Wonder of the Seas review: The ultimate family holiday

Wonder of the seas

by Lorna White |

It’s easy to get carried away, dreaming about your next family holiday in the sun, but if we’re being realistic, going away with small children can feel like a chore sometimes. From all the essentials and belongings they need to keeping them settled on a busy plane for hours, it can be a stressful experience for all.

One holiday you might not have considered for you and your family is a cruise holiday. A family cruise takes all that stress out of the holiday. You can put everything you need in the car, board the ship here in the UK, and have a stress-free holiday where everything is at your fingertips.

We were lucky enough to experience Royal Carribean’s latest ship, the Wonder of the Seas. It’s the biggest cruise ship in the world and there’s an endless world of things to do, to keep big kids and little kids entertained. Keep reading to find out what makes this the ultimate family cruise.

Where will I sleep?

With 2,867 staterooms, there are a variety of different rooms to stay in, from very luxurious suites like the Ultimate Family room, to more affordable interior room options. We stayed in a balcony suite, so we were lucky enough to have a stunning view of the ocean. The room had plenty of room and there was enough space for two, but for a family of three it may feel a little snug. That being said, it’s unlikely you’ll spend much time in your room at all with everything that there is to explore on the ship.

family-suite

The whole room is designed in a very smart way, with a slight curve at the edge of the bed to move easily around it and clever storage solutions for all your luggage, it’s a very well designed space. The bathroom again is quite snug, but again there’s plenty of room for everyone’s toiletries.

Despite the huge number of rooms, they’re very easy to find, with clear directions. Just be prepared to do a fair bit of walking up and down the corridors during your stay - a good way to get your steps in!

Like a hotel room, each room is cleaned throughly everyday, and if you’re lucky you might even get a cute shaped towel animal left on the bed. Each room is also assigned with a crew member who will be on hand for the duration of your stay to look after you. All the staff on board were extremely friendly, and there wasn’t one member of staff who didn’t greet us with a friendly hello at any point during our stay. These people, many of whom you probably won't get to see during your stay, are really the ones who make the whole experience so special.

The bed was very comfortable, although, it did wiggle every couple of minutes at night which was slightly annoying. I’m presuming this is because we were on a boat, but it didn’t stop us from sleeping.

Although there is no iron or tea and coffee making facilities in the room, there is a full laundry service (for an extra charge) and you have the option of taking any food and drink from any of the ship’s eateries back to your room to eat. There’s also 24hr room service available, and you can get breakfast delivered to your room too - it was lovely to eat brekkie on the balcony looking out to the sea!

What is there to do?

An easier question would be what isn’t there to do? The variety of activities on board is endless, which is why it is such a perfect holiday for the whole family. Grandparents, parents, teenagers, kids, toddlers and babies have plenty to see and do, and that’s without the number of excursions you can do during your holiday.

It was impossible to see everything during the two days we were aboard the ship, but in a nutshell, some of the highlights include:

• Aquatheatre

• Carousel

• Casino

• Flowrider - this is the surf simulator

• Running track - yes, really!

• Laser tag

• Mini golf

• Music hall

• Outdoor cinema screen

• Numerous pools

• Rock climbing walls

• Theatre

• Solarium

• Sports court

• Kareoke

• Spa and fitness centre

• Whirlpools

• Zip line

With so much to do, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, so we think it’s a good idea to plan your stay on the Royal Carribbean App. The app is essential to download and have to hand for the duration of your stay. It features a map (you'll need this), your boarding pass as well as a calendar where you can plan your itinerary.

You really can tailor your holiday to exactly what you like to do, for example, if you love a spa, there’s nothing stopping you spending the whole day relaxing in the spa (note that the spa is an extra cost however). If you’re the active type, you can have a go at ziplining, rock climbing, indoor skydiving, and if that’s not enough, have a slide down one of the many waterslides!

You might be thinking, this sounds great, but where will the kids be while I'm relaxing in the spa? The baby and children facilities on board are very impressive. All these facilities sit in the ‘Adventure Ocean’ part of the ship. There are a number of different kids clubs depending on what age your children are.

AO Babies: 6-36 months

Staff to baby ratio: There are 4 members of staff and a limit of 10 babies at any time.

Opening times: 9am - 12pm / 2pm - 5pm / 7pm - 10pm / 10pm - midnight

There are plenty of spaces for nap time, feeding time and to enjoy a little snack in the safety of the ship. Just remember booking is required for AO Babies.

AO Junior: 3-5 years

Staff to child ratio: 3-5 members of staff and up to 30 kids at any time.

Opening times: 9am - 12pm / 2pm - 5pm / 7pm - 10pm / 10pm - midnight

There’s so much in AO Juniors to spark their creative side and encourage imaginative play. It also has the latest technology with the very impressive digital wall.

AO Kids: 6-12 years

Staff to child ratio: 2 members of staff in each area and up to 100 kids.

Opening times: 9am - 12pm / 2pm - 5pm / 7pm - 10pm / 10pm - midnight

There’s also plenty for older kids to do too with a place to play video games, lounge around and make new friends as well have some arty fun!

Note that during our stay, there were only 3,000 passengers on board, which may seem like a lot, but considering the capacity is 6,988, we imagine things may be a little busier during school holiday periods.

Where is there to eat?

Again, what isn’t there to eat? There’s a choice of all cuisines you can think of on the ship. The majority of dining venues are included in your cruise, with a huge range of food to choose from. Most of these are served in a buffet style for lunch and served at the table for dinner, with plenty of starter, main and pudding options. The food looks amazing, the choice is excellent and it tastes good. If you fancy something a little more special, we’d recommend having a fancier meal at one of the many restaurants.

You can easily find all the restaurants and dining areas on the app, where it will also tell you if it will come at an extra cost.

restaurant wonder of the seas

How much does it cost?

It really depends where your cruise is and how long it is, and prices can vary a lot depending on where you’re cruising from and the type of room you stay in, but just as an example, for a seven night Spain and France cruise from Southampton, prices start from £799 per person. On select cruises, kids can sail for as little as £99 too!

Do we think it's worth the money? We would say it is. Most of the food and activities on board are included with your stay so you do get a lot for your money, just be sure to check what comes at an extra charge on the ship as things can get expensive. Things in the shops were noticeably more expensive than what they are at home, and the spa treatments in particular were extortionate. Before you board the ship, you'll be asked what card you want to charge any onboard expenses to. These details will then be uploaded to your room key which will act as your form of contactless payment for the duration of your stay.

Overall, we were blown away by everything aboard the Wonder of the Seas. With the choice of activities, food, excursions and rooms, there really is something for the whole family to enjoy. We felt very safe, welcome and secure during our stay, with all the staff still wearing face masks as well as plenty of places to wash hands and sanitise, it definitely felt Covid secure. Even when I fell ill onboard the ship, the medical centre on deck was excellent, and the teams of doctors and nurses working there could not have been better. It gave me peace of mind that if my little one ever fell ill on board, they would be taken care of just as well as they would be on land.

Wonder of the Seas is a safe and fun place for large families to relax and explore and with so many different routes and excursions to enjoy, it’s also a brilliant chance to show your children the world from the seas.

Sold? Book your next family holiday on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship here.

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