Royal Caribbean Group has been an IGLTA Gold Level Global Partner of IGLTA since 2018. As part of the Global Partnership with Royal Caribbean Group, IGLTA received an invitation for two staterooms (for two guests each) for the Wonder of the Seas Inaugural Naming Cruise sailing from Port Canaveral (Orlando) on 9 December (2 nights) and invited Scott Wismont (He/Him/His), Owner & Luxury Travel Specialist, Rainbow Getaways, for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Scott generously shared his impressions and images:
The Wonder of the Seas is Royal Caribbean’s newest and largest cruise ship to date. Joining Royal’s fleet earlier this year, the ship is 1,188 feet long and weighs 236,857 gross tons. The Wonder of the Seas is a mega ship filled with waterslides, theaters, and unique experiences for the whole family.
Royal Caribbean International is a family-oriented mass-market cruise line that promises fun for all ages, but how welcoming are they for the LGBTQ+ community?
I had the opportunity to sail the Wonder of the Seas for her naming ceremony on 9 December 2022, and I’m excited to say that the ship is welcoming for all members of our community. Keep reading to learn more and to help you decide if your vacation dollars should be spent on a Wonder of the Seas cruise.
If you’re new to cruising or haven’t cruised post-COVID, embarkation day has seen significant changes. Check in for your sailing happens via the Royal app and can be accomplished months before the cruise beings. You’ll enter passport information, take a selfie, choose a port arrival time, and provide a credit card for your onboard account.
On embarkation day, you’ll arrive at the terminal and proceed to the check-in counter to present your passport (or ID and official birth certificate). Once that is completed, depending on when you’ve arrived at the terminal, you’ll either wait for boarding to start or you’ll walk right onto the ship.
Activities on the Ship
Royal Caribbean has outdone itself with the Wonder of the Seas, and its seven neighborhoods are designed to keep you and your family busy. There is so much to do on the ship that it would take several cruises to do it all.
The nightly entertainment was some of the best that I’ve seen at sea. The full-stage production, The Effectors II, rivaled land productions in talent, the scope of action, and the complexity of props. For those that have sailed on the Odyssey of the Seas, this is the sequel to the ambitious The Effectors.
Royal Caribbean continues to push the limits of productions in the new shows inTENse: Maximum Performance and 365. These new productions in the Wonder’s Aquatheater and Studio B Ice Rink have brought new stunts, dances, and music to Royal’s signature performance spaces.
Perfect Day at Coco Cay
Royal Caribbean’s private island, Perfect Day at Coco Cay, is one of the highest-rated private destinations in the industry. The island is an extension of the ship, with a waterpark, hot air balloon, and multiple beaches to give your family a day that will leave them talking about it for years.
As an extension of the ship, there is no need to carry cash, and your drink package will continue to work on the island. The beaches have plenty of chairs, umbrellas, and even a floating bar; even with two ships at the island, it never felt crowded.
Royal Caribbean is working on adding an adults-only beach for those looking to escape. While there is no set opening date, this will eventually allow those traveling as just a couple (or parents looking to escape for a bit) a place to relax.
As a cis-gay male cruiser, I saw and met several members of our community on the ship. We’d find each other on the pool decks, in the shows, and in the bars. Everyone we met was welcoming and wanted to have a memorable time. The crew throughout the ship was welcoming and provided the same level of service regardless of how anyone was presenting.
I spoke with crew members about the lengths Royal goes to ensure everyone feels welcome on their ships, and the Wonder of the Seas is no exception. Royal Caribbean International’s parent company, the Royal Caribbean Group, is putting inclusivity as a key tenant of their product, and the welcoming environment is a refreshing way to vacation.
Royal Caribbean has adopted facial recognition for disembarkation, making the process as simple as looking at a camera and getting a green check mark. The system uses the photo you’ve uploaded while checking in, allowing members of our community to present their true selves. This is especially important for those who have not yet updated their passport with a recent picture.
Overall, I remain very impressed with Royal Caribbean’s culture, its focus on inclusivity, and the ability to have a memorable family vacation. If you’re considering a family vacation, look no further than the Wonder of the Seas or another Royal Caribbean ship.