Wonder of the Seas has finally left the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard and is on her way to Marseilles in France, where she will receive the final touches before delivery to Royal Caribbean.
Wonder of the Seas is the fifth Oasis-class cruise ship and will be the largest cruise ship in the world when she enters service in 2022, as she is slightly larger than her sister ships at 236,857 tons.
Although some final fit and finish work still needs to be done on the ship, Royal Caribbean has accepted delivery of her from the shipyard, but an official handover ceremony is likely to take place in the coming weeks.
When she is ready to sail with passengers, Wonder of the Seas will cross the Atlantic and debut in North America, where she will cruise the Caribbean from Port Everglades next March.
“At our yard, we are aware that we have designed and built one of the most exceptional ships in the history of the cruise market,” said Laurent Castaing, General Manager of Chantiers de l’Atlantique.
“The Wonder of the Seas is a unique synthesis of innovation, state-of-the-art technologies, and savoir-faire of thousands of engineers and skilled workers,” he added.
“This splendid ship is really a symbol of the faithful and fruitful partnership we have established with Royal Caribbean International for nearly four decades,” he said.
Bringing Wonder of the Seas to this point in her construction has been a multi-year undertaking, amid the greatest disruption the cruise industry has ever seen due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She was ordered in 2016 and the first steel for the ship was cut in April, 2019. She was floated out of the shipyard in September, 2020 amid the pandemic, and was expected at that time to be deployed to the Asian market.
It was therefore likely that she would cruise via Dubai as so many other brand new Royal Caribbean ships have done, but after her sea trials in August, Royal Caribbean announced that Wonder of the Seas would no longer be deployed to China, and would instead cruise from the US.
With China still struggling to return to normality after the pandemic and strict travel restrictions in place across much of Asia, it made more sense for Wonder of the Seas to cruise from Miami to the Caribbean during her inaugural season.
The 5,5600-guest cruise ship is 362 metres long, 64 metres wide and has a total power outlay of 96 MW, almost half that of a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier.