimming pool.

Covid disruptions

Wonder of the Seas during the start of her physical construction at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in France.

Wonder of the Seas during the start of her physical construction at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in France.

Bernard Biger/Chantiers de l’Atlantique/Royal Caribbean

“We have always prided ourselves on offering our passengers the best and most innovative ships to provide them with a truly extraordinary experience. Wonder encompasses all of this,” adds Tamis.

The ship was originally scheduled for delivery in 2021, but this was pushed back due to delays caused by the global pandemic.

The cruise industry has faced constant disruption over the past two years due to Covid-19. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Cruise travel pushed up at the highest risk level at the end of December, indicating that the risk of Covid-19 was “very high” due to an increase in infections among cruise passengers and crew after the emergence of the Omicron variant.
In January 2022, the health agency’s Covid guidance has become optional for a large number of cruise ships. This month, the CDC reduces the level of risk from level 4 to level 3, which means his advice is now that people should be fully up to date with their Covid vaccinations before travelling.

Welcome addition

Wonder of the Seas offers eight onboard quarters spread over 18 decks.

Wonder of the Seas offers eight onboard quarters spread over 18 decks.

Royal Caribbean

The CDC’s conditional navigation order rules, which finished on January 15required 95% of passengers and crew to be fully vaccinated to sail under most circumstances, while some cruise lines required vaccination of all passengers and crew.
The cruise line currently requires all guests Ages 12 and up must be fully vaccinated, while those over the age of two must submit a negative Covid-19 test before sailing. All guests aged two and over must be masked in most public indoor spaces.

The fifth and newest of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ships, Wonder of the Seas is one of many new cruise ships set to enter the seas in the coming weeks and months.

The Discovery Princess, the newest addition to the Princess Cruises fleet, has been handed over to the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.

Meanwhile, Disney Wish, the first new cruise ship built by Disney in ten years, is due for delivery this summer, while Silversea Cruises’ new luxury cruise ship, Silver Dawn, is set to debut in the spring.

CNN’s Marnie Hunter contributed to this report.