Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship, is ideal for a nervous, first-time cruiser. Here's why.
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Royal Caribbean Wonder of the Seas, the current largest cruise ship
Credit: Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

I've always been a go-big-or-go-home type of person, so taking the maiden voyage on Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship, in April was an absolute must. Funny thing is, I'd never been a cruise person, despite having never been on one — that is, until this Caribbean sailing.

The trip was scheduled for late March 2020, so needless to say, it was put on ice as the COVID-19 pandemic halted the industry. But fast-forward almost exactly two years later, I decided to give it a go again on Royal Caribbean's new 1,188-foot-long ship.

It turns out, the things I initially thought I disliked about cruising are what I enjoyed most during the seven-day journey that sailed from Fort Lauderdale to Haiti, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas.

Royal Caribbean Wonder of the Seas, the current largest cruise ship
Credit: Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

Perhaps the result of my travel being paused for nearly two years, but coordinating a trip itinerary felt overwhelming. On Wonder of the Seas, however, all of that was taken care of — to an extent.

Before embarkation everyone was encouraged to download the Royal Caribbean app, which essentially became my social lifeline. It had everything laid out, from activities to the calendar to a breakdown of the dining room's rotating menus.

I have a notoriously horrible sense of direction, so navigating not just a ship, but the world's largest, was challenging on the first day. That said, the spaciousness meant I didn't have to feel overwhelmed.

Royal Caribbean Wonder of the Seas, the current largest cruise ship
Credit: Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

When I felt like socializing, I ventured to the pool deck (there are 18 decks, in total). But when the introvert in me just needed a good drink, I had a few options, like the quiet bar in Central Park, one of the ship's eight neighborhoods, which has more than 20,000 plants. There's also the Bionic Bar, with robotic bartenders whipping up signature and custom cocktails.

I frequently found myself on one of the loungers in the Solarium, too. Finding a great seat in this adults-only zone became a task depending on the time of day, but this area had the best view on the ship.

Royal Caribbean Wonder of the Seas, the current largest cruise ship
Credit: Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

One activity I saw on the calendar was a solo travelers meetup. As someone who prefers to vacation with myself, this was a must, but no one showed up to either of the two sessions I attended.

My fellow passengers predominantly appeared to be older couples, but I did encounter younger travelers when we docked at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean's private Bahamian island, though it seemed many may have been from the other Royal Caribbean ship docked with us. During this visit, I visited the island's Oasis Lagoon, the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean.

As for dining, I split my time between restaurants with proper waitstaff and the main dining area, where food was displayed in a buffet style, but safely served by masked-up, glove-wearing employees. By the second day, we were used to hearing the staff's cheerful instruction to "washy washy before yummy yummy." Many people used this reminder to utilize the hand-washing station before entering the dining hall.

The food was good, too. In the seven-day period, I ordered escargot at least three times because the buttery, garlicky goodness was just too good to not enjoy back to back. And though I typically don't like French toast, the ship's Southern-themed restaurant, The Mason Jar, had a PB&J-stuffed version that I'm still thinking about.

Royal Caribbean Wonder of the Seas, the current largest cruise ship
Credit: Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

Most of the travelers I encountered were seasoned cruisers, and initially I didn't comprehend their affinity for it. But after a week, I got it. The planned, but flexible schedules. Waking up in a new country with no need to worry about lodging or lugging around a suitcase. I finally understand and I'm on board.