Royal Caribbean Ship Classes: A Guide to the Ultimate 7 Classes

Royal Caribbean Ship Classes: You’ve undoubtedly heard of Royal Caribbean’s enormous Icon Class and Oasis Class ships, even if you’ve never cruised before. They are unlike anything else at sea, and larger than any other cruise ship currently in operation, except one MSC Cruises ship.

It is quite possible that when someone discusses the impressive quality of Royal Caribbean’s “floating megaresorts,” they are referring to the six ships that comprise these two groups of ships. This includes the largest cruise ship in the world, the recently launched Icon of the Seas.

This article explores the different categories and their features as a kind introduction to Royal Caribbean ship classes. It is possible to make an informed choice about which Royal Caribbean cruise ship best meets your demands for the ultimate vacation experience by examining the similarities and differences between each class.

An overview of the ships operated by Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean all inclusive, royal Caribbean package
(Credit: Tesmanian)

Those who like a megaresort experience will mostly find interest in Royal Caribbean’s large, lively megaships. The company’s brand has been established on providing travelers with an abundance of entertainment options on board, as well as food options (some ships have over 20 different venues to grab a bite to eat) and entertainment. Its boats are enjoyable and vivacious.

However, the extravagant megaresort experience on a Royal Caribbean cruise differs according on the class.

The size, facilities, and capacity of the line’s five Oasis Class ships and one Icon Class ship are unmatched by anything else available at sea. With every berth filled, they can accommodate almost 6,600 passengers apiece.

The five Quantum Class and three Freedom Class ships in the line, while somewhat less in size, are still enormous by any standards, with a combined capacity of approximately 4,500 to 5,600 people. The line’s five Voyager Class ships are also rather large, seating up to 3,800 passengers at full capacity.

The big-ship fleet of Royal Caribbean consists of 19 ships from these five classes: Icon, Oasis, Quantum, Freedom, and Voyager. The remaining eight ships in the line, which are divided into two classes, are smaller and have a maximum occupancy of about 2,500 passengers.

Even though they are no longer the main attraction at Royal Caribbean, the line’s older, smaller ships nevertheless enable it to offer itineraries to destinations that are difficult for larger ships to reach. Not every port on Earth can accommodate a vessel the size of Icon of the Seas.

A portion of Royal Caribbean enthusiasts who desire greater intimacy aboard a cruise ship and are willing to forgo some onboard amenities in exchange are drawn to the smaller ships. Also, sailing them is frequently less expensive each day.

The largest Royal Caribbean ships have the most facilities, as one might anticipate. You’ll discover fewer eateries, pubs, entertainment centers, and attractions with every size reduction. Still, there’s a lot to offer on even the tiniest Royal Caribbean ships.

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Royal Caribbean Ship Classes

Icon Class

Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Royal Caribbean
(Credit: Cruise with friends)

Ships in class: Icon of the Seas (2024), Star of the Seas (coming in 2025); unnamed vessel (coming in 2026)

Size: 250,800 tons

When Icon of the Seas makes her debut in May 2024, she will surpass all other cruise ships in the world in size.

Since the Quantum class debuted in 2014, Royal Caribbean has launched its first new cruise ship type, the Icon class. Additionally, it is the first cruise ship in the Royal Caribbean class to run on LNG (liquified natural gas).

With a gross tonnage of 250,800 GT, the mega-cruise ship is approximately 6% larger than the Oasis-class ships. With 2,805 cabins and a length of 1,198 feet, the ship can hold up to 7,800 guests.

Bigger is better is the philosophy that Icon of the Seas adheres to.

Since tickets for Icon’s debut voyage sold out in less than 24 hours, devoted cruisers are thrilled.

Icon cruise ships, like those of the Oasis class, feature eight distinct neighborhoods:

The largest ice rink in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, the largest pool and waterpark at sea, the largest waterfall at sea, and a three-story Ultimate Family Townhouse are all features of the new class of cruise ships.

Oasis Class

Ownership Structure of Royal Caribbean Group

Ships in class: Oasis of the Seas (2009), Allure of the Seas (2010), Harmony of the Seas (2016), Symphony of the Seas (2018), Wonder of the Seas (2022) and Utopia of the Seas (coming 2024)

Size: 226,838 to 236,857 tons

These cruise ships were the largest and most jam-packed in the world until the launch of Icon of the Seas this year. They’re not quite as large as the new ship, but they’re still one of the greatest choices for travelers who would do anything to spend their holiday time at a large, busy resort with all the entertainment imaginable.

Nearly as many amenities as the new Icon of the Seas, the Oasis Class ships include three distinct primary pool areas, a kiddie splash zone, surfing simulators, a miniature golf course, a basketball court, and a zip line on their upper decks. Like on Icon of the Seas, there are several lounges, bars, restaurants, and stores inside the ships in addition to sizable casinos, spas, and showrooms. Each ship features an indoor ice skating rink, just like Icon of the Seas.

These ships can accommodate large crowds, just like the new Icon Class ships from Royal Caribbean, which resemble the Oasis Class ships in many ways. When every berth is occupied, they can accommodate up to 6,988 passengers. They have over 2,200 crew people working for them. This implies that you may be vacationing with almost 9,000 people, which is a significant amount of people even though it’s not nearly as many as the over 10,000 people you may find on an Icon Class ship.

The good news for those of you who are concerned about overcrowding is that the Oasis Class ships, like the Icon Class ships, don’t often feel as full as they actually are. The “neighborhood” concept, which was used in their design by Royal Caribbean, divides passengers into seven or eight distinct sections, depending on the ship, including the Boardwalk amusement zone and the Pool and Sports Zone. The way that commuters move between different areas has also been carefully considered.

Be aware that the Oasis Class series of ships varies slightly from ship to ship. To begin with, Wonder of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas, and Harmony of the Seas, the three newest and biggest ships in the series, offer a few more features and venues. The Ultimate Abyss, a terrible slide that drops nine decks, is one of them. (While Royal Caribbean claims that it drops ten decks, the line counts a nonexistent Deck 13.)

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On four of the five ships, there are enormous waterslides as well. They are absent from Allure of the Seas only. The addition of waterslides to Allure of the Seas was planned, however it was shelved in 2020 when COVID-19 closed cruises.

Quantum Class

Royal Caribbean International
(Credit: CruiseMapper)

Ships in class: Quantum of the Seas (2014), Anthem of the Seas (2015), Ovation of the Seas (2016), Spectrum of the Seas (2019) and Odyssey of the Seas (2021)

Size: 168,666 to 169,379 tons

Modern entertainment options and state-of-the-art technology are hallmarks of the Quantum Class ships. These ships are home to the famous North Star observation capsule, the Two70° entertainment venue, and RipCord by iFly.

Although significantly smaller than Oasis class cruise ships, Quantum class ships provide a number of features and activities not available on other Royal Caribbean cruise ships.

The ships can accommodate 4,200 passengers and have a gross tonnage of slightly under 170,000GT.

Technology is used in a new Two70 entertainment area at the ship’s aft to create a distinctive, multifunctional space. The entertainment facility features serene 270-degree panoramic ocean views during the day and heart-stopping performances at night.

An unique exercise is the North Star in the Quantum class. Passengers can ascend 300 feet over the ocean in the glass and steel observation pod, which takes you over the ship’s edge.

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Royal Caribbean created the Quantum class to travel through both warm and cold climates. The covered sports complex and indoor pool on cruise ships allow you to take use of all the amenities that a cruise holiday has to offer, regardless of the weather.

Freedom Class

12 Things to Do on a Cruise Sea Day, Cruise Sea Day, Things to Do on a Cruise Sea Day
(Credit: Royal Caribbean cruises)

Ships in class: Freedom of the Seas (2006), Liberty of the Seas (2007) and Independence of the Seas (2008)

Size: 154,407 to 156,271 tons

Although they are no longer among the top 25 largest cruise ships—Royal Caribbean’s Icon, Oasis, and Quantum Class ships, along with a few ships from other lines—the Freedom Class ships still provide a traditional big-ship experience with an abundance of dining options, bars, showrooms, and deck-top attractions.

Notably, the Freedom Class ships were the first on the Royal Caribbean fleet to have the FlowRider surfing simulator on its upper decks, which is currently the line’s hallmark feature. On their upper decks, which are among the busiest at sea, the ships also have a rock climbing wall, various pool areas, a water park, and a miniature golf course.

Except the Icon and Oasis classes of Royal Caribbean ships, the top decks of the Freedom class ships do, in fact, have the most attractions. Some of the more extravagant features that the Icon Class and Oasis Class ships have, such zip lines, are simply not available here.

The mall-like Royal Promenade areas that are home to restaurants, bars, and retail establishments are a feature of Freedom Class ships’ interiors that are common to larger Royal Caribbean ships. They also feature sizable spas and casinos.

The Freedom Class ships represent a considerable reduction in size, coming in at roughly 156,000 tons, which is roughly 38% smaller than the Icon Class ships and 31% smaller than the Oasis Class ships. Compared to the Quantum Class ships, they are over 8% smaller.

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Additionally, they have a far smaller passenger capacity than the Oasis Class ships. At double occupancy, Freedom of the Seas and Independence of the Seas can accommodate roughly 3,900 passengers (almost 4,600 when every berth is occupied). A few hundred more can be carried by Liberty of the Seas.

Voyager Class

7 Exotic Royal Caribbean Cruise Destinations, Royal Caribbean Cruise Destinations
(Credit: Royal Caribbean Cruises)

Ships in class: Voyager of the Seas (1999), Explorer of the Seas (2000), Adventure of the Seas (2001), Navigator of the Seas (2002) and Mariner of the Seas (2003)

Size: 137,276 to 139,999 tons

The Royal Promenade is a bustling street-like area with shops, bars, and entertainment that Royal Caribbean International’s Voyager Class introduced first.

A innovation in cruise ship design, the Royal Promenade gave rise to the Central Park and Boardwalk on Oasis-class ships.

Along with other things, Voyager Class introduced mini-golf and ice skating.

For cruisers, the Voyager class offers fantastic value. Royal Caribbean has renovated all of the Voyager class ships to offer remarkable new features, even though they are older than several of the ships on our list.

Consider FlowRiders, aqua parks, water slides, new eateries, and more.

Radiance Class

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(Credit: Royal Caribbean cruise)

Ships in class: Radiance of the Seas (2001), Brilliance of the Seas (2002), Serenade of the Seas (2003) and Jewel of the Seas (2004)

Size: 90,090 tons

Floor to ceiling glass windows, open layouts, and sleek designs are characteristics of Radiance Class ships, which offer breathtaking views of the ocean and beautiful ports of call.

The Radiance class offers a traditional cruise experience rather than all the attractions and conveniences of more modern cruise ships.

These boats were intended for leisurely cruises to picturesque locations. There are plenty of external vistas available to passengers thanks to its vast open areas and panoramic windows. Some of the greatest cruise ports and ocean vistas are available from their glass elevators.

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The Radiance class offers several unique itineraries since, as smaller ships, they can visit some smaller cruise destinations that larger ships cannot. The vessels weigh about 90,000 GT.

The Caribbean, Australia, Alaska, and the Panama Canal are all accessible by Royal Caribbean’s Radiance class.

The self-leveling pool tables outside the Safari Club are one unusual activity. Gyroscopes are used in the tables to maintain levelness even when the ship sways with the waves.

Vision Class

Lido deck on a cruise ship, what is a lido deck, what can you do on a lido deck
(Credit: Cruise Blog)

Ships in class: Grandeur of the Seas (1996), Rhapsody of the Seas (1997), Enchantment of the Seas (1997) and Vision of the Seas (1998)

Size: 73,817 to 82,910 tons

These cruise ships have some amazing bargains. And while the Vision class lacks some of the extras seen on more modern ships, it does have rock climbing, pools, hot tubs, spa, casino, and arcade.

Because of their tiny size, the Vision class can fit into smaller cruise ports. With its Vision class ships, Royal Caribbean offers cruises to far-flung locations seldom visited by its larger cruise ships.

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