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Wonder of the Sea

Updated: Apr 21

Day 4: Western Mediterranean Cruise

Royal Caribbean | Wonder of the Seas

The last two nights we stay at this cute hotel in Barcelona. It’s located in the older gothic quarter and is centrally located to some wonderful areas. It’s also one of the few hotels in the area that accommodates families well. Our room had a king bed and bunkbeds and was decently sized. Our room had a balcony that overlooked the alley and overall was a wonderful hotel. The staff was incredibly kind. Today, we checked out of our hotel and asked about taxis. They said they can call one to the hotel and that the driver would come to the lobby to collect us. Wonderful! After waiting about five minutes, a taxi driver approached us and asked us if we were waiting for a taxi. I said yes. He then asked for our room number. It turns out we was another family’s taxi. This family had checked out right before us so I knew ours would be close behind. We waited about twenty minutes and still no taxi. I began to wonder if the front desk had forgotten to call. I turn to walk back to the front desk to ask and as I turn the lady from the front desk is there. She’s there to tell me that the taxi company called and they are delayed. She gave us the option of waiting or going in the street to hail a taxi. We were about to say we’d wait, but I looked at my watch and realized it was almost noon which was our boarding time. The lady knew the fastest way would be to hail one, but she could see the hesitation on my face. We have a lot of stuff! Before I could say anything, she said she would help us hail a taxi. She helped us with our luggage and walked outside and across the street for us and she waited with us. Plenty of taxis past. Most were full and the ones that weren’t full were tiny ones that wouldn’t fit us and our stuff. Soon enough there was one and we were on our way!

Petit Palace Boqueria in Barcelona
Petit Palace Boqueria in Barcelona

The port was a 15-minute drive. The taxi dropped us off and we were on our way! We waited in a short line to hand over our baggage and then headed to the terminal. Before entering the terminal, there were people checking SetSail passes to make sure we should be there. We showed out passes from my phone and then entered. Inside there was a decent line and a short line for priority guests. Usually this line is for guests selling in suites and guests with high-raking loyalty numbers. We fit neither category, but they opened the line for us. Our ticket was having my young son with us. Young children and their families are ushered through this line too. Well at least that’s what I think happened. (We had a similar thing happen on our last cruise.) We are handed off to a lady who checks our passports, vaccine cards, test results, and letters of recovery. She clears us and then we walk on the ship. It was incredibly efficient!

We head off for brunch at the WindJammer which is the buffet on-board. I had a burger and fries. It was okay, but nowhere near the caliber of burger from last night’s restaurant. It was a quick lunch and soon enough it was 1pm and we could enter our cabins.

Our cabin is at the front-starboard side of the ship. We are the last cabin door in the hallway which makes remembering which cabin you are super easy! When we booked this cruise, it was nearly full and there weren’t many Oceanview balconies left. So far, I really like this location. It’s quiet despite being next door to Adventure Ocean and overall has been convenient. We’re close enough to deck 15 and 16 to take the stairs and we’re close to the kid’s club, arcade, and solarium.

When we arrive to our cabin, our keys are there on our ledge and our bags are in the hallway. Now the moment of truth…how crammed will it feel with three adults and one child with lots of stuff? As we pile in the luggage and unpack, I’m starting to regret my decision of one cabin. I chose one cabin because I knew we’d spent a large amount of time off the ship and around the ship. Also, my son doesn’t do the greatest in groups so the more economical group tours are really hard for us. I chose to save some money with one cabin so we could use that part of our budget for private tours. Back to unpacking. We slowly empty each suitcase finding nooks and crannies for everything. Surprisingly, everything finds a home and are filled cabin is no longer cramped. It’s amazing how much storage space there is! We were able to fit two large suitcases, two small suitcases, a car seat, and a stroller under the bed! Four people in a cabin is definitely doable. If money weren’t an object, yes, I’d book two connecting cabins, but we like to travel a lot so we save where we can.

Wonder of the Seas Cabin
Wonder of the Seas Cabin

Cruising is back! My very first cruise was September 2021. This cruise is my sixth cruise. I’m calling it the year of the cruise! I’ve been very spoiled because my first five cruises were relatively empty and felt more like cruising on a semi-private yacht. This cruise is not that. It is crowded and I haven’t yet found my secret quiet spots…don’t worry I will. Despite the amount of people, being on such a large ship means there is space.

Many people head to the pool shortly after setting foot onto a ship and we were no exception. Given the amount of people on the ship, I thought finding four loungers together would be tough. It wasn’t hard at all! We found four near the Splashpad and my son sets off to play. He was a little too short for the slides, but enjoyed the water tables. He didn’t last long here because he really wanted to go to the arcade.

Being on a new ship is a little overwhelming especially for a little guy like my son. He was so excited and full of energy that he literally pinged around the ship like a rogue ping-pall ball. I appeased his curiosity and we bounced from Boardwalk Arcade to Front Arcade to Playscape to Adventure Ocean to Central Park to our room. We saw a lot in a short amount of time!

I expected this ship to be a bigger and newer version of Harmony of the Seas, which it is, but there are actually quote a few differences between the ships. Let’s start with the Boardwalk. The boardwalk arcade on the Harmony of the Seas is a room you enter from the boardwalk that houses lots of games for small children. The Wonder of the Seas doesn’t have an enclosed arcade here. Instead, arcade games are located outside on the boardwalk and there are fewer options. This was a little bit of a letdown for my son. A candy store replaced the arcade area, but it wasn’t opened yet for the day. Another difference was the restaurant. Harmony of the Seas housed a Mexican restaurant here while Wonder of the Seas houses Playmakers. This was an upgrade and both changes seem to make the area a bit more lively. Another small difference was the size of the climbing structure. It’s smaller on this ship. Starbucks is located on the promenade on this ship instead of the Boardwalk. It’s pretty cool to see the progression and having experienced both ships, I think the changes made were overall upgrades to providing a better experience.

Boardwalk on Wonder of the Seas
Boardwalk on Wonder of the Seas

The arcade at the Boardwalk was smaller, but the arcade at the front of the ship was much larger. The larger arcade houses driving games, air hockey, This is my son’s new favorite place! He played a basketball game and skee-ball before we bounced to the next location.

Arcade on Wonder of the Seas
Arcade on Wonder of the Seas

The Playscape is new to Wonder of the Seas and is a HUGE upgrade for families. It’s located at the back of the ship next to the putt-putt course. As we past the ocean-themed golf course, we saw stairs up to a small slide. My son raced up them and slid down. Noting else was visible and I thought, really one slide is a playscape? I mean yes, technically it is, but I was expecting a full playground. Well we looked a little further and found it! The main playground was down a deck on the other side of this slide. It has another larger slide, a non-jumpy trampoline-style climbing structure, space to run, bouncy animals, a steering wheel positioned so it feels like you’re guiding the ship, a telescope, and more. My son found his new favorite place!

Playscape on Wonder of the Seas
Playscape on Wonder of the Seas

I booked this cruise just like I would book a cruise for my clients meaning I didn’t get some fancy discount or anything like that. I did however take advantage of promotions that are available to you too! Royal Caribbean has a Kids Sail Free promotion which is still happening now. That saved us a TON on this trip. Also, my travel agency is part of a consortium that offers additional perks. We received a specialty dining for two on this sailing for free!

We made a reservation for Chops when we boarded the ship for tonight for 7pm. The time wasn’t ideal because we wanted a little bit later, but it could still work. Later, my son and I are back at the cabin and the phone rings. My son answers it, which he loved because he doesn’t normally get to do that. It made me really appreciate the three years of speech therapy; he’s really come a long way! Eventually, he says “okay I’ll get my mom” and then hands over the phone. It’s someone calling from Central 150 which is an upscale specialty restaurant on the ship. He sees I have a coupon for specialty dining and offers a reservation for tonight at 7:30pm. He also sees our sons are with us in the cabin and offers 50% off for our older son and our younger son is free. I think, 7:30pm is a better time and they both have steak so let’s do it!

Bringing my young son to a fancy restaurant isn’t something we normally do, but it’s our ten-year wedding anniversary soon so we are making an exception. We start the meal with specialty martinis which are cool and delicious. They are served with cucumber as a garnish and I ask if we can have a couple extra for our young son, knowing he’ll want to eat ours. The server comes back with a martini glass filled with cucumbers. Once he realizes they are cucumbers, he’s less excited about them. I offer to poor a drink in his glass and he grins. I pour some water intro his martinis glass and it’s one of the few times the child actually drinks water! For appetizers, Tanner and I have the beef short rib and Brian has the scallops. The beef short ribs comes out plated on mashed butternut squash and was Devine. It looks like a meal in itself. Next, the entrees. Lobster for Brian, Beef tenderloin for Tanner, and lamb Wellington for me. Everything was so good! We finish with dessert. I had the fried cheesecake which is presented artfully, and tastes good, but it wasn’t my favorite. Overall a wonderful dinner and definitely an upgrade from the main dining hall.

Central 150 on Wonder of the Seas
Central 150 on Wonder of the Seas

We finish the night together at the promenade for some pictures. I purchased the photo package ahead of time so I’m all about getting as many quality photos as I can! My family head back to the room for the night, but I head to a show.

Family in front of Wonder of the Seas

Tonight, Tap Factory was the show in the Royal Theatre. I think most people would love this show, but it wasn’t for me. The show is basically tap dancing mixed with a contortionist, acrobat, and drumming. The scene is set within a factory and begins with an African-American man playing the role as a janitor. He interacts with the audience in a language I think no one really understands, but with the gestures and such enough is communicated. The show then moves to an all-male, all-white dancing/drumming team performing as the factory workers. There were a couple parts where women tap-dance with the men as essentially back-up dancers. The performers were all fabulous, but the antiquated casting and old-school role playing was off-putting for me. It was no Hamilton!

After the show, the elevators are backed-up so I decide to roam a little bit. The ship is lively with the AquaShow drawing a crowd on the Boardwalk and several musicians entertaining guests at the various bars. After about 15 minutes of roaming, I hop in an empty elevator and head back to the cabin. Tomorrow, we’re in Palma de Mallorca!

About the Author

Amaris is the owner of the Ohio-based travel agency, Adventures by Amaris. Her love for travel began at a young age when she traveled to her parents' home countries of England and Mexico. She continued traveling in High School by participating in a People to People program to Italy, France and Monaco. In college, she spent six weeks in Europe studying abroad and traveling. She visited Spain, Portugal, England, Wales, Ireland, Vatican City, and Italy in a whirlwind summer. Through her adult life she continues to make traveling a priority with her family. Her young son is autistic so navigating the world of traveling with an autistic child brings on new adventures. Her travel resume includes Mexico, Turks & Caicos, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Panama, Costa Rica, Haiti, Jamaica, Colombia, and Cayman Islands. She is an expert in planning family vacations across the world from Disney World to Europe to worldwide cruises.

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