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Photos show Royal Caribbean's oldest and newest cabins - see how they compare

05 Jan 2024
Allie Hubers

Royal Caribbean has come a long way with not only the design of its massive cruise ships, but also the accommodations onboard.

With so much hype around the brand-new Icon of the Seas, it’s easy to forget about Royal Caribbean’s forgotten new cruise ship, Odyssey of the Seas. I sailed onboard Odyssey of the Seas last year for a 12-night itinerary around the Mediterranean and it was a fantastic cruise. During this sailing, I upgraded to an entry-level suite for just $300 from an inside cabin - an absolute steal!

Not long after, I also sailed on Grandeur of the Seas for a fun weekend getaway to Mexico. As the smallest ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, “Lady G” is also the oldest ship for Royal Caribbean at 27 years old. In an effort to save money, we booked the cheapest cabin onboard - an inside cabin.

It was quite the change of scenery to go from sailing on Royal Caribbean’s new cruise ship to boarding the oldest ship in the cruise line’s fleet. There’s something to love about each of these ships, although the two are vastly different.

After sailing in Royal Caribbean’s oldest and newest cabins, it was eye-opening to see the progression of cruise cabin design from the cruise line. I was fascinated to see how the cruise line has improved cabin design over the span of 26 years. I had positive experiences sailing in both of these cabins from Royal Caribbean, even despite the age of Grandeur of the Seas.

Here is how the cabins compared onboard the oldest and newest ships from Royal Caribbean.

Looking at Royal Caribbean’s fleet of cruise ships, we can see vessels that were built across the span of nearly three decades.

Each ship class represents a new chapter of innovation for Royal Caribbean. It’s easy to see just how far the cruise line has come in terms of ship design, technology, and modernization when you compare her oldest ships to the newest vessels.

Some might argue that comparing a suite on a brand-new cruise ship to an inside cabin on a tired, old ship doesn’t make much sense. Although different stateroom types, there were many interesting features, amenities, and upgrades to note between the two cabins.

Odyssey of the Seas debuted as the newest ship from Royal Caribbean in July 2021 after a delayed launch during the pandemic. She did not hold the title for long, as Wonder of the Seas set sail as the newest ship for Royal Caribbean in early 2022.

Pool Deck

Some might call Odyssey of the Seas the forgotten new cruise ship from Royal Caribbean - but there are many reasons to love the Quantum-Ultra class ship. Odyssey of the Seas measures 167,000 gross tons and has a maximum capacity of 5,510 guests. The new ship offers many different types of cabins to book, including high-end suites in the Royal Suite Class to affordable inside cabins.

On the other end of the spectrum is Grandeur of the Seas, which is part of the Vision Class. At a fraction of the size, she measures 73,000 gross tons and holds around 2,446 guests at capacity. Before the pandemic, Royal Caribbean announced plans to retire Grandeur of the Seas; however, these plans were scraped and Grandeur of the Seas is here to stay!

Back in the 1990s, many cruise ships were built with few balconies and suites - and Grandeur of the Seas is no exception.

Of the 997 cabins onboard, Grandeur of the Seas has 122 balconies and 95 suites. The vast majority of cabins available to book are inside and oceanview staterooms, with 400 interior and 380 outside cabins on Grandeur of the Seas.

In comparison, Odyssey of the Seas has 1,000 more staterooms, amounting to 1,922 cabins in total. Of these, 125 are suites and an astonishing 1,482 are balconies. Surprisingly, the new cruise ship has fewer oceanview and interior staterooms than Grandeur of the Seas. Odyssey of the Seas only has 132 oceanview staterooms and 366 inside cabins for accommodations.

As such, many guests are likely to find more reasonable prices for a balcony on a newer Royal Caribbean ship. With more balconies available to book, demand is likely not as high as Grandeur’s coveted 122 balconies. Since we booked our weekend getaway cruise somewhat last minute, I was not surprised to find only interior and overview cabins available on Grandeur.

When sailing on Grandeur of the Seas, the interior cabin was surprisingly spacious, albeit rather outdated.

My expectations for our cheap cabin on Grandeur of the Seas were quite low considering the ship’s old age. However, I found the room to be quite spacious upon arrival - even though it was only 142 square feet. Comparatively, interior cabins on Odyssey of the Seas are larger and measure around 180 square feet.

The cabin featured a comfortable king bed, which we ended up separating into two twin beds, along with a vanity, closet, TV, and bathroom with shower. It was a "no frills" type of cabin with just enough for us to have a comfortable cruise vacation.

However, I appreciated that the communal space had a loveseat for additional seating. Most of the newer interior cabins that I’ve sailed on recently, including Norwegian Viva and Carnival Celebration, do not have anywhere to sit other than the cabin’s beds. I appreciated having this space to sit (or throw my belongings at the end of each day).

Our cabin certainly showed its age with dated decor, including darker accents and oak cabinets. Some of the cabinets looked worn down, which I anticipated given the ship’s age. But, we did not spend much time in our cabin since we were busy enjoying the ship anyway!

Grandeur of the Seas has not received a refurbishment in over ten years, so there could be some upgrades in the cabin.

The last time Grandeur of the Seas was refurbished was in 2012, so the cabins onboard have not received attention in quite some time. I anticipated the cabin would be in worse condition than it was; however, it was looking a little tired. A few modern upgrades would really enhance the stateroom experience on Grandeur of the Seas.

To start, there were only two US outlets in the cabin to share between the two of us, along with two European plugs. I appreciate newer ships that have many outlets and USB ports for charging devices. Of course, this was not a priority back in the 1990s when people traveled with very few electronics.

The worst part of our cabin was the bathroom, as it was a tiny, cramped space. Although the overall design elements of the bathroom had aged better than I expected, the shower was shaped like a trapezoid. 

The clingy shower curtain wrapped around me while using the shower, leaving very little space for maneuvering around. It was unpleasant, to say the least.

On the contrary, our bathroom was beautifully designed in our cabin on Odyssey of the Seas!

When I cruise on older ships, it feels like the cabin’s bathroom design was an afterthought. This was probably in an effort to cram as much as possible into a tiny space, leaving little room for the bathroom. Now, it’s pretty clear that cruise lines are designing bathrooms to be more spacious with larger showers.

For example, I just sailed on Norwegian Viva - the newest ship from Norwegian - and the interior cabin’s bathroom was truly stunning! I couldn’t believe the cruise line spent the time and energy to create such a beautiful bathroom for even the ship’s cheapest cabins.

(Bathroom for inside cabin on the brand-new Norwegian Viva)

Similarly, our bathroom on Odyssey of the Seas was also very stylish and modern, featuring a marble-pattern floor with a large walk-in shower and massive tub. The walk-in shower felt luxurious compared to most cruise ship showers!

The bathroom was particularly well designed with the toilet having its own separate space and entrance across the hallway. The toilet room also featured its own vanity and sink. Since the shower space also had its own sink, this meant my sister and I could get ready at the same time without fighting over the mirror. I loved the split-bathroom design and hope this trend continues with bathroom design.

While I agree that it’s tough to compare a new suite to an old interior cabin, I do think this upgrade emphasizes how Royal Caribbean is paying more attention to its bathroom design for cabins.

Over the years, Royal Caribbean has also placed an apparent emphasis on offering a more exclusive suite experience.

Odyssey of the Seas

It was clear onboard Odyssey of the Seas that Royal Caribbean’s newer cabins have come a long way in 27 years with improved design, amenities, and functionality. I felt spoiled staying in a suite on Odyssey of the Seas, as I normally cruise in the cheapest interior cabins available.

While I had originally booked an interior cabin on this cruise, I was super excited when my $300 bid to upgrade to a junior suite was accepted! This was my first experience staying in a Royal Suite Class stateroom.

(Coastal Kitchen restaurant - exclusive to suites only - on Odyssey of the Seas)

Odyssey of the Seas features Royal Suite Class, which includes Royal Caribbean’s most luxurious accommodations with three tiers of suites. These include lucrative benefits, such as access to an exclusive restaurant and some even include drink packages and concierge service.

In fact, most of the cruise industry has shifted towards offering a more enticing suite experience for guests with secluded areas onboard. The newest cruise ships have a resort-within-a-resort space for guests looking to splurge on a suite experience.

Our entry-level suite on Odyssey of the Seas was equally stylish as it was functional.

Since we would be sailing for 12 nights on Odyssey of the Seas, this junior suite became our home away from home - especially on a port-intensive itinerary. The cabin was very spacious with an extended balcony and large bathroom.

We also had a small living room area with a blue sectional next to the bed. Again, I love having a place to sit in my cabin that does not involve me sitting on my bed, particularly with dirty or sweaty clothes.

I appreciated the modern design elements of our stateroom on Odyssey of the Seas. The woodwork was light with marble countertops. This made the space feel light and airy compared to dark and cramped.

Royal Caribbean has certainly prioritized keeping cabins feeling fresh and modern with its decor choices. I believe the cabins onboard Odyssey of the Seas will age nicely compared to the dated design of older ships.

Our newer cabin on Royal Caribbean had so much storage that we didn’t even use all of the drawers.

In my experience, Royal Caribbean’s newest cabins also have better storage options with more drawers, shelving, and closet space. Our suite obviously had inherently more space at 300 square feet, which is about double the size of our cabin on Grandeur of the Seas. I prefer to unpack my suitcase on every cruise when I first board so my luggage can be put away until it’s time to disembark.

Regardless, we had a lot of luggage for this cruise and still had empty storage spaces after unpacking. Royal Caribbean utilized much of the space to incorporate more areas for unpacking, such as the closet spaces next to the beds in addition to the large closet opposite of the bed as well.

This is another area of improvement that I’ve experienced with newer cruise ships. Since cruise cabins are small to begin with, Royal Caribbean has created storage with nooks and crannies that were once wasted space.

Although a minor improvement, we appreciated having plenty of outlets and USB chargers.

It’s not uncommon to find only one or two outlets in an older cruise ship cabin. In fact, our cabin on Grandeur of the Seas had more outlets than most ships that are comparable in age. When I sailed on the 31-year-old Carnival Ecstasy last year, the entire cabin only had one singular outlet!

Running out of outlets is not necessarily something you will need to worry about on a newer Royal Caribbean ship. With everyone bringing multiple devices that need daily charging, cruise lines have added more space for outlets and USB ports.

I still utilized my European adapter with more plugs because I had so many devices that needed charging; however, having so many outlets to use between the two of us was a necessary improvement.

Our Odyssey of the Seas suite was awesome, but I would also sail again in Grandeur of the Sea’s inside cabin.

The price was right for us to upgrade on Odyssey of the Seas, but that is not usually the case. This is especially true today as cruises are sailing at full capacity and prices are rising. In the future, I would absolutely spend $300 to upgrade to a junior suite again. Sailing in a suite on a brand-new cruise ship was a special treat for this inside-cabin fanatic.

When sailing on Grandeur of the Seas, there were a few apparent areas of improvement. For instance, the bathroom’s attention to detail and progressive design was a huge improvement on Odyssey of the Seas compared to Grandeur of the Seas. I do not doubt that the cruise line will continue allocating more space and investing more time into the bathroom design.

Even still, I would not hesitate to book another interior cabin on Grandeur of the Seas - or any other older Royal Caribbean ship for that matter. Interior cabins are always the most affordable and still provide everything you need for a comfortable stay.

However, I would be more likely to book a port-intensive sailing for an older Royal Caribbean ship in the future. In this case, the cabin is not as important since most of your vacation time is spent ashore.

Allie Hubers has been cruising since she was a tiny toddler. What started as a yearly vacation with family quickly turned into a passion for travel, cruising and adventure. Allie's been on nearly 30 cruises all over the world. She even studied abroad on Semester at Sea, sailing the world on a ship while taking courses for college and visiting 4 continents.

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