The largest cruise ship in the world, the Wonder of the Seas, recently acquired by American cruise giant Royal Caribbean, has docked at Limassol Port ahead of its maiden season.
The 362-metre, the 236,857-tonne gross weight cruise ship has just joined the Royal Caribbean fleet as the fifth Oasis-class cruise ship of the company.
Wonder of the Seas was built in Saint-Nazaire, France, by Chantiers de l’Atlantique and sailed from Marseilles a few days ago, making her maiden voyage to the port of Limassol.
Breaking the company’s twin cruise ship record, the Wonder of the Seas is 4% larger than the Symphony of the Seas, with a capacity to accommodate 6,988 passengers and 2,300 crew.
Just acquired on 27 January, the ship is to sail on its maiden season, cruising from the US to the Caribbean, with a transatlantic voyage scheduled for February.
After a short stint in the US and the Caribbean, the Wonder of the Seas will return to Europe, offering cruises in the Western Mediterranean from May until October, sailing from Barcelona and Rome.
It is docked at Limassol port, where Royal Caribbean will present its plans for the next couple of years at a press conference on board the ship on 2 February, including cruises from Cyprus.
Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos tweeted: “The benefits for our economy and tourism are huge when leading cruise operators dock in Cyprus.
“We welcome the largest cruise ship in the world, Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas, to the Limassol Port”.
Royal Caribbean has cast its vote of confidence in the island, announcing it will continue cruises from Cyprus, calling Limassol Port home for the next two years.
According to the Deputy Ministry of Tourism, Royal Caribbean will continue to use Cyprus as a homeport for cruises in the Eastern Mediterranean, carrying off from where it left off in October.
It used Limassol as its home port for cruises to the Greek islands.
Initially, the cruise operator had aspired to carry thousands of passengers to Israel and the Greek islands with two cruise liners, the Odyssey of the Seas and the Jewel of the Seas.
However, tensions in the Middle East, combined with the spread of COVID-19 and travel restrictions, Royal Caribbean withdrew cruises to Israel by Odyssey of the Seas.
This left the Jewel of the Seas and cruises to the Greek islands on the schedule.