Royal Caribbean Ship Classes Compared
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Royal Caribbean is renowned for its impressive and diverse fleet of cruise ships, designed to offer a high thrills vacation at sea. The company’s current fleet includes some of the world’s largest and most advanced cruise ships.
Royal Caribbean groups its ships into classes with similar sizes, designs, features, and amenities.
Each ship class within the Royal Caribbean fleet offers different amenities, sizes, onboard activities, restaurants, bars, and experiences catering to various passenger tastes and preferences. From the awe-inspiring Oasis class, known for its record-breaking size and exclusive amenities, to the classic Vision class with its intimate atmosphere, there is truly a ship for everyone in the Royal Caribbean family.
As a friendly introduction to Royal Caribbean ship classes, this article delves into the various categories and their characteristics. By exploring the similarities and differences between each class, you can make a well-informed decision about which Royal Caribbean cruise ship best suits your needs for the ultimate vacation experience.
Royal Caribbean International offers a diverse fleet of ships, each carrying passengers to explore various destinations. This section provides an overview of the Royal Caribbean cruise ships by class.
Ships: Icon of the Seas, two more unannounced vessels debuting in 2025 and 2026
Icon of the Seas will become the largest cruise ship in the world when she debuts in May 2024.
The Icon class is the first new cruise ship class by Royal Caribbean since the introduction of the Quantum class in 2014. It is also the first Royal Caribbean class of cruise ships powered by liquified natural gas (LNG).
The mega-cruise ship has a gross tonnage of 250,800 GT, around 6% bigger than the Oasis-class vessels. The ship is 1,198 feet long and can accommodate up to 7,800 passengers in 2,805 cabins.
Icon of the Seas follows the idea that bigger is better.
And loyal cruisers are excited, with tickets for Icon’s inaugural voyage selling out in less than 24 hours.
Like the Oasis class, Icon cruise ships offer eight unique neighborhoods:
The new cruise ship class boasts the largest pool at sea, the largest waterpark at sea, the largest ice rink in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, the largest waterfall at sea, and a three-story Ultimate Family Townhouse.
Ships: Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas, Wonder of the Seas, Utopia of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class is the most well-known class of cruise ship. Before Icon of the Seas, the Oasis class consisted of the largest cruise ships in the world.
The vessels are popular for the hollowed-out center showcasing the impressive Central Park and Boardwalk. The ships feature plenty of open-air, thousands of trees, and plant life at Central Park.
Oasis-class ships offer unparalleled experiences, seven or eight neighborhoods, world-class entertainment, thrill-seeking activities, and innovative amenities.
There are plenty of new entertainment options, including the AquaTheatre. Located at the ship’s aft, the AquaTheatre is home to a Cirque du Soleil-esq show featuring acrobatics, high-diving, and aerial performances, unlike any show at sea.
These vessels are an excellent choice for thrill seekers and families. Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class has everything you could dream of and more.
Oasis-class ships are an excellent choice for cruisers looking for high-thrill activities and who view the ship as the destination. The wide range of activities and family-friendly offerings make it an ideal choice for families, kids, and teens.
Ships: Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Spectrum of the Seas, and Odyssey of the Seas
The Quantum Class ships are known for their cutting-edge technology and innovative entertainment options. These ships feature the iconic North Star observation capsule, RipCord by iFly, and the Two70° entertainment venue.
Quantum class cruise ships are slightly smaller than the Oasis class but feature several activities and venues not found on other Royal Caribbean cruise ships.
The vessels have a gross tonnage of just under 170,000GT and a passenger capacity of 4,200.
A new Two70 entertainment venue at the ship’s aft combines technology to bring a unique multi-purpose venue to life. The entertainment venue is home to heartstopping entertainment at night and tranquil 270-degree panoramic ocean views during the day.
The Quantum class’ North Star is one of a kind activity. The glass and steel observation pod brings passengers 300 feet above the ocean, bringing you over the ship’s edge.
Take it from us. The North Star is the best way to experience Alaska’s breathtaking scenery.
Royal Caribbean designed the Quantum class to navigate warm and cold weather climates. The cruise ships feature an indoor pool and an enclosed sports facility so that you can enjoy everything a cruise vacation offers, no matter the weather.
Ships: Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, and Independence of the Seas.
Although the Freedom class of ship is no longer among the 25 biggest cruise ships in the world, they still offer the classic big ship experience.
The vessels have a gross tonnage of up to 156,000 GT and provide many big ship thrills on Oasis, Quantum, and Icon class ships.
Freedom Class ships offer exciting features and attractions like the Royal Promenade, ice-skating rinks, and rock-climbing walls. They are also the first ships to introduce the Flow Rider surf simulator.
All three Freedom-class cruise ships have been renovated as part of the cruise line’s Royal Amplified program. So you can be sure you won’t miss out on any of the latest thrills at sea.
The updates include The Perfect Storm Waterslides, laser tag, escape rooms, Playmakers Sports Bar, and the Lime and Coconut Bar.
Ships: Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, and Mariner of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean International’s Voyager Class introduced the Royal Promenade, a lively street-like venue with shops, bars, and entertainment.
The Royal Promenade was a revolution in cruise ship design that morphed into the Central Park and Boardwalk on Oasis-class vessels.
Voyager Class also introduced mini-golf, ice skating, and more.
The Voyager class offers incredible value for cruisers. Though older than many vessels on this list, Royal Caribbean has updated all the Voyager class ships to provide striking new features.
Think water slides, aqua parks, FlowRiders, new restaurants, and more.
Ships: Serenade of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas, and Jewel of the Seas
Radiance Class ships are known for their sleek design, open spaces, and floor-to-ceiling glass windows, providing amazing views of the ocean and stunning ports of call.
The Radiance class doesn’t offer all the thrills and amenities of newer cruise ships, instead providing a classic cruise experience.
These vessels were designed for cruising to scenic destinations. Their large open spaces and panoramic windows provide passengers with plenty of views of the outdoors. Their glass elevators offer some of the best ocean views and cruise ports.
Being smaller ships, the Radiance class can travel to some smaller cruise ports that larger ships can’t access, providing for some unique itineraries. The ships are around 90,000 GT.
Royal Caribbean’s Radiance class sails to Alaska, Australia, the Panama Canal, and the Caribbean.
One unique activity is the self-leveling pool tables located outside the Safari Club. The tables use gyroscopes to keep the table level, even while the ship rocks through the waves.
Ships: Grandeur of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas, Vision of the Seas
Vision Class ships are Royal Caribbean’s fleet’s oldest and smallest vessels.
But you shouldn’t overlook them.
You can find some fantastic deals on these cruise ships. And despite not having all the bells and whistles of newer vessels, the Vision class offers rock climbing, pools, hot tubs, a spa, a casino, and an arcade.
The Vision class’ small size allows them to fit into lesser travel cruise ports. Royal Caribbean offers sailings on Vision class vessels to exotic destinations not traveled by the larger cruise ships.
You can find bumper cars on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum class and Quantum Ultra class cruise ships, including Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, and Spectrum of the Seas. The ships feature a SeaPlex, an indoor sports and entertainment complex that houses bumper cars, among other sports and activities.
The FlowRider surf simulator is found on many Royal Caribbeans Oasis, Quantum, Freedom, and Voyager class ships.
The following ships have Flowrider; Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, and Mariner of the Seas.
Central Park, an open-air garden with live vegetation, is available on the Oasis and Icon class ships. These ships include Icon of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas, and Wonder of the Seas.
Many Royal Caribbean ships now have water slides. The list of vessels with water slides includes; Icon of the Seas, Wonder of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean’s virtual balconies are innovative interior staterooms with floor-to-ceiling LED screens displaying real-time ocean views and destinations. Virtual balconies are available on Icon of the Seas, Wonder of the Seas, Odyssey of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Spectrum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas.