Even though Royal Caribbean's Voyager Class ships have technically the same overall design, there are important differences between each ship.
I went on a seven-night cruise onboard Adventure of the Seas in August, sailing to the Western Caribbean. I had a fantastic adventure (no pun intended) with my mom, visiting Roatan, Belize City, Cozumel, and Perfect Day at CocoCay.
This was not the first time I had sailed on Adventure of the Seas. Back in 2014, I sailed onboard Adventure of the Seas for a fabulous New Year's cruise with my family to the Southern Caribbean.
Adventure of the Seas is part of Royal Caribbean’s Voyager Class of ships. All of the Voyager Class ships are mid-sized and built between 1999 and 2003, making all of the ships over 20 years old.
These ships were revolutionary for the cruise line with the first ice skating rink at sea and the first Royal Promenade, which features shops and restaurants in the center of the ship.
In fact, I’ve been sailing on Voyager Class ships since Royal Caribbean first debuted these vessels. I originally sailed on Mariner of the Seas in 2005 with my family when it was one of the biggest ships in the world. I was lucky enough to sail on Mariner of the Seas twice last year, once with my sister during spring break and then again last summer during the Royal Caribbean Blog group cruise.
I’ve also sailed on sister ships Navigator of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas. In September, I will sail on Voyager of the Seas for the first time. Needless to say, I’ve come to know Voyager Class ships very well, especially Adventure and Mariner.
One key difference between the two is that Mariner of the Seas received a Royal Amplification in 2018. This was a major investment for Royal Caribbean, costing $120 million to add new thrills, restaurants, staterooms, and entertainment onboard. On the contrary, Adventure of the Seas did not receive a Royal Amplification because it was postponed due to the pandemic. Instead, Adventure went through a $61 million revitalization in 2016 and 2018.
Ultimately, Mariner of the Seas features an upgraded Voyager Class experience while Adventure of the Seas has yet to receive a Royal Amplification.
Here’s how these ships compare, including aspects that I like about each.
I find that Mariner of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas are the perfect size for cruising
All of the Voyager Class ships are well suited for many different kinds of cruises, including weekend getaways and longer, port-intensive sailings. I’ve sailed everywhere from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean and New England onboard these ships.
Mariner of the Seas clocks in at 139,863 gross tonnage while Adventure of the Seas is slightly smaller, measuring at 137,276 gross tonnage. Lengthwise, Adventure and Mariner are the same at 1,020 feet long.
Since the ships are similar in size, the guest capacity is similar too. Adventure of the Seas can hold 3,807 guests while Mariner of the Seas can accommodate 4,000.
On my recent cruise on Adventure, the total number of guests onboard was around 3,950 (according to the crew members I asked). This means that there were many cabins that had more than two people in them.
At the time of these ships being built in the early 2000s, they were among the biggest in the world. Nowadays, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ships are nearly double in size with many more people onboard. These mega-ships also cannot reach smaller ports, which limits their itineraries.
I love the size of the Mariner and Aventure; they have so many amenities onboard without being overwhelmingly large. The entertainment still feels like world-class productions. There are many different dining options onboard as well.
I really enjoy the unique production shows onboard both Mariner and Adventure
When Voyager Class ships were built, these vessels featured something that no other ships in the world had: an ice skating rink! At the time, the idea of having an ice skating rink on a moving cruise ship, especially in the Caribbean, was pretty mind-blowing.
Dubbed Studio B, the small ice skating rinks onboard are home to some spectacular ice shows. These are not your run-of-the-mill cruise ship productions. Instead, you will find Olympic-style skating with twists, turns, and flips that leave me stunned. Even though Mariner and Adventure are both mid-sized ships, I love that they feature such unique entertainment.
Mariner of the Seas’ ice show is called Ice Under the Big Top while Adventure of the Seas’ production is called Cool Art, Hot Ice. The circus-themed show on Mariner is one of my all-time favorite production shows. It’s funny, high-energy, and incredibly impressive. The circus theme brings back childhood memories for viewers of all ages!
There are other production shows onboard Mariner and Adventure, all of which I enjoyed. Mariner of the Seas features Gallery of Dreams and Center Stage in the Royal Theatre while Adventure of the Seas has shows called Invitation to Dance and Can’t Stop The Rock in the Lyric Theatre.
Dining and drink venues onboard both ships are very similar, although I prefer Mariner’s upgraded offerings
When Mariner of the Seas received her Royal Amplification, the cruise line focused on adding new dining and bar options.
One of the most unique bar options in all of Royal Caribbean’s fleet is the Bamboo Room. This tiki-themed bar is located in the Royal Promenade and serves up some delicious cocktails. Royal Caribbean describes the Bamboo Room as, “A laidback Polynesian watering hole with a throwback vibe and kitschy-cool craft cocktails like the Island Old Fashioned and Tiki Tea.” The Bamboo Room is only available on Mariner of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas.
I love the funky cocktails here, especially the mojitos. The atmosphere is unlike anywhere else on a Royal Caribbean ship! Since Adventure has not received a Royal Amplification, she does not feature any unique spots like this.
You can also find a Playmakers on Mariner of the Seas, which is Royal Caribbean’s sports bar and grill specialty restaurant. While I have never had the food here, the Campfire Skillet is one of the most delicious desserts I’ve had on a cruise ship. We were not able to have this on Adventure of the Seas, as the ship does not feature a Playmakers yet.
Another major advantage that Mariner of the Seas has over Adventure of the Seas is the Italian restaurant available. Onboard Mariner, my sister and I were able to dine at Jamie’s Italian. This restaurant serves fresh, handmade, and rustic Italian fare thanks to a partnership with Chef Jamie Oliver, one of Britain’s most famous food exports. I’ve been able to dine at Jamie’s Italian on multiple cruises, and I believe it’s my favorite specialty restaurant at sea.
On the other hand, Adventure of the Seas has a Giovanni’s Table. This is Royal Caribbean’s original Italian restaurant. While I am a big fan of Italian food anywhere, I do prefer the menu and trendy atmosphere at Jamie’s Italian.
Mariner of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas both feature Izumi Sushi, but Mariner also has the hibachi restaurant. Another difference is that Adventure’s Izumi Sushi is located in the Royal Promenade. (I thought this was neat because you could walk by and see the different classes happening while you were shopping.) Where Izumi is located on the Mariner is where Chops is located on Adventure.
More differences between the two ships can be seen when comparing the onboard thrills
Mariner and Adventure have The Perfect Storm waterslides, a rock climbing wall, a sports court, and a Flowrider on deck 13. Both ships also have mini golf, but they are located in different areas of the ship.
Because of the Royal Amplification, Mariner has updated thrills like the Sky Pad bungee trampoline (though this is going to be removed soon), "Laser Tag: Battle for Planet Z", and an Escape Room “The Oberservatorium.” I didn’t partake in any of these activities on the Mariner, so I didn’t miss them when I was on the Adventure.
Overall, Mariner of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas are both excellent cruise ships that are well-maintained for their age
Royal Caribbean’s Voyager Class ships are some of my favorites, each being slightly different yet special in their own way.
I like the Royal Amplification that Mariner received, and I hope Adventure will get amplified in the near future. Who knows, maybe the delay will introduce new amplifications that could be even more popular. I believe adding more complimentary dining options, preferably quick casual, would be a popular addition to the Voyage Class ships.
No matter if you cruise on Mariner of the Seas or Adventure of the Seas, you will have a wonderful time!