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Royal Caribbean: Building a new smaller cruise ship is "deeply in our consideration"

24 Jul 2023
Matt Hochberg

One of the most intriguing questions out there is if Royal Caribbean will ever build a smaller cruise ship.

Royal Caribbean is known for its big ships, and the line has steadily been building bigger and bigger cruise ships over the last two decades.

While the new massive ships certainly garner a lot of attention because of how big they are, there is still a role that smaller cruise ships can play.

Speaking at the the President's Cruise event on Allure of the Seas on Monday, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley answered a question from the audience regarding a smaller ship.


Haley Evans from Living Adventures Travel Agency, shared a video clip of Mr. Bayley being asked about a smaller ship.

"We are excited about Icon, but we were wondering the other ports where you can't have these large ships at, are you going to make other smaller ships."

Icon of the Seas aerial aft at Cococay

Mr. Bayley was quick to admit that the smaller vessels in the fleet are starting to show their age.

"We recognize that we have classes of ships now that are, you know, getting a little up there in the years," he responded.

While he didn't mention them, the Vision Class and Radiance Class cruise ships are the smallest of Royal Caribbean's ships and usually get sent to ports that can't handle big ships.

Rhapsody of the Seas in Bay of Kotor, Adriatic Sea, Montenegro

The first Vision Class ship was launched in 1995 and can accommodate around 2400 - 2700 passengers. Depending on the ship, they range between 73,817 GT and 82,910 GT.

The Radiance Class can also handle around 2400 - 2700 passengers and are 90,090 GT.

As for if Royal Caribbean had plans to replace these ships, or simply build new smaller ships, he was non-committal. 

"It is something that's certainly deeply in our consideration and our planning at the moment that we have a lot of conceptual work going on."

"I think when we're ready we can we can announce steps that will take to to do just that."

Icon of the Seas under construction in May 2023

He went on to talk about the fact Royal Caribbean is always looking to the future, and new ideas are constantly being considered.

"The brand has always been in kind of growth mode and we've always been building and engineering and designing new classes of ships," Mr. Bayley explained.

Side of Navigator of the Seas

He then was sure to say nothing is confirmed at this time, "It's very much in the forefront of our minds. We understand that we need to think and act on this."

"But we're in no position to make any statements or comments about it for obvious reasons."

Royal Caribbean's official order sheet only has the three Icon Class cruise ships and Utopia of the Seas ordered.  There are no other orders placed for Royal Caribbean International ships according to Royal Caribbean Group filings with the  U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Discovery Class rumor

Mr. Bayley's comments seem to indicate they are at the very least thinking about what the future may hold, but he certainly did not comment or allude to a long-running rumor for a new smaller ship.

For years, cruise ship passengers have heard from crew members on Royal Caribbean vessels refer to a new class of smaller ships, known as the Discovery Class or Project Discovery.

It's been a rumor circulating among cruise fans for years. As late as May 2023, the Captain of Radiance of the Seas said a new ship and class similar in size to the Radiance was being planned to be named Discovery of the Seas.

Whether or not these rumors come to fruition of not, the idea of a smaller ship coming in the near future is of great interest to cruise fans.

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost expert on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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