Wonder of the Seas Trip Log Day 1: 7-Night Western Caribbean Royal Caribbean Cruise – Port Canaveral, Florida – March 10, 2024

Trip log, day one. Port Canaveral, Florida.
7-Night Western Caribbean Royal Caribbean Cruise from Port Canaveral, Florida 
March 10, 2024
Cruise Compass – Day 1 | The Social Feed – Day 1
Wonder of the Seas Deck Plan

RCCL Wonder Seas Stateroom TV Map Day 1 Port Canaveral

For the second spring break in a row, we are stepping outside of Disney Cruise Line to experience a week at sea with a different cruise line. If you recall, last March we sailed to the Eastern Caribbean on the Mardi Gras, one of Carnival Cruise Line’s vessels sailing from Port Canaveral. In 2024, we are finally doing what we were originally going to do on March 15, 2020, sail with Royal Caribbean. Four years ago we were booked on the Harmony of the Seas for the same itinerary visiting Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; Cozumel, Mexico; and Perfect Day at Coco Cay in The Bahamas. This year, we are sailing on the Wonder of the Seas from Port Canaveral.

I hope you enjoy the start of our second non-Disney Cruise trip report as we continue to expand our cruise experiences, and see what other lines offer to get a better perspective on the cruise industry. This trip report will range from what we did each day to direct comparisons to our Disney cruising experiences. Now let’s embark on this trip report.

Well, sort of. Normally, we are accustomed to embarking on a week long Caribbean cruise on Saturday, but the Wonder of the Seas departs on Sundays. We selected a Noon port arrival time and our friends who are also on this voyage had a 12:30 port arrival time. The plan was to leave home about 10:45 AM and drive approximately 1 hour to the port. That meant I had just enough time to play 9-holes of golf with my regular Sunday morning group. I packed 98% of what I needed last Sunday, and even with change in sunrise due to the fact we gained 1 hour last night when we sprung ahead and started Daylight Savings Time, I had ample time to play golf.

Pre Cruise Disney Golf

I was home and finished my last minute packing by 10:30 AM and saw a notification on my phone from the Royal Caribbean app that I could start the eMuster drill.

RCCL Wonder Seas EMuster Drill

It was really simple. Launch the app, click on the ‘eMuster Safety Information banner,’ and follow the steps. The at-home portion allowed us to review the safety procedures and watch a life jacket demonstration video followed by a preview of the emergency horn (seven shorts blasts followed by one long blast). After reviewing some additional information, all that was left was to physically check-in to our assigned muster station onboard.

It was time to head over to the port, thankfully, my in-laws were willing to play chauffeur and drive us to the port, which not only saved us on a week worth of parking, but offered a bit of a ride share perspective (except for the fact that I actually drove). Needless to say, we appreciated their willingness to shuttle us to Port Canaveral.

We arrived at a side drop off area on Flounder Street in The Cove on the west side of Port Canaveral’s Cruise Terminal 1 (CT1). Is this the ideal spot to be dropped off? Well, that remains to be seen, but it worked for our needs and kept our drivers out of embarkation traffic. So far, this was a much smoother process than driving over to Disney’s Cruise Terminal 8 (CT8) and I’ve always thought that experience was incredible. This is solely a result of the location of CT1 directly next to The Cove offering options versus the one way in, one way out aspect of CT8.

RCCL Wonder Seas Port Canaveral CT1 Arrival

From the drop off, we were technically staying and looking directly at the main exterior entrance of CT1 across a courtyard.

RCCL Wonder Seas Port Canaveral CT1 Arrival

One very key factor about this drop off location, there are restroom facilities available before heading into security check line inside the terminal. It was a relatively easy walk with our luggage across the courtyard to the corner of parking garage where we dropped off luggage and headed inside.

RCCL Wonder Seas Port Canaveral CT1 Arrival

At 12:14 PM, we entered the terminal joining a quickly moving security line. At the time of our cruise, Royal Caribbean permits, on embarkation day, each guest of drinking age may bring one (1) sealed 750 ml bottle of wine or champagne. Additionally, guests may also bring non-alcoholic beverages as carry-on items on boarding day. Non-alcoholic beverages may not exceed 12 standard (17 oz.) cans, bottles or cartons per stateroom.

“Due to spring break” we were sent over to additional screening as each can of sparkling water needed to be check to ensure no cans of alcohol were concealed within the sealed case of sparkling water. Keep this in mind if you are brining a sealed box as you may want to bring a bag for the box afterwards as they used 1 strip of masking tape to secure the box after inspection. You don’t want to have your cans fall out of the carton just before you get to your stateroom. The quickly glanced at our two bottles of wine as well.

RCCL Wonder Seas Port Canaveral CT1 Security Line

While the security line was fast, the secondary beverage check ground us to a halt. All in all, security took about 15 minutes, only about 3 minutes of it walking the line and going through the detectors. The next stop was upstairs to a massive open area of flanked with check-in stations and long one wall and plenty of seating.

RCCL Wonder Seas Port Canaveral CT1 Waiting Area

Similar to Disney Cruise Line, most of the check-in process is done at home before port arrival with basically a passport check/personal documents check in the terminal. Our friend was even able to re-take her security photo at this time at her own request since the original was not to her liking as it was rushed on a tarmac just to get to the point to select a port arrival time before taking off.

RCCL Wonder Seas Port Canaveral CT1 Check In

Port arrival times can be a hot topic, but I’m really starting to love them simply because they work as intended to reduce pinch points and create a streamlined embarkation process. It was so streamlined, that once we finished at the check-in stations, we were directed to board the ship!

RCCL Wonder Seas Port Canaveral CT1 Waiting Area

At 12:31 PM, we started to walk across the terminal then down a corridor to board the Wonder of the Seas. There was a continuous flow of fellow passengers, but I would not call it a line, it was more like a steady stream all the way onboard where we entered on Deck 5 into the Royal Promenade. To help follow along during the course of these upcoming trip logs, here is a link to the Wonder of the Seas deck plan which I will continue to include at the top of each trip log going forward.

RCCL Wonder Seas Port Canaveral CT1 Boarding

Ok, technically once onboard there was a short line, but it was for PIZZA. Directly to our left as we entered and less than 5 minutes from completing the check-in, we were in line at Sorrentos!!! So far today has been golf + cruise + pizza = awesome.

After lunch, we walked two venues over in the Royal Promenade to Regalia Fine Watches to complete the last step of the eMuster drill. There were two crew members stationed at a kiosk with the muster station identification number. Similar to Disney Cruise Line, our room cards were in an envelope outside our stateroom door in an envelope. As a result, we presented with the app open to the safety information screen and provided the crew members our stateroom number completing the necessary administrative duties allowing us to begin our spring break vacation.

We started to walk around and ended up in Central Park on deck 8 which is an internal open air space inspired by Central Park in New York City flanked by five decks of staterooms and the upper pool decks towering above. We immediately fell in love with this space and felt really good about our choice of stateroom which we will be heading to next.

RCCL Wonder Seas Central Park

As we were strolling through Central Park we came upon a cute little bar, the Trellis Bar and met one of the bartenders, Randy. We ordered a wine and joked that our room was somewhere up above to which Randy joked about setting up a wine delivery service with ice bucket and a rope.

RCCL Wonder Seas Central Park Trellis Bar

On display at the bar was a boarding day exclusive offer for the deluxe beverage package as well as information the on the other beverage package offerings. The embarkation deal was Buy one deluxe beverage package for $110 per person/day and get one for 50% off at $55 per person/day. On the surface the idea of a deluxe beverage package is enticing, but when we crunched the numbers it wasn’t worth it for us. Each adult in the stateroom is required to buy one as a mechanism to avoid drink sharing, reports suggest there is a way out of this by calling, but the other adult is still required to my the non-alcoholic drink package. Given the time we spend ashore in ports, and the fact we’d need to consume a lot just to break even, it was not worth it. Thus, we chose to go a la carte for the cruise.

I have no idea when staterooms were supposed to be ready, but we entered ours at 1:15 PM. The highlight of the room is the unique view from our balcony AKA verandah. It is an interior balcony overlooking Central Park. The icing on the cake was nearly a double sized extended exterior balcony space due to the stateroom’s location. The balcony included a full size table and two chairs.

On top of that, our balcony overlooks the Trellis Bar allowing us to wave to Randy.

RCCL Wonder Seas Central Park Balcony Stateroom

The stateroom was bright with a Royal King bed which upon request can be separated into two twin beds and a sofa bed with a pullout bed. Our daughter opted to have the sofa made up versus the pullout option. I you look closely at the sofa picture, you can see the handle in the middle used to pull the lower bed out from under the sofa. Bedding for both were stored under the bed if at anytime we changed our preference. I was apprehensive about the bed, but it was very comfortable and I ended up having 7 great nights of sleep.

In all of our past Disney Cruises, we have never sailed in a room with a standup shower without a tub. The bathroom was in great shape, clean, and got the job done. The ventilation and stateroom air-condition worked exceptionally well pulling out the shower humidity quickly. One note about the A/C, it will shut off when the balcony door is open which was a common occurrence during our March sailing as the humidity was low and the temperature were subjectively cool.

Our room had the bed near the entrance with the sofa and vanity near the balcony. Our friend’s stateroom was flipped. The desk featured a number of outlets including USB charing ports.

RCCL Wonder Seas Central Park Balcony Stateroom

The large door next to the desk is the cooling boxes you may be familiar with from the Magic and Dream class ships.

In terms of storage, there was more than enough space for our family of three to unpack all of our clothes for the week. There is a hair dryer provide in each stateroom.

The bed was flanked by floor to ceiling storage. The side pictured above had shelving, two drawers, and a space to hang longer clothes such as dresses. The safe was small compared to those we’ve encountered on other ships. The matching storage on the opposite side of the bed was the same size with two horizontal bars with a plethora of hangers. Similar to Disney’s beds, there was storage under the bed for most suitcases.

RCCL Wonder Seas Central Park Balcony Stateroom

This may be a record — by 2:00 PM, all of our luggage arrived in the hallway outside of our stateroom. It was not specifically directly outside of our door. It appeared the luggage was coming up the service elevators and staged in the hallways. So, I took the initiative and rolled our suitcases down to our room to expedite the process. I could not believe how early we were unpacked. For me, vacation doesn’t really begin until I’m unpacked. Silly, I know.

We were now free to roam around the ship with well over 2 hours before we even needed to consider getting ready for dinner. First up, we scouted out the fitness center. The space was massive with ample capacity for the typical opening rush in the mornings… Hopefully.

ALL STOP!!! What was that? A cruise ship entering service in 2022 with a dedicated jogging track!

RCCL Wonder Seas Vitality At Sea Fitness Center Jogging Track

Confirmed, there is a continuous jogging track on the Wonder of the Seas which we will check out later on during the cruise.

There was also a handout with the fitness schedule.

The Royal Theatre on board the Wonder of the Seas is the main venue for shows like The Walt Disney Theater.

RCCL Wonder Seas Royal Theatre

However, things work a bit differently with Royal Caribbean, and you will need to pre-reserve seats for the show(s) of your choosing via the Royal App unless otherwise noted. As we discovered later in the sailing, there is a stand-by line available.

RCCL WoS Showtimes 20240310

It is not even 4 o’clock on embarkation day and we are already booking another Royal Caribbean cruise. Did the free bottle of sparking wine (not champagne) bring us in? Maybe, because who wouldn’t be swayed to book a cruise by a $5.99 bottle of sparkling wine.

RCCL Wonder Seas Next Cruise NOT Champagne Offer

Next, stop was up to Deck 16 aft to Social100, which is billed as the teen club onboard, exclusive to guests 13-17. The ship also offers a daily schedule of events for the teen space called The Social Feed as a pdf. Additionally, on Deck 17 Forward Port, teens have an exclusive outdoor space called Social100 Patio.

Oh look at this, adults with beverages in the main pool! Would you look at that! The main pools are located on deck 15.

RCCL Wonder Seas Main Pool Port

Up a flight of stairs on Deck 16 there were a selection of casitas, essentially covered day beds that can be rented by the day.

On Deck 16 aft, past El Loco Fresh, a buffet offering Mexican fare is Cantina Fresca where Emily order an off the menu Jalapeño Margarita. The bartender was happy to oblige and grabbed a handful of jalapeños and muddled to begin the building a fantastic spicy margarita sans agave, as she prefers spicy and not sweet.

RCCL Wonder Seas Cantina Fresca Jalapeno Margarita

In the aft elevator/stair lobby area was a scale model of the Wonder of the Seas offering a unique look at the ships overall design. Similar to the Wish Class, the Wonder of the Seas features only 2 elevator/stair lobbies which have been growing on me. I am not sure if the Disney Wish’s layout conditioned me for this design, or it just works well on Wonder of the Sea.

We had about an hour before it was time to head to dinner, so we returned to the room where we snacked on the strawberries and cheese plates which we pre-ordered. The cheese plate was $37 and the chocolate covered strawberries were $40, and both included a bottle of wine. The highlight of the two was the half round of Boursin cheese on the plate. If you haven’t tried Boursin, stop reading and run to the grocery store. I’ll wait… You won’t be disappointed, we use it regularly as an ingredient at home as well as on cheese plates, plus there a some delicious limited edition varieties offered thought the year.

While we were hanging out on the balcony, we browsed what is essentially a Personal Navigator which Royal Caribbean calls a Cruise Compass. The full printout, not just basic single sheet of paper, are available at guest services upon request. Additionally, you could view the source PDF version online as well as the integrated schedule offerings in the Royal App. Here is something that is really cool about the Royal Caribbean app — you can view your cruise’s list of scheduled activities before you even leave home days, in our case I noticed nearly a week before the cruise! While I did not do my homework, it was a very cool option to have access to a tentative schedule of events to browse leading up to the cruise. Key work there was tentative and I am sure this is one reason Disney Cruise Line does not offer this information because Guest Services can only explain the meaning of subject to change a limited amount of times before they need to scream into a pillow.

I linked the PDFs of both the Cruise Compass and The Social Feed at the top and will continue to included these for each day of the cruise.

RCCL Wonder Seas Paper Cruise Compass Collection 20240317

It is not a secret that I am not a fan of the cruise apps from any cruise line, and the Royal App had its hits and misses just like the DCL and Carnival apps. Notably, the chat feature was just as unreliable as DCL’s. We are cruising with friends with green chat bubbles… So, while iMessage worked for our family most of the time, we were limited to the Royal App messaging to communicate with our friends.

If we were at a concert, we had pit tickets to the Lets Get Loud! Sail Away Party from our stateroom balcony as we were nearing the time to head out for our 5:00PM dinner seating.

The Main Dining Room on Wonder of the Seas spans decks 3, 4, and 5 AFT. Similar to Disney Cruise Line, you are assigned a table and serving team consisting of a Waiter, Assistant Waiter, and Head Waiter. I appreciated the table number including the names of our serving team. Each night we choose to dine in the Main Dining Room, we will be seated at this table with the same team. Basically, same as DCL, but without the rotation or themed venue and entertainment.

A different menu is served each night consisting of a Chef’s Recommendation at the top followed by starters, main courses, and desserts. In addition to the included offerings, you can choose to upgrade your entree such as a Lobster Tail or Filet Mignon from the Premium Selections offerings for an additional fee starting at $16.99.

RCCL Wonder Seas MDR Welcome Aboard Dinner

Bread service was offered each night and the offerings were fresh! I normally shy away from the bread baskets on cruises, but the fresh bread was worth it. The appetizers were brought to our table within minutes of ordering.

Kudos to our server Vijay, and the galley team for honoring our friend’s request for rare with the Prime Rib! I went opted for the Southern Fried Chicken since it was the Chef’s Recommended entree, but that was a mistake, it was soggy – like it was a reheated day old leftover from refrigerator. Don’t get me wrong, leftover fried chicken from the fridge is great, just not what I’d expect at a sit down dinner on a cruise ship. However, I should have known better than to order fried chicken from a Main Dining Room when there is a dedicated southern inspired restaurant onboard serving up fried chicken. Stay tuned, we have reservations at The Mason Jar for brunch on our first sea day.

Our table unknowing ordered pie (and cheesecake). Each dessert looked great with a substantial portion offered which was great for sharing around the table. I would say the Key Lime was my favorite, but Key Lime typically ranks the highest on my rankings.

Overall, we are impressed with the level of dinner service, it was fantastic. However, overall, the food was just ok. I am reserving judgement because I chose poorly when it came to my entree selection which was letdown based on my expectations of fried chicken versus good/bad. One thing to note, our seating was at 5 PM, which is a favorite in our house, as we love to eat early. However, even better, we were out of the dining room by 5:45 PM! We were absolutely not rushed at all, it was just when we naturally finished. This is a huge complaint we have on DCL, as when we have 5:45 PM dining, and we are still there at 7…7:15…sometimes close to 7:30 PM, and there is not a show every night that lengthens it.

Honestly, I had no idea what activities were available onboard following dinner, but I did know there was a SpaceX Starlink launch from Cape Canaveral scheduled for 7:05 PM. The launch cadence from Cape Canaveral at this point is so high that it is not uncommon to see a launch when sailing from Port Canaveral. At the very least, if there is no launch, there is a high chance you will see a used SpaceX booster on one of the barges or the pier at Port Canaveral. You can check Kennedy Space Center as well as Spaceflight Now and RocketLaunch.live for a schedule of upcoming launches from the Space Coast.

While on the subject of Starlink, the internet service onboard the Wonder of the Seas is from Starlink. I pre-purchased the length of cruise VOOM SURF + STREAM Internet Package for $140 during a promotional offer we received via email.

RCCL Wonder Seas VOOM Internet Stateroom Handout 20240310

Similar to Disney Cruise Line, you can buy service for the day and for the length of cruise with different service levels offered as well as the ability to use multiple devices concurrently. Depending on your needs, 1 device is the concurrent limit as the login can be shared with your party. You just need to coordinate the usage needs say for example you want to stream a Peloton workout in the gym while someone else is planning to do some remote work.

There were two ways to sign into the service. The easiest was clicking on the internet link in the Royal App which auto connected. To use the service on other devices you simply visited onboardicafe.com if an auto connection portal window didn’t appear after connecting to the onboard WiFi network.

We had some time to walk around before our next planned event. As we were heading to the Boardwalk area we stopped to take in the view of Central Park from deck 16.

RCCL Wonder Seas Central Park Pool View

The Boardwalk area is located on Deck 6 Aft. If the operational hours are right, you can take the shortcut, the Abyss slide down from deck 16.

RCCL Wonder Seas Boardwalk Abyss Slide

The Boardwalk area is similar to Central Park with open air aft above the Aquatheater. The area includes a Carousel, Johnny Rockets and Playmakers sports bar, both of which offer a la carte menus. Johnny Rockets does offer a complimentary breakfast.

Sugar Beach, the Wonder of the Seas can shop is located next to Johnny Rockets, is the ships sweet shop. We walked in to check out the offerings and there they were! I have been searching Haribo displays everywhere when I travel hoping to discover the Travel Parade edition solely because there is a cruise ship shaped gummy included in the bags. This was one of those, I’m happy to have been there and witness the greatness with my own eyes, but not for $17.99.

RCCL Wonder Seas Sugar Beach Haribo Travel Parade

We started to make our way to trivia and stopped in the Schooner Bar on which is just past the elevator/stair lobby as you re-enter from the Boardwalk on Deck 6 aft. I’m a sucker for nautical decor and this space was full of it, including a fun but not so comparable couch made out of a small boat. Definitely, a spot we will check out later on in the cruise.

Down one flight of stars to deck 5 and a short walk through the Royal Promenade we were at Spotlight Karaoke for ABBA trivia. It was a busy trivia session so seating was limited by the time we arrived. I knew I was not going to be a valuable member of the trivia team, I stayed at the entrance back by the bar just enjoying the music. First music trivia in the books and there were some deep cuts that included songs I’ve never even heard.

RCCL Wonder Seas Spotlight Karaoke

Afterwards, we decided to call it a night and return to the room at the late late hour of 8 o’clock. A small price to pay for an enjoyable day with friends, family and a little early morning golf.

While we were winding down, I turned on the tv in the stateroom to browse the on demand offerings… WHAT!!!!! Well, of all the cheap, lousy ways to save a buck! ELEVEN DOLLARS AND NINTY-NINE CENTS FOR A 24-HOUR RENTAL!!! Oh well, technically Carnival also charged for on demand movies, but the fee was waved during our cruise last Spring Break as a stateroom perk of an Excel Suite.

RCCL Wonder Seas Stateroom PAID On Demand Disney's Wish

Here is a look at the continental breakfast offerings available when ordered by 3:00AM. The hangtag is similar to Disney Cruise Line’s stateroom room service breakfast offering.

In addition to the complimentary offerings, and also included on the above menu is an American Breakfast section that can be pre-ordered with the form, or by calling room service between 6a – 11a. The primary difference with Royal Caribbean is that room service will incur a service fee of $7.95 per room delivery.

RCCL Wonder Seas Stateroom Room Service Breakfast Menu

From 11:00 AM to 6:00 AM, the following room service is available, again for a delivery service fee of $7.95. With all the options available across the Wonder of the Seas, we did not order room service during our cruise. There were even included venues onboard the ship I did not get around to trying.

RCCL Wonder Seas Stateroom Room Service Menu

Thanks for sticking around for the start of our second cruise line comparison trip report. I hope you will return for the remainder. Let me know if you have any questions and I will do my best to incorporate answers into the upcoming trip reports.

As I mentioned, earlier I will leave my overall thoughts and opinions on the Wonder of the Seas and Royal Caribbean at the end of the day 7 ship log.

Complete Trip Log Index

5 Replies to “Wonder of the Seas Trip Log Day 1: 7-Night Western Caribbean Royal Caribbean Cruise – Port Canaveral, Florida – March 10, 2024”

  1. Marcel

    After 55 DCL cruises we also did Wonder of the Seas and loved it. We did book the Adventure of the Seas which is about the same size as the Dream & Fantasy. Looking forward to your next post.

  2. Barb Ppkornik

    How can I find your review of the Mardi Gras from 2023 Spring break?
    Definitely following this years as well. Nicely done! Much appreciation ❤️

  3. Steven

    Royal has been good for our last 5 cruises with them however they aren’t close to Disney on several things. Now Royal beats Disney with the port selections but my heart will always be with Disney.


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