Royal Caribbean raises the bar in battle with Carnival Cruise Line

Cruise ships were more about the destination than the ship itself. Distinguished people embarked to travel from port to port using the ship as a kind of floating hotel where they could dress to enjoy a good meal or fall asleep while eating from the buffet.

That’s still true on some high-end cruise lines that cater to older passengers. That’s certainly not the case when it comes to Royal Caribbean’s latest ships. (RLC) – Get the Royal Caribbean group report and Carnival Cruise Line (CCA) – Get Carnival Corporation report. These ships keep getting bigger and better and have become destinations in themselves.

In fact, while some people continue to sail to where the ships will stop, others book a cruise to simply experience what the ship has to offer. It makes sense because Royal Caribbean and Carnival have pushed the boundaries of what can happen on a cruise ship.

Carnival’s newest ship, Mardi Gras, has a roller coaster on board while Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas, its newest ship for another few weeks, features bumper cars and a life-size basketball court. Ships from both lines offer waterslides, elaborate pool decks, and entertainment options that wouldn’t be out of place in Las Vegas or a Disney theme park.

Now Royal Caribbean has raised the bar again as its latest ship, Wonder of the Seas, arrives in its new home port of Fort. Lauderdale.

Royal Caribbean adds the world’s largest cruise ship

Wonder of the Seas joins Allure of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas as members of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class. They are the largest cruise ships in the world, but Wonder will officially take the title of “largest cruise ship” from Symphony.

To be fair, Wonder is only slightly larger than Symphony (about 4% larger), but it adds a number of new features. This includes an eighth “ward” devoted strictly to suite passengers.

“The new Eighth Ward offers Royal Suite Class guests an elevated Sun Deck Suite in a new location, with a plunge pool, bar and plenty of loungers and nooks to relax; plus favorites such as Coastal Kitchen, the private restaurant; the Suite Lounge and the largest ultimate family suite to date to accommodate a family of 10,” the company explained in a press release.

Wonder of the Seas also boasts the first of Royal Caribbean’s new Southern-style restaurants, The Mason Jar Southern Restaurant & Bar. And, the ship also has something new for kids, Wonder Playscape, an underwater themed play area for kids with slides, climbing walls, games, an interactive mural activated by the touch and imaginative puzzles.

“Wonder of the Seas will energize cruising in a bolder and bigger way. Adding this ship to our already best-in-class fleet allows the company to continue to lead the industry with new features. and innovations,” said Jason Liberty, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group.

Carnival will try to respond

Excel Class, Carnival’s answer to Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class, currently has one member, Mardi Gras. That will change in November when Carnival Celebration joins the fleet.

Celebration’s signature interior feature is its three-story atrium” with a ceiling that appears like a burst of confetti cannon made up of approximately 1,400 color-changing light fixtures that will transform from day to night. This space will host events including live music, special effects special events, aerobatic performances and high energy shows.

“Design-wise, we’re incorporating elements from our past ships, paying homage to Carnival’s history, and also showcasing Carnival Celebration as a modern, innovative and forward-looking ship,” said Ben Clement. , senior vice president of Carnival. “While similar to Mardi Gras with a plethora of dining, entertainment and relaxation options, Celebration will have its own personality, one that celebrates all things carnival, blending in where we’ve been and where we’re going.”

In what has become an endless game of one-upmanship, Royal Caribbean plans to respond to the celebration with a new class of ship, the Icon Class. The first ship of this class, the aptly named Icon, will begin sailing in the fall of 2023.

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