'Wonder of the Seas': world's largest cruise ship to sail with passengers for first time

The 362-metre ship is 8,700 gross tonnes heavier than its sister vessel

The world’s largest cruise ship is to welcome passengers aboard for the first time.

The bow of the 362-metre Wonder of the Seas would reach the top of New York's Empire State Building if the vessel was standing vertically.

The cruise ship, which can host 6,988 guests and 2,300 crew members, is set to take its maiden voyage from Florida to the Caribbean on Friday, March 4.

Weighing more than 237,000 gross tonnes, Wonder of the Seas surpasses its 2018 sister Symphony of the Seas by more than 8,700 gross tonnes.

Wonder of the Seas will operate five to seven-night cruises from Fort Lauderdale in Florida to the Caribbean from March until April. It will then sail to Barcelona and Rome in May for the summer season.

Royal Caribbean began construction of the vessel in France in 2019. The 18-deck ship arrived in Florida on February 20.

It features eight distinct neighbourhoods, including Central Park, which is filled with real plants from one end of the deck to the other.

The 'Wonder of the Seas' can host 6,988 guests and 2,300 crew members. AFP

Another deck features a slide called The Ultimate Abyss, which the company says is the tallest at sea.

Michael Bayley, president and chief executive of Royal Caribbean International, said: “With half of our fleet sailing again, we are encouraged by what we're seeing. These regions are in the position to welcome a brand-new, innovative ship like Wonder of the Seas."

The mega cruise ship had been scheduled to sail to Dubai in 2021 as part of its initial season at sea, but the plans were shelved because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Updated: February 24, 2022, 9:12 AM
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