'Wonder of the Seas'— Inside the World's Largest Cruise Ship

This Friday, the world's largest ever cruise ship is set to embark on its maiden voyage following three years of construction.

Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas is the new behemoth of the ocean. The cruise liner weighs an astounding 236,857 gross tonnes and measures 1,188 feet long and 210 feet wide.

The ship has 18 decks with the capacity of accommodating 6,988 passengers and 2,300 crew members onboard.

Wonder of the Seas will set sail from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, taking its first passengers on a seven-day trip across the Caribbean.

The new cruise liner has surpassed its sister vessel Symphony of the Seas as the world's biggest cruise ship. Symphony of the Seas, which is also part of Royal Caribbean's fleet, has capacity for 6,680 passengers and is 1,184 feet long.

Wonder of the Seas cruise ship
The 'Wonder of the Seas' cruise ship includes 2,867 rooms and includes activities ranging for mini golf to a music hall. Royal Caribbean

Onboard Entertainment

The sheer size and volume of the Wonder of the Seas is somewhat of an engineering marvel, fully fitted and decked with amenities, facilities and luxuries that can seem somewhat misplaced on the high seas.

Onboard, while riding the waves of the Caribbean seas, passengers will also have the opportunity to play laser tag or mini golf, go rock climbing, watch a film on the poolside movie screen, go zip lining, visit the casino, relax at the spa or solarium, sing karaoke, or watch an ice-skating performance, among many other things.

big wonder of seas
The Wonder of the Seas, the new largest cruise ship in the world. Its maiden voyage will take passengers on a seven-day trip around the Caribbean, and is due to begin trips around the Mediterranean departing from Barcelona and Rome this May. Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

The cruise ship also has a full-size basketball court, a Flowrider surf machine, a carousel, and will even house the tallest waterslide at sea.

Guests can even sip on a decadent venti salted caramel mocha frappuccino at the in-house Starbucks while en route to the Bahamas.

Wonder of the Seas contains eight separate neighborhoods–including an all new suite neighborhood–and even has its very own Central Park, featuring over 20,000 living plants.

wonder sun deck bar
The Wonder of the Seas has 20 restaurants and 11 different bars onboard. Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

Guests will also have 20 different dining venues and 11 bars to choose from.

The ship was built in Chantiers de l'Atlantique in Saint-Nazaire, France, and was fitted with four bow thrusters each with 7,500 horse power allowing the Wonder of the Seas to cruise at a speed of 22 knots–or 25 miles an hour.

"We've always prided ourselves on offering guests the best and most innovative ships to give them a truly extraordinary experience. Wonder encompasses all of that," Mark Tamis, senior vice president of hotel operations at Royal Caribbean International, told CNN Travel.

sun deck wonders of sea
The giant ship also features an elevated Suite Sun Deck, complete with a plunge pool, bar, loungers and nooks. Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

COVID Cruising

The gigantic ship was initially due to set sail in 2021, but its maiden voyage was postponed as a result of delivery delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout the pandemic there had been a number of coronavirus outbreaks aboard cruises, leading to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to categorize cruise travel as "very high" risk in late December.

During the surge in Omicron cases late last year, Royal Caribbean canceled a number of voyages due to "COVID-related circumstances around the world."

However, at the beginning of the year the CDC's guidance became an optional measure for much of the cruising sector.

This month, the health agency lowered the risk level of cruising to Level 3, meaning it advises people to be up to date with their vaccinations ahead of their trips.

Wonder top deck
An aerial view of the top deck of the Wonder of the Seas, featuring numerous swimming pools, lounge areas, sunbeds, slides, and children's play areas. Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean currently requires all passengers over the age of 12 to be fully vaccinated, while any over the age of two must provide proof of a negative COVID test before setting to the seas.

All guests aged two and older must wear face masks in most public indoor spaces onboard.

All staff onboard and at Royal Caribbean's private destinations will be fully vaccinated, and boosted when eligible.

Following its maiden voyage, Wonder of the Seas will also be carrying out voyages along the Mediterranean departing from Barcelona and Rome in May.

The ship is one of various new cruise liners that are due to set sail over the course of the year.

Among them is Disney's first new cruise ship in ten years, the Disney Wish, which is due to be delivered this summer, as well as Silversea Cruises' luxury ship Silver Dawn–due for its maiden voyage in the spring.

central park cruis
Wonder of the Seas also houses its own Central Park, made up over 20,00 living plants. The park is similar to ones found on other Royal Caribbean Oasis Class ships, like the one pictured above. Courtesy of Royal Caribbean