Which Royal Caribbean Cruise is Right for You?

With so many Royal Caribbean ships in the fleet, how do you know where to begin? Let's breakdown the 8 Royal Caribbean classes and figure out which ship is right for you.

Which Royal Caribbean Cruise is Right for You?

You can’t stop thinking about the salty ocean air in your face, sunshine gently warming your skin. You can practically smell the delectable food, prepared exactly the way you like it- and unlimited ice cream doesn’t sound so bad either. You keep picturing yourself at lavish events, laughing the night away and breathtaking shows, unable to peel your eyes away from the stunts happening before your eyes. That’s it, you decide, I’m finally booking that cruise. There’s only one problem. With so many ships to pick from, how do you even know where to begin?

For simplicity’s sake, today we will be focusing on ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet- and this is no small feat. At the time of writing (February 2023), the company has 26 ships in its fleet, with 4 more set to sail by 2025. The ships are broken up into classes, which are groups of ships that have similar layouts and characteristics. The classes are as follows: Quantum, Oasis, Freedom, Voyager, Radiance, Vision, Icon, and Ultimate World Cruise- Icon and Ultimate World Cruise are set to sail early 2024 and late 2023, respectively.

Quantum Class and Ultra Quantum Class

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Royal Caribbean celebrates Quantum, and its sub-class, Ultra Quantum, as being its most innovative class yet. The class is made up of Anthem of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Odyssey of the Seas (Quantum Ultra), Quantum of the Seas, and Spectrum of the Seas (Quantum Ultra). Quantum of the Seas launched in late 2014, and the class has been steadily growing since then.

Some of the things that really make this class shine are its exciting features. One feature you can look forward to is RipCord by iFly, an indoor skydiving simulator. Quantum class ships also feature the North Star, a glass walled observation tower that lifts guests 300 feet above sea level. These ships are also decked out with escape rooms, Sky Pad (a VR bungee jumping experience found on ultra-class ships), sports court, FlowRider surf simulator, rock climbing wall, H2O Zone kids’ aqua park, ice skating rink, SeaPlex (the largest indoor activity space at sea), and Broadway style shows.

These ships are perfect for many vacationers, due to the numerous options. The variety makes this class ideal for groups or families, as there is something to fit everyone’s taste. If you're looking for cutting edge technology, unique experiences, nonstop excitement, or you just want some of everything, this is a perfect ship for you.

Oasis Class

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The Oasis class is home to the world’s largest cruise ships. Harmony of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas, Wonder of the Seas, and Oasis of the seas are the boats that make up this class. This class had its inaugural voyage in 2009 with the Oasis, all the way to the Wonder in 2022, with another set to launch sometime in 2024.

These award-winning cruises feature activities like Splashaway Bay waterpark, escape room, H2O Zone kids’ aqua park, outdoor movie screen, full service spa, exciting shows, FlowRider surf simulator, rock climbing wall, ice skating, mini golf, and water slides. Note that not all activities are available on all Oasis class ships.

Like Quantum class, there is something for everyone on an Oasis class ship. Their size allows for activities to keep you entertained all day. This class is especially wonderful for vacationers with children in their party, as many of the adventures were created with tiny travelers in mind. However, adults have plenty of options to enjoy from the adult only pools, full service spa, and vibrant nightlife. These ships are also great picks if seasickness is a concern; a good rule of thumb is that the larger the ship, the less prone it is to excessive motion.

Freedom Class

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Before Oasis broke the record, the Freedom class held the title of the world’s largest cruise ships. These ships may not be record holders for size anymore, but if there was an award for value, the Freedom class would definitely be in the running. The Freedom class launched in 2006 with Freedom of the Seas, followed by Liberty of the Seas and Independence of the Seas. Don’t let their age scare you, all ships in the Freedom class have received upgrades, with Freedom and Independence receiving a full upgrade through the Royal Amplified program.

Freedom ships are fun for all ages. On deck, you can find activities like the FlowRider surf simulator, water slides, Sky Pad (Independence of the Seas), Splashaway Bay kids aqua park, Broadway shows, ice skating rink, outdoor movie screen, the Royal Promenade shopping area, and more! Note that each ships offers different activities, so if your heart is set on a certain ship highlight, make sure your Navigator (travel agent) knows!

The fact that these ships are older is a win for travelers, because these ships are often cheaper than their newer counterparts. Despite the fact that they’re been around for a while, Royal Caribbean’s constant upgrades makes these ships feel brand new! If you are a vacationer looking for tons to do at an affordable cost, Freedom class ships could be worth checking out.

Voyager Class

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The Voyager class was designed with people who don’t consider themselves “cruise ship people” in mind. This resulted in a ship that offers options no matter how you like to vacation. Voyager of the Seas launched in 1999, followed by Explorer of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, and Mariner of the Seas. Many of these ships have received many updates through the Royal Amplified program to ensure they feel just as exciting as the other ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet.

Most of the ships in the Voyager class feature exciting waterslides, ice skating, laser tag, escape rooms, rock climbing wall, mini golf, FlowRider surf simulator, exciting shows, and much more! Even though these ships are older, the Royal Amplified program ensures that these are on par with their newer counterparts.

These ships are smaller than some of the newer classes, which makes them great choices for travelers looking for a more intimate feel. This class is something of a “Goldilocks” of cruises- not too big, not too small. There’s plenty to do without feeling overwhelming. This class is also a great option for budget travelers who still want a modern feel, as they are typically more affordable than some of the newer ship classes.

Radiance Class

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The radiance class certainly lives up to its name, as these ships are radiant. Each ship in the class comes equipped with over 3 acres of glass, allowing for some of the most breathtaking views you can get. These ships are some of the smaller ones in the Royal Caribbean fleet, and they’re built for distance, resulting in more diverse itineraries. In 2001, Radiance of the Seas took her maiden voyage, followed by Brilliance of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas, and finally Jewel of the Seas.

While the Radiance class has plenty kid-friendly activities, these ships are distinguished for their classic cruise style, upscale, elegant feel. You can expect to find Adventure Beach kids pool, rock climbing wall, sports court, mini golf, arcade, movie theater, and more on a Radiance class ship. Adults will be pleased to know there is a luxurious thermal spa on board.

These ships are perfect for vacationers looking for relaxation and gorgeous views. While there are plenty of activities for kids on board, this is ultimately a ship for travelers who value peace and relaxation. Their longer itineraries are also perfect for anyone who wants to see more exotic destinations. If you’re looking for rejuvenation, this ship class certainly fits the bill.

Vision Class

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The Vision has the oldest and smallest ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet, starting with Grandeur of the Seas that launched in 1996, then Enchantment of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas, and Vision of the Seas. The smaller size means that these ships are able to have longer itineraries, because they fit into smaller ports, and are perfect for the adventurers at heart.

While the Vision class doesn’t feature the bells and whistles of the other classes, there is no shortage of activities on board. Kids will love the arcade, while families can spend time at the pools, rock climbing wall, trivia, fun classes, and live music and entertainment. Adults will love the full service (adult-only) spa, and bars.

If you’d prefer exploring unique new destinations and adding new countries to your travel log, over hanging out on the ship, the Vision class has some great options. Its smaller size also makes it ideal for vacationers wanting a more intimate cruise.

Icon Class

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Icon class ships have not launched yet, but the Icon of the Seas is set to take her maiden voyage in January of next year (2024). Construction just began on the second ship in the Icon class, and it is set to launch in 2025, with another ship launching in 2026. These ships are expected to break every mold and record. They are more environmentally friendly than all of the classes that came before, they’re larger than the Oasis class, and they will feature all new experiences.

While we don’t have all of the details about this new class, we do know it will feature an indoor AquaTheater, Chill Island, Thrill Island, the largest pool at sea, Crown’s Edge rope course, FlowRider, and much more.

These ships are jam packed with activities to satisfy every traveler. This ship is unlike any other cruise and is sure to sell out quickly, so if you’re interested in being among the first travelers in the world to cruise on an Icon class ship, book with your Vacation Navigator soon! It is an experience you will not want to miss!

Ultimate World Cruise

The Ultimate World Cruise is less of a class, and more of a totally unique experience. This is Royal Caribbean’s first around-the-world voyage, and lasts 274 nights. Its maiden voyage is set to sail December 10, 2023, and interior rooms will start at $60,000 per person. It will visit 11 world wonders, 60 countries, and all 7 continents.

Royal Caribbean did an excellent job creating a lineup with something for everyone. No matter what you’re looking for, there is a ship for you. Let your Vacation Navigator know what you’re looking for on your Royal Caribbean getaway, and they will be able to advise you on the best choice for you. Now that you’re familiar with what each class offers, your hardest decision is going to be deciding what to pack, and we'd be happy to provide you with a list.