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What Is the Biggest Royal Caribbean ship?

01 Oct 2022
Matt Hochberg

The answer to which Royal Caribbean cruise ship is the biggest depends on when you check.

Wonder of the Seas aerial photo

At the moment, Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas is the biggest cruise ship in the fleet and the world.

Wonder of the Seas measures 235,600 gross tons, and is 1,188 feet (362 metres) in length.

She is very close in size to her sister Oasis Class ships (Symphony of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas).

Wonder of the Seas departing Fort Lauderdale

Wonder of the Seas has a capacity of 5,734 guests at double occupancy, or 7,084 passengers if at maximum capacity.

Wonder offers plenty for guests to do onboard, such as the Ultimate Abyss, waterslides and FlowRider surf simulators. Dining is major component to a cruise on Wonder, with choices of complimentary and specialty dining, including Mason Jar, Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade and El Loco Fresh.

Coming soon: Icon of the Seas

Icon of the Seas on the water render

Wonder of the Seas may be the biggest cruise ship at the moment, but that title will be relinquished in late 2023.

Icon of the Seas will be delivered to Royal Caribbean in late 2023, with an official start to cruises in January 2024.

Icon of the Seas aerial render from the aft

Icon of the Seas will carry 7,600 passengers at maximum occupancy (or nearly 10,000 people when you account for the crew) when it first sets sail with guests.

When completed, the ship will be 20 decks high and 1,198 feet long and measure 250,800 gross tons.

Crown's Edge on Icon of the Seas

Icon of the Seas will only have 2,805 cabins compared to Wonder's 2,867, because Royal Caribbean wants to get more families onboard the ship. The ship will have more cabins that can accommodate three or four passengers than the typical two-passenger rooms.

Big or small ship?

Perfect Storm waterslides on Wonder of the Seas

There are pros and cons of going on a big cruise ship.

In general, the bigger the ship, the more space the cruise line has to add things to do while you are onboard.

Space is always at a premium on a cruise ship, so if a ship is bigger, it has more room to offer more activities.

Smaller cruise ships don't have nearly as many whiz-bang amenities, and for some people, this matters more than for others.

Read moreWhat’s the difference between a large and small cruise ship?

Royal Caribbean's reputation is building innovative and large ships, and many of the smallest ships in the fleet would still be pretty darn large if they suddenly became part of another cruise line.

Why cruise ships are getting bigger

The trend in the cruise industry is to build bigger ships, so typically the smaller ships are also the older ships.

There's lot of great things about older ships such as they being a better value, different itineraries than the usual ship and a more intimate feel.  

Newer ships, which are typically larger, offer the latest and greatest.  Different people feel differently about the importance of the age of your ship.  

Read more12 differences between the big and small Royal Caribbean cruise ships

So why are cruise lines building bigger ships?

Economy of Scale

Odyssey of the Seas at dusk

The other aspect of making money is cost control and economies of scale make these bigger ships more profitable. Whether it be 1000 or 5000 passengers there are common expenses such as wages for the captain, cruise director, chief engineer, and other staff that must be paid. Spreading these costs out over more passengers enhances profitability for the cruise line.   

What does this mean to the bottom line? According to Jason Liberty, Royal Caribbean Group CEO, “newer, larger ships can breakeven on cash flow at around 35% capacity while older, smaller ships are closer to 50”, a significant difference.

Despite these news ships having a $1 billion plus price tag, they have proven to be more cost-effective as building one large ship is more feasible than building two smaller ones.

Once a cruise ship covers its costs, it can focus on additional revenue sources, the icing on the cake.


A key aspect to a successful marketing strategy is a great product, and bigger cruise ships are just that. These floating cities have tons of amazing amenities, especially for those guests who want to try the latest and greatest things.

With kids' areas, lounges, adult only sun-decks, and world class dining options, larger ships appeal to a broad target market.  Whether it be families, solo travelers, honeymooners or retirees, there is something for everyone.

New cruise ships create lots of buzz. With each new ship being bigger than the last, anticipation is heightened.  Facebook groups monitor the construction progress posting pictures and providing updates on sea trials.

Travel agents and media provide reviews and YouTube videos with all the new details, in an effort to excite would be passengers and drive sales. All good publicity.

Great amenities and activities

New ships like the Odyssey of the Seas and the Wonder of the Seas have all the newest bells and whistles, with the flexibility to operate in different regions such as the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia.

Odyssey of the Seas with its 17 different restaurants and a variety of bars and lounges means that cruisers will not be short on great food and drink options. New onboard activities like a skydiving simulator, virtual reality bungee experience, and the SeaPlex activity center all keep kids and parents busy.

Guests can also rent casitas for an additional fee, so no worries about getting a great spot on the sundeck on busy sea days.

LAser tag on Oasis of the Seas

Wonder of the Seas features some brand new design elements such as a designated suite neighborhood with more suite only amenities.

In addition. the ship has a redesigned pool deck experience and a new kids playscape. These new features on the fleet’s biggest ship will no doubt be a big draw for consumers.


The purpose of these bigger ships is to make more money. A big part of this equation is to increase revenues, especially as it relates to the amount of onboard spending.

Gambling at the casino, specialty dining restaurants, spas, drink packages among other additional fee based activities are all geared toward this. Cruise lines are putting their newest ships on 7 day sailings, giving cruisers more to do and more time to spend. Older ships are more prevalent 3-4 day cruises.

For a 7 day cruise, Royal Caribbean makes an average of $ 300 per person after deducting expenses.  Passengers spending an extra couple hundred dollars on a drink or photo package, a massage of playing blackjack, all help to improve margins, a significant impact on their bottom line.


Loft Suite

Larger ships mean more space. The development of a suite only exclusive area is another revenue management strategy. The Wonder of the Seas has a new layout with a dedicated suite neighborhood that includes a suite only sundeck, a pool, a private lounge, and a restaurant, all at a premium for those willing to pay.

A Royal Caribbean suite can cost tens of thousands of dollars more than a standard balcony or interior room, providing added revenue for the cruise line. For example, for a 7 day Caribbean cruise on the Wonder of the Seas, an inside cabin is $821 per person while a one bedroom Owners Suite is priced at $5133. The suite is 5 times the price, for just over double the space.

Additionally, the demand for suites is growing even at the premium pricing associated with a new ship. 

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