First Call: Taste of the 'suite' life on Royal's Wonder of the Seas: Travel Weekly

ONBOARD THE WONDER OF THE SEAS — If you love the exclusive luxury experience but also big entertainment numbers found on megaships, if you’re a grandparent who wants to travel with the whole clan but still have a tranquil ocean voyage, if you’re just plain loyal to Royal but moving on up in the world, Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas has a suite for you.

I sure wished I was staying in the new Suite Neighborhood, but I wasn’t. Still, Royal Caribbean was kind enough to open the doors for a look at the private enclave on this inaugural sailing of the Wonder.

The Suite Neighborhood is a step forward for the line, bringing the best of past design together in one dedicated space, said Jay Schneider, Royal Caribbean Group’s senior vice president and chief product innovation officer.

“The reality is that even a big ship can feel like a small ship,” he said. “You can never leave the Suite Neighborhood and have a great sun deck, a great lounge and amazing dining.” 

It’s the latest iteration of the line’s evolving suite strategy that began on the Odyssey of the Seas and has now morphed into a two-deck zone that includes the private Coastal Kitchen, serving gourmet food and beverages; a sun deck with great lounge space and bars; the dedicated Suite Lounge; and amazing views of the very best thing about a cruise: the ocean. 

  • Related: Big fun on the largest cruise ship in the world, Wonder of the Seas

There are 174 suites on the Wonder, including the AquaTheater suites, which have access to the Suite Neighborhood even though they’re not in the neighborhood proper.

Within the enclave, there are more than two dozen Grand Suites on Deck 17; one deck up are the bigger Owner’s and Crown Loft suites and the Royal Loft Suite, which has accommodations for six guests.

The piece de resistance is the two-story Ultimate Family Suite built for nine guests, with a private cinema and karaoke area, balcony and hot tub.

As expected, the Suite Neighborhood on the first voyage was sold out, so we didn’t get to see inside an actual cabin. 

But the outdoor spaces are beautiful and inviting. And the bar was stocked; I was up for the scallop ceviche, ras el hanout swordfish and pistachio panna cotta off the lunch menu. 

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