Royal Caribbean Ship Classes: What Makes Each Class Stand Out

Largest cruise ships in the world are Royal Caribbean ships
Harmony of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, and Allure of the Seas

Royal Caribbean ships come in many different sizes and with many different attractions and amenities, from the oversized monstrosities of the Oasis Class to the modestly sized classic ships of the Vision Class. When booking a cruise, it is good to have an idea of what exactly you are signing up for. Is it a floating theme park with 6,000 guests? Or is it a quieter, more traditional ship? Each class has something that sets them apart from the rest of the fleet, whether it’s record-breaking size, unique attractions, or just a distinctive feel. Read on to see which class of ship best suits your next vacation.

Icon Class: The Newest Royal Caribbean Ship

Largest cruise ship, Icon of the Sea is a Royal Caribbean ship.
Icon of the Seas

The Icon of the Seas is set to launch in January of 2024, and will be the first in the newest class of Royal Caribbean ships, the Icon Class, with two more ships planned for 2025 and 2026. When it launches, it will be the largest cruise ship in the world, with a 7,600 guest capacity and packed with bigger and bolder attractions than ever before. The top deck is covered by death-defying waterslides, the front of the ship holds the AquaDome where acrobatic performances will be held, and a host of new neighborhoods provide a different experience around every corner, from the FlowRider surf simulator to the adults-only pool at Cloud 17.

Oasis Class: The Largest Cruise Ships at Sea

Royal Caribbean ship Wonder of the Seas. One of the world's largest cruise ships.
Wonder of the Seas

The Oasis Class currently has some of the largest cruise ships at sea with maximum capacities close to 7,000 people, and consists of Harmony of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas, Wonder of the Seas, and Oasis of the Seas. Like the Icon Class, you will find many ways to have fun in the water with pools, high-speed water slides, and a FlowRider surf simulator. But it’s not just about the pools — the AquaTheater hosts stunt diving shows and Broadway-style musicals, and some ships even include other types of play with escape rooms, iFly skydiving simulator and laser tag. The restaurants here are no joke either, with each ship having 8-10 complimentary dining venues and up to 15 specialty options!

Quantum and Quantum Ultra Class: Home of the North Star

Royal Caribbean ship Odyssey of the Seas is one of the largest cruise ships.
Odyssey of the Seas

The Quantum Class of Royal Caribbean Ships consists of Quantum of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, and Anthem of the Seas, with the Spectrum of the Seas and Odyssey of the Seas rounding out the group with the rank of Quantum Ultra. The quantum class offers a similar experience to Oasis, just on a slightly smaller scale. They include the surf and skydive simulators, bumper cars and laser tag, and up to 10 complimentary dining options as well as up to 5 specialty restaurants. On these ships, however, cruisers will be able to experience the North Star, a glass-enclosed capsule that lifts you high into the air and out over the side of the ship for a stunning 360-degree view of the ocean horizon.

Voyager Class: The Affordable Royal Caribbean Ships

Navigator of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean Ship, was once one of the largest cruise ships at sea.
Navigator of the Seas

Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, and Mariner of the Seas make up the Voyager Class. These ships are perfect for the budget conscious traveler, as they often sail shorter itineraries that help keep nightly rates low. These ships were launched in the early 2000s, and while they are slightly older, they were the first to feature some of the attractions that are now favorites of Royal Caribbean ships, including rock climbing walls and ice skating rinks. Other favorites include the Schooner Bar, a piano bar with immaculate vibes and live entertainment, and the Viking Crown Lounge, and cocktail lounge with panoramic, floor-to-ceiling windows.

Freedom Class: The Former “Largest Cruise Ships at Sea”

Released in the 2000s, the Freedom class of Royal Caribbean ships were the largest cruise ships of their time.
Independence of the Seas

Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, and Independence of the Seas were all released in the mid-2000s, and were the largest cruise ships of their time. They have since been dethroned, but are impressive in their size nonetheless, with a capacity of nearly 4,000 passengers. Additionally, Freedom and Liberty have since gone through renovations and have many of the same amenities of the newer Oasis class ships. They were the first ships to feature the FlowRider surf simulator, which is now a staple of Royal Caribbean ships. They also feature a variety of pools and whirlpools, water slides, aqua park, ice skating rink, and Broadway shows. Each ship has at least 4 complimentary dining venues with some specialty options like Giovanni’s Table and Johnny Rockets.

Vision Class: The Classic Royal Caribbean Ships

Royal Caribbean ship Grandeur of the Seas
Grandeur of the Seas

The Vision Class, composed of Grandeur of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas, and Vision of the Seas, is the oldest and smallest of Royal Caribbean’s cruise line. These ships offer a more traditional and intimate cruising experience. As you might expect, dining options are more limited, but aside from the complimentary options available, they have Chops Grille and Chef’s Table, and all ships except Enchantment also feature Izumi and Giovanni’s Table. Because these ships are smaller than their newer counterparts, they typically sail to the Mediterranean, Alaska, and Canada/New England, with the exception of Grandeur of the Seas which does spend some time in the Caribbean.

Radiance Class: The Middle-ground Cruise Ships

Radiance class Royal Caribbean ship
Serenade of the Seas

The Radiance Class ships are Radiance of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Serenade of the Sea, and Jewel of the Seas. These ships are newer than the Vision Class, but comparable in size. However, they do have more room for activities like rock climbing, miniature golf, and a sports court, providing the perfect middle-ground between the smaller, less crowded appeal of the Vision ships and the variety of options for entertainment provided by the larger classes.  Restaurant options vary from ship to ship, but all Radiance ships feature Chops Grille, Izumi, Chef’s Table and Giovanni’s Table.


To pick which Royal Caribbean ship you want to cruise on, visit Cruises.com — we can help you book the smart way! We give you our exclusive bonus offers and all Royal Caribbean offers, plus all of the Crown & Anchor Society loyalty program benefits. Book online at Cruises.com or call 800-288-6006 today.

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