Royal Caribbean CruisesSaturday Six

The SATURDAY SIX Sails on Royal Caribbean’s WONDER OF THE SEAS – The World’s Largest Cruise Ship

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This week’s SATURDAY SIX is one that I’ve been looking forward to for a long, LONG time. My very first cruise was actually with the Disney Cruise Line and I absolutely loved it. I was kicking myself for waiting so long to try out cruising. Now, after my first sailing I thought the Disney ships were big but NAY NAY. It wasn’t until I sailed on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas that I saw what a truly large ship – and all the amenities it includes – can bring to a vacation experience.

Back in early 2019 we sailed on the Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas with a Southern Caribbean itinerary that was just mind-blowing. We immediately booked a cruise for April of the following year. If you’re paying attention, you’ll have noticed that means we booked a cruise for April 2020. As it turns out, the world shut down in March 2020 and I had to slowly watch as all my planned vacation time to Disney and Universal got canceled, along with my sailing on Royal Caribbean.

When the cruise industry came back from the Covid shutdown, like the theme parks it came back with lower capacity, a lot of missing offerings, and a whole bunch of added safety procedures. We decided to wait a while and see where everything shook out before rebooking the cruise.

The Wonder of the Seas. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

A funny thing happened when it became time for us to rebook the cruise in 2022. Royal Caribbean had just debuted the brand new Wonder of the Seas – the biggest cruise ship in the world – and the ship was making its way to Port Canaveral, FL for future sailings. We had chosen the Harmony of the Seas for our April 2020 sailing because we wanted to try one of the biggest ships in the fleet. So when we rebooked our Royal Caribbean sailing, we jumped at the chance to change from the Harmony to an even bigger ship and rebooked on the Wonder of the Seas.

I’m now back from the cruise and ready to report my experience. SPOILER ALERT: It was amazing! So good in fact that we are going to do a series of articles letting you know just how awesome it was, starting with today’s article that is a “Big Picture” look at the Wonder of the Seas and what is on the ship. In the coming weeks we’ll do deep dives into more specific areas, such as the benefits of having The Key (a VIP-like experience that Royal Caribbean offers on its ships,) a Kid’s Guide to the Wonder of the Seas, where to find the best food, and more. Save yourself some time and just book a sailing on the Wonder of the Seas right now, but then come back and keep reading because I’m going to tell you why it’s worth it, starting with…

# 6 – The Neighborhoods

Stepping onto a cruise ship can be an intimidating experience. These ships are HUGE, even the “small” ones. Royal Caribbean currently has 26 cruise ships and they are broken up into 6 classes to designate the size of the ship. Those classes are Vision (smallest), Radiance, Voyager, Freedom, Quantum, and Oasis (largest). The bigger the ship, the more things it has to offer guests in terms of amenities. The Wonder of the Seas is an Oasis-class ship, which is the largest of the bunch—and let me tell you something, the Wonder is PACKED with stuff to do.

It may seem overwhelming at first, but don’t worry. Like other Oasis-class ships, Wonder of the Seas has neighborhoods. The great thing about this design is that the theming of each neighborhood really gives different areas of the ship a distinct vibe and allows you to get your bearings easily. Even if you’re just looking for a place to hang out and take in the scenery, you will find one that fits your mood. Let’s check them out…

The Royal Promenade is the very first neighborhood you will encounter on Wonder of the Seas, as it is where guests enter the ship when embarking. For theme park fans, think of The Royal Promenade as the ship’s Main Street USA. The Promenade is where you’ll find shopping, bars, lounges, photo-ops, snacks, and more.  On various days of the sailing, Royal Caribbean will have merchandise sales with kiosks set up selling discounted items such as watches, bags, or t-shirts; these sales all take place on the Promenade. Combined with the live music you’ll often find in the area, the Promenade can be a great place for people who want to just sit down with a drink and do some people watching.

The Royal Promenade. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

I’m not sure if they are on every ship in the fleet, but every Royal Caribbean ship I’ve been on has had an automobile parked on the Promenade for atmosphere and photo-ops. On the Wonder of the Seas, the car was a Ford Mustang.

Promenade Mustang. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

In a future article we’re going to take a deeper dive into the amazing artwork that is located throughout the entire ship, but one signature piece you can’t miss is a larger-than-life cowboy hat on the Promenade. Every single day of the sailing I saw other guests taking selfies or having pictures taken with this gigantic hat in the background.

The Royal Promenade. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

You’ll occasionally find live musical acts playing “in” the hat as well.

The Royal Promenade. (photo by Heath Thomas)

On several days of the cruise, Royal Caribbean advertises that an “Anchors Aweigh” parade takes place in the Promenade. For the majority of the trip, I skipped all of the parade times. I just thought to myself, “C’mon, how good can a parade on a cruise ship be?” Well, I’m an idiot, because on the last day of the cruise by chance I happened to be near the Promenade as the parade was about to start…and it was awesome. It clocks in at over 15 minutes long, features elaborately dressed characters, whimsical floats, and more. It’s a total blast and you need to go out of your way to see one of the performances on your sailing.

Anchors Aweigh Parade. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Anchors Aweigh Parade. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
The Kentucky Derby has got nothing on the next-level-bonkers headwear you’ll see in the Anchors Aweigh parade. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

For us, an almost daily stop on the Promenade was at Sorrento’s. Serving complimentary pizza by the slice, it was always easy to pop on by and grab a couple of pieces to go.

Promenade. Sorrentos. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

The Boardwalk has another familiar theme for theme park fans, as it evokes the northeast boardwalks of years past like Disney’s Boardwalk Resort.

Boardwalk. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

The Boardwalk is filled with things for the whole family, but will be of special interest to the kids as you’ll find a Carousel, Sweet Shop, and Gift Shop for Kids along with a great hot dog stand that offers complimentary dogs and sausages. There are two other kid-friendly restaurants in this neighborhood that are available for an additional charge: Johnny Rockets and Playmakers, a sports-themed restaurant that has tons of TVs for adults and free-play video games for the kids.

Boardwalk. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

At the end of the Boardwalk is the ship’s Aqua Theater. During the mornings this stage is used for yoga and pilates classes. On occasional nights it is home to one of the best shows I’ve ever seen in my life, on land or sea, but we’ll get to that later in the article.

Boardwalk. Aqua Theater. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

Central Park is one of those areas on an Oasis Class ship that just are awe-inspiring to take in. In contrast to the more active atmosphere seen on the Boardwalk, Central Park is a relaxed and serene area. One of our favorite moments of the entire sailing was getting a drink and listening to a musician playing the guitar at night in Central Park.

Central Park. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Central Park. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

There are some high-end shopping experiences in Central Park, along with several restaurants and pieces of art.

Central Park. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

Speaking of art, keep your eyes open on the ship for three astronauts. One of them can be found in Central Park.

Central Park. Astronaut. (photo by Heath Thomas)

Entertainment Place is the home to a lot of onboard entertainment. Here is where you’ll find the casino, a comedy club, the ice skating rink, and the main theater for larger shows.  We spent a lot of time in this area, and you’ll read more about those experiences later in the article.

Pool & Sports Zone is where we spent the majority of our time on sea days, enjoying the ship’s pools, hot tubs, and signature activities such as the Zip Line and FlowRider. All the slides and kid’s play areas are included with your cruise fare and there also is no up-charge for any of the activities.

Pool slides. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Sea Day. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

I was not prepared for the number of hot tubs located throughout the ship, with several of them being pretty large.

Hot tub. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

There are two hot tubs that have the ability to “look into” from the outside (we call them fish bowls.)

Hot tub.

The pool area also contains 8 casitas that are rented out by Royal Caribbean on a day-by-day basis. We are going to be covering these casitas in great detail in a future article, but my personal thoughts are that they are fantastic on sea days. The padded loungers are comfy, the structure provides a lot more shade than I expected, and servers from the Lime & Coconut bar check on you consistently throughout the day.

Casita. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
What a life.

Vitality Spa & Fitness includes a tranquil spa and salon area, both with a wide range of treatments available. We got a 75min “couples aroma stone therapy” massage and it was another highlight of the cruise. Like cruise-ship spas everywhere, the treatments are not included with your cruise fare and must be purchased separately. The extraordinarily large fitness center is also located in this area and is available at no extra cost. There’s also a coffee/juice bar in the spa area that we found ourselves going to pretty much every day. Apparently they made the best lattes on the ship, and it’s also where I picked up my daily supply of sugar-free Red Bull (you could also get a wide variety of smoothies and protein shakes.)

Youth Zone is where you will find the Adventure Ocean programming for younger kids, the teen club, and an arcade.  We’ll be covering the arcade in-depth in a future article focusing on areas of the ship that kids are drawn to.

The last official neighborhood is the Suite Neighborhood, and this is the first of its kind on a Royal Caribbean ship. This area is exclusive to guests staying in suites, and includes a lounge, a private sun deck, and the Coastal Kitchen restaurant. Seeing as Your Humble Author is paying for these vacations with “theme park blogger money,” you can imagine that suites are just a bit out of my personal price range. You never know though, and the Wonder is home to some incredible suite options. These include Aqua Theater suites and the next-level-bonkers (in the best way possible) Ultimate Family Suite, which is possibly the coolest room I’ve ever seen—and I’ve stayed in some pretty amazing rooms in the theme park world.

One more area of the ship which isn’t designated as an official neighborhood is The Solarium. This is the only area of the ship that is adults-only. It’s climate-controlled, has its own bar, a ton of seating, and various hot tubs and pools.

Solarium. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Solarium. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Solarium hot tubs. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

# 5 – The Activities

There is so much to do on the Wonder of the Seas you literally can’t do it all.  Those who like thrills have several options, and it’s important to note that almost everything in this section is included with your cruise fare.  First up, the FlowRider…

FlowRider. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

…and Zip Line.

Zip Line.
Zip Line.
Zip Line. (photo by Heath Thomas)
Zip Liner as seen from 10 decks below on the Boardwalk.

The Ultimate Abyss is a ten-story slide taking you from Deck 16 all the way down to Deck 6 (the Boardwalk.) It is located right next to the Flower Rider and Zip Line.

Ultimate Abyss. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

Believe it or not, it’s not as scary as it looks and there are lighting features inside the slide tubes.

Ultimate Abyss flanked by Rock Climbing Walls. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Rock Climbing Wall.
“What do you think? Everest next?”

On certain days of the week, the ice skating rink on Deck 4 was made available to guests.

Ice Skating. (photo by Heath Thomas)

The ice rink was also repurposed on two days of the sailing into an awesome laser tag experience. This was seriously great and we’ll talk about it more in-depth in a future article.

Laser Tag.

Back up on Deck 16 is the Wonder Dunes mini-golf course.

Wonder Dunes.

This area is brilliantly designed with a lot of fun and colorful sea creatures. We’ll be covering Wonder Dunes in our upcoming Kid’s Guide to the Wonder of the Seas, and that will include our number one tip when sailing on the ship (stay tuned, True Believers!)

Wonder Dunes. Minigolf. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

On Deck 16 you’ll also find a basketball court (which was often used for pickleball during the day) and ping-pong tables. Down on Deck 6 outside Playmakers there are pay-for-play basketball and football skill challenge games.

The actual arcade located on Deck 16 has a lot of great games, many of which the family can play together. Look for a lot more arcade discussion in our upcoming Kid’s Guide to the Wonder of the Seas.

# 4 – The Food

If you lose weight on a cruise, you did something terribly wrong. The amount of great food available on a Royal Caribbean ship is indescribable. The first thing to know is that there are a bunch of absolutely free food options that are completely covered with your cruise fare. I would say if it was your first time sailing, just stick with those. The main two options are the Main Dining Room (which for theme park fans you can think of as a Table Service Restaurant) and the Windjammer buffet.

When we first started cruising, we pretty much did the Main Dining Room for all of our dinners. For our last sailing, we did not eat in the Main Dining Room a single time. We chose to eat at the specialty restaurants or at the Windjammer. There are so many options at the Windjammer that we found it hard to be limited by the daily menu in the Main Dining Room. That was a personal choice for us, and I can certainly see the allure of just having a relaxing meal with a server and assistant server bringing you your meal and drinks.

Windjammer. (photo by Heath Thomas)

El Loco Fresh is located on Deck 16 and serves complimentary food from the morning through the early evening. For breakfast, it is traditional items such as pancakes, bacon, and scrambled eggs, but from lunch on El Loco Fresh serves Latin-inspired dishes including nachos, quesadillas, and burritos.

El Loco Fresh. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

The Mason Jar is the first-of-its-kind restaurant on a Royal Caribbean ship and it specializes in Southern cuisine. For my theme park readers, think of this as Art Smith’s Homecomin’ on the high seas.

Million Dollar View. The Mason Jar. (photo by Heath Thomas)

Experiencing The Mason Jar was definitely in my Top Three things that I was looking forward to on this sailing and it delivered in a major way. This restaurant is an extra charge, and we booked both a dinner on Night Three of our sailing, along with a brunch on Day Six. Both meals were tremendous.

Lobster n’ Crawfish Gumbo: Thick-cut lobster, juicy pork sausage, okra, holy trinity and bold Cajun spices simmered slow like they do on the Bayou, served over white rice.

We’ll get more in-depth on The Mason Jar in an upcoming article focusing on the Wonder of the Seas food, but I can’t let you go without seeing some of the scrumptious items. Yes, they were all as good as they look.

The Mason Jar. Brunch. Crispy Chicken Sandwich: Buttermilk-brined and deep-fried until golden, served on Cajun buttered brioche with lettuce, tomato, spicy remoulade, and crinkle-cut pickles. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
The Mason Jar. Brunch. Meemaw’s Chicken and Waffles. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
The Mason Jar. Brunch. Stuffed French Toast: Thick-cut and stuffed with banana slices, creamy peanut butter, and crispy candied bacon. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

After 9 p.m. at night, there are not that many options to get food on the ship. However, one place you can go is to The Mason Jar bar, where they are still serving a Late Night Bites menu. Keep your eyes open for our Wonder of the Seas Foodie’s Guide article for more on this menu.

I was a little trepidatious about booking the Wonderland dining experience. I knew it would be a cool presentation, but I’m not what is known as an “adventurous” eater, and fully expected to go to the Windjammer after the meal. Color me surprised, as not only was the experience of Wonderland straight up E-Ticket, but the creative cuisine was actually filling. We all walked away happy and full. I’ve never had a meal like this, and if something similar existed at Disney or Universal they would make major bank.

Mad Hatter visits the table. Check out the artwork on the wall, what a great detail. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

You know me, when a venue has themed silverware I am officially ALL IN.

We’ll go in-depth on Wonderland in our upcoming Foodie’s Guide, but check out some of these dishes…

Wonderland. Appetizer. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Wonderland. Dessert. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

Giovanni’s Kitchen is the Italian restaurant on the ship, and every single person I talked to over the week who went there loved it.

Giovanni’s Kitchen. Fried calamari. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Giovanni’s Kitchen. Chocolate Ravioli. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

The seafood restaurant Hooked also received a ton of praise from other guests I talked to.

Hooked. Captain’s Platter. (photo by Heath Thomas)

Playmakers was just about designed for me. Not only was the onion ring tower cool to look at, it also tasted great.

Playmakers. Onion rings.

The Playmakers Burger was the best we had on the entire ship.

Playmakers. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

A sundae served in a collectible football helmet? You know me so well Royal Caribbean!

Playmakers. Touchdown Sundae.

When it comes to Room Service, there is a continental breakfast option which is completely free. Everything else is a $7.95 charge per order (plus an added 18% gratuity.) Whether you get one item delivered to your room or 10 items, it’s the same price.

Room Service. Grilled Quesadilla. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

We’ll have a lot more to say about Room Service in our upcoming Kid’s Guide to the Wonder of the Seas.

Room Service. The Royal Burger. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

Let’s get back to some complimentary food, including the soft-serve ice cream available on the pool deck. There were three flavors served each day, vanilla, chocolate, and vanilla/chocolate swirl.

Sorrento’s Pizza was just crazy to watch. They are constantly making pizzas in a wall of ovens directly behind the person who is serving the slices. There was cheese, pepperoni, and a third option which would change daily (like BBQ chicken slices.)

Sorrento’s Pizza.

# 3 – The Ports

Currently, the Wonder of the Seas has five different itineraries that include a stop at Royal Caribbean’s private island Perfect Day at CocoCay. They vary from 6 to 8 nights in length:

  • 8 Night Eastern Caribbean & Perfect Day (St. Thomas, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Maarten, & Perfect Day)
  • 7 Nights Eastern Caribbean & Perfect Day (St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, & Perfect Day)
  • 7 Night Eastern Caribbean & Perfect Day (St. Maarten, St. Thomas, & Perfect Day)
  • 6 Night Western Caribbean & Perfect Day (two stops in Mexico: Puerto Costa Maya and Cozumel, & Perfect Day)
  • 7 Night Western Caribbean & Perfect Day (two stops in Mexico: Cozumel and Puerto Costa Maya, Honduras, & Perfect Day) and one itinerary that does not include a stop at Perfect Day
  • 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Nassau, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republica, Labadee.) Labadee is Royal Caribbean’s other private island.

There are several factors that can contribute to which sailing you choose when going on vacation (and a good travel agent can guide you through all of them.) For us the two main factors are 1) The ship’s amenities and 2) The Ports.

Over the years we have taken several Western Caribbean and one Southern Caribbean sailings, so for this trip we wanted to do an Eastern Caribbean itinerary. We went with the 7 Nights Eastern Caribbean & Perfect Day sailing that included St. Maarten and St. Thomas. We had been to St. Maarten once before, and it was one of our favorite experiences ever on vacation. So we were definitely okay with going back. For me, Perfect Day at CocoCay was the single guiding factor in booking this cruise. I was okay with whatever itinerary the rest of the family wanted to do as long as it included Perfect Day.

There are a lot of room types on an Oasis Class ship, but for me the best bang for the buck is the Ocean View Balcony rooms. Once again, for my theme park readers, think of these rooms as like having a Savannah View at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. There’s really nothing else to compare it to in my book. Just being able to hear the ocean at night while lying in bed is amazing, but pulling into the various ports becomes extra special.

Pulling into St. Maarten.

With 26 ships, Royal Caribbean sails to a lot of places. While you could have a great time just staying onboard the ship the entire time – especially on a ship like the Wonder! – exploring these ports across the globe can lead to some amazing once-in-a-lifetime experiences. You can book shore excursions through Royal Caribbean, or book them on your own through a third party. We have done both types. There is something to be said about the “peace of mind” when booking through Royal Caribbean because they guarantee that either the ship will wait for you, or they will get you back to the ship at their expense. On one of my previous cruises, the Freedom of the Seas stayed in one port for an extra half hour before leaving because one of the ship’s excursions was late coming back. If you book your own excursion, the ship ain’t waiting for you. And of course, you can also just get off the ship and explore the city by yourself, without an excursion.

The negative of booking through the cruise line (whether it’s Disney or Royal Caribbean) is that the experience you get on an excursion is only a fraction of what it should be. You are generally in large groups, so your interactions with the local guides are minimal. Because you are in a large group, that means the entire group’s direction is dependent on the worst person in the group (in my experience) in terms of getting from place to place. We have started to book all of our excursions on our own. Instead of being in a large group, this has allowed us to have a more intimate, VIP-like experience. My advice is to do as much research as you can and be sure to read plenty of reviews on places like TripAdvisor for any business you want to do an excursion with.

St. Maarten

On this particular sailing, we traveled with friends and family. The family and I booked a private tour on our own with Billy Bones Boat Charters, while our friends just got off the ship and explored St. Maarten on their own.

St. Maarten. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

One of the things my friends did in St. Maarten was visit The Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit. This is essentially a Star Wars museum located on St. Maarten that was created by “That Yoda Guy” Nick Manley, a creature effects designer best known for his work contributing to the character of Yoda and others in the Star Wars universe. I can almost hear TouringPlans’ own Guy Selga – a Star Wars Super Fan if there ever was one – finally having a reason to book a cruise.

St. Maarten. That Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

Listen, I had an amazing time on my excursion which circled the entire island, but I’ll admit I wish I could have spent time in a museum that not only covers practical effects from Star Wars, but from other movies such as Men in Black, the Terminator, Highlander, and Superman. This museum was seemingly built for me and it would be like discovering there is a world-class level Tsum Tsum Museum in Bora Bora. I guess I will just have to take another cruise and go back.

St. Maarten. That Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

St. Maarten is a pretty interesting island as it is controlled by two different countries. The Dutch control one side, while the French control the other. The two sides are remarkably different as well (but both are outright gorgeous.) Our private tour went around the entire island, with stops at Creole Rock, Pinel Island, Tintamarre Island, and Simpson Bay. We snorkeled, swam with turtles, fed iguanas, and more. It was one of the overall best days of my life.

St. Maarten. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

One of the more popular excursions on St. Maarten is Maho Beach. This is because St. Maarten is the only island in the area with an international airport. That means larger planes take off and land, and they get VERY close to people on the beach. During our private charter, we passed by Maho Beach just as a plane was arriving and I can see why this particular excursion is so popular. It was a wild experience.

St. Maarten. Plane approaching us.
St. Maarten. Plane passing us.

Here is a picture of the perspective of someone on the beach as these planes arrive.

Maho Beach. (photo by Heath Thomas)
St. Thomas

The day after St. Maarten, the Wonder of the Seas stopped in St. Thomas. This was the first time me and my family had ever been to this island.

St. Thomas. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

From my balcony, I saw a huge ship docked next to us that actually was transporting luxury yachts. It was crazy to see. Also, we were going during a week in which many of the Caribbean islands were celebrating Carnival. These parties start very early in the morning and last the entire day. From our balcony I could hear some pretty loud music, and I just assumed it was from the port area right next to our ship. NAY NAY, this music was coming from miles away in the mountains you see in the background and I can’t even fathom how loud it must have been there if I could hear it so distinctly on the ship. This was also before 7 a.m. in the morning, so there were definitely people on the island ready to PAR-TAY.

St. Thomas. Luxury Yachts loaded onto a ship.

For St. Thomas, my family and I booked another private tour with St. Thomas Adventure Tours. This tour included two stops for snorkeling. My friends booked their own excursion through Godfrey’s Tours which included a stop at Magen’s Beach to swim with turtles. Both groups had an amazing experience.

St. Thomas. Magen’s Beach.  (photo by Mike Sperduto)

Our two stops were outright spectacular. The first area we snorkeled in was near the local University at Brewer’s Beach, and we saw some amazing coral and sea life, including several turtles.

Excursion. St. Thomas Adventure Tours. Coral reef.
Excursion. St. Thomas Adventure Tours. Turtle.
To say the water was perfect in St. Thomas is an understatement. It makes Florida beaches look like New Hampshire beaches in comparison.

Our next stop was as secluded as you can get. It was essentially a private beach and the snorkeling was next level. The sea life we saw here was mind-blowing, including squid and a majestic Eagle Ray.

Excursion. St. Thomas

# 2 – Perfect Day at CocoCay

I have been reading about Perfect Day at CocoCay for a while and this was the single deciding factor for me personally when booking the cruise. As I said above, I didn’t care where we went, just as long as it stopped on Perfect Day. I needed to see for myself if it was good as everyone says it is. Another SPOILER ALERT: it is that good.

Perfect Day at CocoCay as seen from the Up Up and Away balloon. (photo by Brian Carey)

I’ll be doing an article dedicated solely to Perfect Day at CocoCay in the near future, and I can’t get across how much there is to do on this private island. I had a checklist of things I wanted to do and only got through maybe half the list because we were having so much fun in the areas we were at. Just an amazing experience from the beginning of the day to the end. When I sailed on the Disney Cruise Line, I loved their private island Castaway Cay. Loved it. Perfect Day at CocoCay blows Castaway Cay out of the water (pun intended) in every way possible. There is more to do for everyone and the food is absolutely next-level. My advice? Stop reading this right now and book a cruise, any cruise, that includes a stop at Perfect Day. You can thank me later. For now, let’s look at some pics from this little slice of Heaven on Earth…

Perfect Day at CocoCay. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Perfect Day at CocoCay. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Perfect Day at CocoCay. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Perfect Day at CocoCay. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Perfect Day at CocoCay. Oasis Lagoon Pool.

Literally one of the only “good things” to come out of the Covid Shutdown for me was the fact that when the cruise industry got back up and running, many things were being sold at a major discount to help encourage people to get back into cruising again. This meant I got to check an item off the Bucket List and purchased an Over Water Cabana. This cabana cost about $2000 (after taxes) and included access to the Coco Beach Club area for up to 8 people. It was the best money I have ever spent in my life.

Perfect Day at CocoCay. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

Coco Beach Club includes an incredible freshwater pool, dining area, bars, and a relaxing beach area. Guests at Perfect Day can purchase day passes to the Coco Beach Club and I would certainly recommend it. The complimentary food in the regular part of Perfect Day is very good, but the complimentary food at Coco Beach Club is GREAT.

Perfect Day at CocoCay. Beach Club.

Years ago, when I first saw the Bora Bora-like Over Water cabanas at Perfect Day, I knew I’d have to stay in one. They seemed almost too good to be true.

Perfect Day at Cococay. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Perfect Day at CocoCay. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Perfect Day at CocoCay. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

I knew we were about to have a magical experience when for the first time EVER, my name was spelled right on a piece of cabana signage. The multi-year streak of misspellings is finally over!

Perfect Day at CocoCay. Cabana.

We’ll give a full review of the cabana experience in our Perfect Day article, but it was even better than I could have ever hoped for.

Perfect Day at CocoCay. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Perfect Day at CocoCay. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

Imagine having your own slide straight into the ocean. It was so great. Not only was the water perfect, but we saw so many fish and other sea life including manta rays, barracudas, and sharks!

Perfect Day at CocoCay. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Air time. Perfect Day at CocoCay. Over Water Cabana.

The cabana fridge comes fully stocked, and a cabana attendant stops by regularly to get any other drinks or food that you request. Service was IMPECCABLE.

Perfect Day at CocoCay. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

OK, I’m gonna whet your appetite with some photos. Here’s a pic of just the appetizers that were delivered straight to the cabana.

Perfect Day at CocoCay. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

The entrees? We’ll do a deep dive on them in the Perfect Day article, but get a load of the steak and lobster. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

Perfect Day at CocoCay. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

The Coco Beach Club went out of their way to make sure they were accommodating to the vegetarians and vegans in our party, and everyone went back to the ship stuffed. And of course, you can get food from the island’s other restaurants; we had to try the island’s iconic chicken sandwich from the Snack Shack.

Perfect Day at CocoCay. Snack Shack Chicken Sandwich. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

# 1 – The Shows

You would think it would be absolutely impossible to top Perfect Day at CocoCay as a reason why someone should book a sailing on the Wonder of the Seas, but to that I say NAY NAY.  The shows on board the ship are out of this world. I would say that all the shows I have seen on the Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean have been very good to great, especially considering the limitations inherent to performing on a moving ship. That said, the shows on Wonder of the Seas are next level and you need to go out of your way to experience them. I know I’m beginning to sound like a broken record at this point, but we’ll be doing a deep dive into the shows in a future article. Here is a quick recap of some standouts.

InTENse takes place in the outdoor Aqua Theater and just might be the greatest show I have ever seen on a cruise line or in a theme park. All the performers in the show are women, and I am still amazed at how awesome they were.

InTENse. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

There were tightrope walkers, huge dives, and more, all while a highly choreographed routine is taking place. Between the fantastic action by the performers and the awesome soundtrack, this show is a perfect 10/10. No notes, just one question: how the **** did they do that?!!

InTENse. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
InTENse. (photo by Heath Thomas)
InTENse. (photo by Heath Thomas)
InTENse. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
InTENse. (photo by Heath Thomas)

In the main theater on the ship, the headline show was The Effectors II: Crash & Burn. This was a show based on superheroes. It made me wonder if someone at Royal Caribbean got a hold of my Dream Journal and just said, “let’s just make it all.”

The Effectors II: Crash & Burn. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

The Effectors are a group of heroes whose powers all relate to the world of Special Effects.

Effectors II: Crash & Burn. (photo by Heath Thomas)

Like similar stage shows I have seen on other sailings, The Effectors II: Crash & Burn was a super fun watch with a creative use of all the characters and background elements.

The Effectors II: Crash & Burn. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
The Effectors II: Crash & Burn. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Effectors II: Crash & Burn. (photo by Heath Thomas)

However, where The Effectors II took it up a notch was a scene involving the villain’s use of drones. These LED drones rose up over the stage and then flew over the audience! As a theme park fan constantly being told this is why the parks couldn’t use drones in the parks, I was in total shock. It’s a jaw-dropping moment show-wise and was just spectacular. Here’s a shot of the rising drones taken from a guest sitting on the first-floor seating.

Effectors II: Crash & Burn. (photo by Heath Thomas)

I was sitting on the second floor of seating and it was just as cool (despite my picture doing nowhere near the justice this moment deserves.)

The Effectors II: Crash & Burn.

Then, a human-sized drone went up in the air (through the use of cables) and this was also a spectacular moment because it flew all around the theater.

The Effectors II: Crash & Burn. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Effectors II: Crash & Burn. (photo by Heath Thomas)

At the end of the show the entire cast came out to rapturous applause, and another thing stood out to me: they played movie-like credits in the background for all the people involved in the production. That is such a great step forward in recognizing the talented people who make our cruise experiences as memorable as they are. We need something like that in the theme park world as well. These shows (and rides, and artwork, and restaurant menus, etc) aren’t materialized out of thin air or by Artificial Intelligence, people are making them and these people deserve all the accolades we can throw at them.

The Effectors II: Crash & Burn.

365: Seasons on Ice is the Wonder’s ice skating show and it was terrific. With the use of well-known songs (everything from The Beatles to “Dance Monkey” by Tones and I), colorful outfits, and projection technology, this show was a total blast.

365: The Seasons on Ice. (photo by Heath Thomas)
365: Seasons on Ice. (photo by Heath Thomas)

Tap Factory takes place back in the main theater and can best be described by me as the combination of Stomp and the Blue Man Group. You have a bunch of individuals making music in a variety of creative ways interspersed with physical comedy.

Tap Factory. (photo by Heath Thomas)
Tap Factory. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

This person below may seem impressive, but consider that stuff like this is just what us regular theme park bloggers every day to loosen up before writing an article.

Tap Factory. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

Tap Factory also includes a body contortionist that is part “wow!” and part have-to-close-my-eyes. I still can’t believe this guy’s ability to twist and turn his own body like that.

Tap Factory. Contortionist. (photo by Heath Thomas)

Voices is a singing show that involves live performances on stage with Zoom-like background performances. An interesting take on the concept and the music was fantastic.

Voices. (photo by Heath Thomas)

Throughout the entire sailing there are a ton of shows and events going on throughout the ship. From adult comedy shows, to bingo, to trivia contests, you will find something for you. One of our favorite shows on every Royal Caribbean sailing is the Love & Marriage game show featuring 3 couples in a gimmick similar to the Dating Game. It’s always hilarious and something you should go out of your way to check out if sailing with Royal Caribbean.

Love and Marriage on the Wonder of the Seas. (photo by Heath Thomas)

Well, that’s it. I know this article seems comprehensive but believe it or not it is just the tip of the iceberg on what it is like sailing on Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas. We’ll be back with future installments looking at some of the surprises we found on the ship, what the kiddos liked the most, our favorite food items, what it was like to be on the ship as part of The Key program and – of course – a look at Perfect Day at CocoCay. If you’re interested in exploring more about sailing on the Wonder of the Seas, make sure to reach out to the TouringPlans Travel Agency and let them know Derek and Bacini sent ya. No matter what ship you book, or what itinerary you go on, you’ll have an awesome time.

So there you have it: The SATURDAY SIX Sails on Royal Caribbean’s WONDER OF THE SEAS! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out the THEME PARK ENJOYMENT INDEX, giving a monthly recap of all the theme park news you need to know (and a lot more you don’t need to know, but we’re gonna tell you anyway). You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).

If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following: 

The SATURDAY SIX uses THE KEY on Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas: Is it worth the cost?

SATURDAY SIX Presents: A Kid’s Guide to Royal Caribbean’s WONDER OF THE SEAS

SATURDAY SIX: Tribute to Josh easyWDW

SATURDAY SIX: Tribute to Ian Barritt

Special Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, Digital Maestro Scott Walker, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, Captain Cruiseline Scott Sanders of the world famous Disney Cruise Line Blog, my personal protege Hunter “Elvey” Underwood, artist @SonderQuest, the mighty maven of merchandise Hedgehog’s Corner, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and “the Dadalorian” Nick, hot shot Michael Carelli, charter member of the Universal Four @Nitro230, the permit princess Alicia Stella, master cartographer Tommy Hawkins, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Absolutely no help was added by SeaWorld Influencer @SuperWeenieHtJr. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will  enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.

Same RCL, same.

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4 thoughts on “The SATURDAY SIX Sails on Royal Caribbean’s WONDER OF THE SEAS – The World’s Largest Cruise Ship

  • *$3,000 for a suite for a week* = Out of my price range

    *$2,000 for a private cabana for a day* = Chump change

    Jokes aside, loved the pictures!

    • TO BE FAIR, for the over-the-water cabana I split the cost with two other parties whereas the room on the ship I had to pay for by myslef.

      • I figured, just poking fun 😛 I’m not a huge fan of cruises, but this is making me reconsider now. Looking forward to the next article!

  • Amazing! Loved the article and the photography is next level bonkers. Did you have special access to get these amazing shots or are you friends with incredibly talented picture people?


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