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Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - Will I be bored on a smaller ship?

27 Oct 2022

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You've done the big ships, but is going on a smaller Royal Caribbean ship a mistake? Here's what you should know about sailing on the not-so-giant ships.

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Things you'll notice when cruising on an older cruise ship

14 Oct 2022

I think there's a lot of good reasons to sail on Royal Caribbean's older cruise ships, but there are at least a few nuances that you'll quickly notice if you're used to a newer ships.

Solarium on Serenade of the Seas

Older cruise ships is a relative term, as all ships age. Depending on your definition, this could include ships that are 5, 10, or 20 years old.  

Regardless of a ship's age, Royal Caribbean does a good job of maintaining its fleet with regular updates and even upgrades to some vessels. 

Read moreWhat was added to each Royal Caribbean ship during its Royal Amplified refurbishment

Some of the best reasons to go on an older cruise ship is to take advantage of the lower prices because older ships tend to command a lower price than newer ones. Some of the best values in cruising can be found on a Radiance, Vision, or Voyager Class cruise ship. 

In addition, older ships tend to be smaller (relatively speaking), and that allows them to get to less-frequently visited ports, especially in Europe.

While the core experience is very much the same across all Royal Caribbean cruise ships, you're going to pick up on a few differences on older ships. These aren't bad things in this list, nor do they mean you shouldn't book an older ship.  This is simply a way to point some differences since new cruisers often are curious about what's different between the ships.

Before you step aboard, here are the biggest changes you'll notice about Royal Caribbean's older cruise ships.

Cabin aesthetics

If you've been on a newer cruise ship and then go on an older ship, the cabin is one of the first places you'll become aware of a ship's age.

Just like how a house built 20 years ago probably has a different look and feel than a house built today, cruise ship cabins on older ships will not have the same modern style as a ship like Wonder of the Seas.

Certainly the wall color, art work, and bed skirts stand out on the older generation of cruise ships.

Inside cabin on Mariner of the Seas

Starting with the Quantum Class ships and Harmony of the Seas within the Oasis Class, Royal Caribbean adopted a more modern look to its cabin design.

Another major difference with an older ship is the lack of outlets.

USB plugs in cabin

Older ships tend to have a couple of outlets at the most to use, whereas new ships have many outlets and even USB plugs you can use in your cabin.

Regardless of which ship you sail on, it's a good idea to pick up a cruise ship outlet expander to ensure you have plenty of outlets.

Old TV models

Whether in your cabin or around the ship, the televisions around the ship will reinforce a ship's age.

Just like when you visit your parents' house, televisions with a wide bezel are something you'll instantly recognize as an older look.

Don't worry, there are no cathode-ray tube (CRT) TV's left on ships, but flat panel televisions have come a long way in their feel.

A few Royal Caribbean cruise ships still don't have pay-per-view or any kind of interactivity within their cabin televisions. This may not matter much since most passengers are not staying in their cabin to watch a movie.

Not only do the newer ships have more channels and movies to watch, but you can review onboard charges via the television and even order room service.

On the oldest ships, you're also going to quickly notice the shower curtains that are there instead of the hard plastic enclosure.

Fewer specialty restaurants

It wasn't too long ago that a cruise ship with two specialty restaurants was pretty much the norm.  Today, a ship with only two specialty restaurants can be eye-opening.

Royal Caribbean upgraded many of its older ships over the last decade to add more specialty dining. The Radiance, Voyager, and Freedom Class ships all had new specialty dining venues added during refurbishments.

Of course, the brand new Oasis and Quantum Class ships will still have many more specialty dining options.

If you sail on a Vision Class ship, you can expect the fewest specialty dining choices. Enchantment of the Seas only has Chops Grill and Chef's Table for specialty dining choices.

Fewer app features

The Royal Caribbean app is now a must-use part of the cruise experience, but you'll have less icons to click on older ships.

On the newest ships in the fleet, the app can do things like being able to open your stateroom door, augmented reality experiences, and even open your cabin curtains.

To be fair, even a few Oasis Class ships don't have all these features yet, but you'll definitely not find these options in the older ships.

The good news is the core feature set across the entire fleet encompasses exactly the sort of things you'll want, so you'll be able to do online check-in, manage your onboard spending, and view activities.

No Broadway shows

Theater on Vision of the Seas

Royal Caribbean has made a name for itself by offering Broadway shows on some ships, but don't expect to find them on older vessels.

With the exception of Independence of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas, the Broadway shows are relegated to the Oasis and Quantum Class ships.

Of course, there will still be evening shows on older ships. These shows include plenty of dancing, singing, and music, but lack a coherent plot across the entire show.

Theater on Grandeur of the Seas

Another thing you may notice in these shows is the music selection is a reflection of the time the ship launched.  Some of the newer acts play up music that was new and popular at the time, but is now considered a classic hit.

The casts in these shows are just as talented as the Broadway casts, and they are fun to see.

No Royal Promenade

Centrum from Rhapsody of the Seas

If you sail on a Radiance or Vision Class cruise ship, you won't have a Royal Promenade.

Instead, there is a Centrum, which is a large, open area within the ship. A set of elevators runs up the Centrum, and shops, bars, cafe, and more.

You'll find activities throughout the day at the base of the Centrum, such as live music, demonstrations, and even game shows.

If you want to shop, you'll simply need to walk off the Centrum to the shopping district, which is a hallway of ship stores you can browse.

Larger Schooner Bar

Schooner Bar on Vision of the Seas

The newer the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the smaller the Schooner Bar footprint has gotten.

On the Vision Class, the Schooner Bar is massive with a much more pronounced nautical theme.

You'll still get a fairly good sized Schooner Bar on the Voyager and Freedom Class ships, but the size is significantly smaller.  The Oasis Class Schooner Bar feels much smaller than the rest of the fleet. 

Schooner Bar on Radiance of the Seas

There's also no ocean views from the Schooner Bar on Royal Caribbean's biggest cruise ships.

If you sail on an older ship, you'll want to take advantage of these larger bars for the great seating and ocean views.

Print photo wall

Souvenir photos taken by the ship's photographers have largely gone digital, but the older ships still print out copies for you to browse.

You'll find in the photo gallery area a wall of printed photos that you need to comb over in order to find your photos. The crew categorize photos by the day they were taken and the location.

On newer ships, you just scan your SeaPass card and all your photos are displayed on the screen, allowing you to print only the photos you want to purchase.

Smaller ship size

Jewel of the Seas in Boston

This may be the most obvious thing you'll notice, but the ship will likely be smaller on older ships.

As Royal Caribbean has built new ships over the years, they have steadily built bigger and bigger cruise ships.

Grandeur of the Seas hallway

The good thing about a smaller ship is your "commute time" from one end of the ship to the other is noticeably less. This means if you forget something in your cabin, getting back and forth will feel less like a trek on a small ship.

Abandoned concepts

Enchanted Lounge

Mexican restaurants, self-leveling pool tables, and Brazilian steakhouse are all examples of things Royal Caribbean put on its ships and then gave up on in favor of something else.

You may run across a specialty restaurant concept that is only on a handful of ships, such as Sabor or Samba Grill.

The Radiance Class have these lounges with a safari or jungle theme to them that also include bars that rarely actually open.

There are also bars that don't exist on newer ships, such as the Champagne Bar or R-Bar. The bar in the Viking Crown Lounge on Radiance Class ships actually spins slowly at night.

What Is the Biggest Royal Caribbean ship?

01 Oct 2022

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. 

13 changes I'd love to see on future Royal Caribbean cruise ships

01 Oct 2022

Royal Caribbean has always been a cruise line known for innovation, from creating the Royal Promenade to building the first “Central Park” at sea and, of course, designing the largest cruise ships in the world.

I love everything about cruising with Royal Caribbean, but I can’t help but brainstorm new ideas and features I’d love to see on the fleet’s future cruise ships.

Whether new specialty restaurants, onboard activities, or new cabins, here are 13 changes and upgrades I’d love to see incorporated on Royal Caribbean ships.

Promenade deck pool area

Photo credit: Norwegian Cruise Line

The outdoor Promenade deck is one of my favorite places on any Royal Caribbean cruise ship, especially on ships where the Promenade deck wraps entirely around the ship’s circumference.

The Promenade deck is such valuable real estate, yet it seems Royal Caribbean does not take advantage of this space as much as other cruise lines.

Many cruise lines use this space for comfy seating, hot tubs, pools, outdoor dining, bars, and other hangout spaces. I’d love to see this concept on a Royal Caribbean ship as opposed to just a walking area!

Thai restaurant

Thai cuisine is one of my absolute favorites, but it’s something that’s hard to come by on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Other than the occasional “pad thai” served in the Windjammer, I’ve never seen any other Thai dish offered onboard.

My top wish list for a new specialty restaurant would be a Thai restaurant, although I’m not sure this is ever something that will come to fruition as Royal Caribbean ships already have Izumi onboard for Asian cuisine.

Related: Food on a Royal Caribbean cruise

While Royal Caribbean caters to a wide population of guests and therefore tends to select cuisines well-known by all age groups (Italian, Mexican, American fare, etc.), more and more people are enjoying cuisines like Korean, Indian, Vietnamese, Thai, etc.

Expanding culinary options might attract more young people and foodies to Royal Caribbean cruises.

Street food stand

Another random item on my wishlist for future Royal Caribbean ships is a “street food” cart that changes locations around the ship.

One of my favorite parts of traveling is tasting local street food, whether elotes in Mexico, falafel in Egypt, or bánh mì in Vietnam, and I think street food has become increasingly popular in recent years.

It would be interesting to see Royal Caribbean take advantage of this trend by introducing some sort of “street food” on their cruise ships. I’m imagining a food cart with easy, made-to-order dishes that moves around the ship each day offering cuisine not found elsewhere onboard.

Food hall/marketplace

Photo credit: Virgin Voyages

If the street food cart is a little too far-fetched, I think there is great potential for a food hall/marketplace option on future Royal Caribbean ships.

Different from a buffet, a food hall consists of made-to-order food stands with diverse cuisines, from noodle bars to Texas-style barbecue and build-your-own salad stations.

Photo credit: Norwegian Cruise Line

This was a concept that first rolled out on Virgin Voyages cruise ships and recently debuted on the Norwegian Prima. Most items at the food halls on these ships are complimentary and it serves as a trendy dining location reminiscent of food truck parks and marketplaces in cities around the world.

I would love to see a food hall on a Royal Caribbean ship!

Solo travelers area

Many cruise passengers cruise solo, and it would be nice to see some sort of exclusive solo cruiser area onboard.

Norwegian Cruise Line, for example, has a solo cruiser-only area with studio cabins and a private Studio Lounge. Solo passengers can enjoy complimentary coffee, espresso, and snacks in the lounge as they get to know fellow solo cruisers.

This would be a nice concept to see on future Royal Caribbean cruise ships, and I would definitely take advantage of it when planning a solo cruise.

Related: What I learned from my first solo cruise

More hammocks

Both Mariner of the Seas and Independence of the Seas have a set of hammocks on the ships’ Sports Courts and I love this feature!

Swinging in a hammock is extremely relaxing, especially when on a cruise ship, and it’s the perfect place to hang out and enjoy an ocean view. More hammocks, please!

World-themed ship

I visited Walt Disney World’s Epcot for the first time last year and enjoyed the global atmosphere of the park. Epcot’s World Showcase consists of 11 distinct areas representing countries around the world, including Canada, France, Morocco, Germany, Norway, and Mexico.

Each of these showcases features dining, shopping, architecture, and attractions themed by the country it represents, and it’s a unique way to “see the world” from one place.

A few months ago while onboard a cruise ship, I was reminiscing about my time in Epcot and thought the global theme could be a really cool idea for a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

Because Royal Caribbean has so many restaurants from diverse cuisines already, the ship’s theme could incorporate these restaurants into their own “enclaves” themed by different countries in the world.

More outlets in public areas

It’s very difficult to find an electrical outlet in public areas on Royal Caribbean ships, and when you do, it’s often in an inconvenient location and a European-style outlet.

Many people work remotely nowadays and Royal Caribbean is adding Starlink internet to all of its ships. The combination of these two factors may mean demand for working remotely on a cruise ship will soar.

It would be nice to see more outlets in public spaces onboard, although I’m not totally sure this will happen. After all, Royal Caribbean wants its guests to be enjoying the cruise ship’s amenities (and spending money on drinks, shopping, etc.) instead of being on their laptop all day!

Labels on Windjammer food items

I love eating at the Windjammer on a Royal Caribbean cruise, but I wish they had labels on the items. Some cruise lines have more in-depth labels above each food item listing ingredients and allergy information, and this is really helpful for passengers with dietary restrictions or allergies.

Related: Guide to Royal Caribbean's Windjammer Cafe buffet

While I don’t have any food allergies, I am a pescatarian and frequently find myself asking crew members in the Windjammer if they know which ingredients are in a particular food item. I imagine this is a lot worse for those with gluten sensitivities, dairy allergies, etc., so it would be nice to see more labels in the Windjammer and other food locations onboard.

More of The Bamboo Room bar locations

My favorite bar on any Royal Caribbean cruise ship is The Bamboo Room, a Polynesian-inspired tiki bar found only on Navigator and Mariner of the Seas.

The tropical vibes, bossa nova music, and island-themed drinks of The Bamboo Room make it a place I visit time and time again, but unfortunately it's only found on two ships in the fleet.

Related: Check out the signature cocktails at The Bamboo Room on Mariner of the Seas

The vibe of The Bamboo Room perfectly fits the atmosphere I’m looking for on a cruise vacation, and I would be super excited to see more locations on new Royal Caribbean ships or amplifications!

Roller coaster

Photo credit: Carnival Cruise Line

While spending the day at Perfect Day at CocoCay’s Thrill Waterpark last year, I learned the hard way that water slides make me feel extremely claustrophobic.

Sliding in circles in a pitch-black slide with water gushing everywhere? I loved it when I was younger, but now not so much.

That being said, I still love adrenaline-filled activities and would be interested to see some sort of roller coaster ride onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

Photo credit: Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival just debuted the BOLT Sea Coaster on the new Carnival Mardi Gras, and this ride looks like a ton of fun. I hope to see a similar feature incorporated on future Royal Caribbean ships!

Language classes

Earlier this year while sailing on Harmony of the Seas, I noticed a few short language classes appeared in the Cruise Compass. I’d never seen this before on a Royal Caribbean ship, so I made sure to attend the 45 minute Spanish class at the Schooner Bar.

I had a ton of fun at the class and would love to see this type of activity offered more often! On my cruise to Greece, for example, it would have been both fun and helpful to attend a short language class so I could have learned basic phrases to use in port.

Movie theater

I recently returned from an Alaska cruise on Radiance of the Seas, and one of my favorite features on the ship was the Cinema.

Every Radiance Class ship has a movie theater onboard which plays free movies several times per day, every day of the cruise. The cinema offered a much better viewing atmosphere than watching a movie on the pool deck, and it was fun to catch a movie on a sea day to pass the time.

While I’m not sure Royal Caribbean will incorporate more movie theaters into their new cruise ships, I certainly enjoyed my experience at the Cinema!

Which features would you love to see on new Royal Caribbean cruise ships? Do you agree with my ideas? Let me know in the comments!

Planning a cruise? Start here:

How fast do cruise ships go?

14 Sep 2022

Cruise ships are massive ocean going vessels packed with lots to do, so how fast can they really go?

What to expect on your first cruise | Royal Caribbean Blog

To move a ship as large as Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class cruise ships requires a combination of power generation and efficiency. After all, the easier something is to get going, the less energy required overall.

If you have seen a modern cruise ship up close, they are quite large and can move from port to port, and even continent to continent.

Here's everything you may have wondered about cruise ships and their speeds.

How fast can a cruise ship travel?

Royal Caribbean trademarks crown-shaped smokestack | Royal Caribbean Blog

Depending on the exact ship, cruise ships can get up to a good speed given the need.

Cruise ship speeds are measured in knots, and one knot is 1.15078 miles per hour on land.

Royal Caribbean says its cruise ships go as fast as 18 to 20 knots, depending on the specific ship and itinerary travelled. This is equivalent to 20 to 23 miles per hour on land.

Aerial photos of Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

But how fast can they get up to if they needed? During her sea trials in 2016, Harmony of the Seas' top speed was in excess of 25 knots, making her the fastest cruise ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet at the time.

The reality is ships never approach their top speed because it's just not good for fuel consumption.

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain explained that it makes more sense to cruise at a lower speed, "We would never go at that speed."

Time running out to send your comments to the CDC on cruises restarting | Royal Caribbean Blog

"The real objective is to go 18 or 19 knots much more efficiently, (and) the thing that makes it able to do that also makes it faster."

According to Fain, the fastest speed that other Royal Caribbean ships is under 25 knots.

In order to measure a ship's top speed, they calculate an average that takes into consideration going with and against the waves in the ocean. The weather plays a major role in how fast a ship could travel, just like how an airplane's top speed can depend on how strong of a tail or headwind it encounters.

Similarly, a ship's displacement, condition of the hull and propeller, or draft can all factor into a ship's top speed.

How cruise ships can go faster

Harmony of the Seas construction reaching a milestone | Royal Caribbean Blog

Looking at a massive cruise ship, it looks to be challenge to move the ships at almost any normal speed, so how do they do it?

The secret in managing speed versus fuel efficiency is in the ship's engineering.

Over the years, cruise ship design has seen improvements of the hull design and other design tweaks meant to allow the ship to move at faster speeds. As an example, Harmony of the Seas is 20% more efficient than Oasis or Allure of the Seas, thanks to improvements in hydrodynamic design, a new type of engine and product enhancements

Four Royal Caribbean cruise ships will get dry dock work in Spain | Royal Caribbean Blog

One example of using science to help ships be faster is via the installation of an air bubble system under the hull. Tiny bubbles stick to the bottom of the ship's hull so the ship literally is sailing on a cushion of air.

This air lubrication system allows the ship to float on air, with millions of tiny bubbles created under the hull to reduce drag and increase fuel efficiency. 

Essentially, every improvement means cruise ships can go faster with the same fuel use or the same speed with less energy.

What is the fastest cruise ship in the world?

Because Royal Caribbean cruise ships are meant to be pleasure vessel (as opposed to ocean liners that are designed to get passengers from one port to another), speed is not a major objective for these ships.

But fast speeds are still needed in the case of an onboard emergency, or to outrun bad weather.

By most accounts, the fastest ship is/was Cunard's Queen Mary 2, with a top speed of 30 knots, or 35 mph.  She was just a tad slower than sister vessel Queen Elizabeth 2, which ad a reported top speed of 32 knots.

Instead of the diesel-electric configuration found on many ships, Queen Mary 2 uses an integrated electric propulsion to achieve her faster-than-average speeds.

Beyond those Cunard ships, many contemporary cruise ships clock in right around Harmony of the Seas' top speed of around 25 knots.

Why do cruise ships travel at a slower speed?

Harmony of the Seas Live Blog - Day 2 - Sea Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

Not only do cruise ships rarely travel at their fastest speed, but they often go much slower.

There can be many reasons why a cruise ship slows down, and it's not just to save fuel. Certainly fuel consumption can play a major role in determining what speed to travel at, but other conditions can dictate a slower speed.

One common reason is a short distance between ports of call. Cruise ships are scheduled to arrive in port at a certain time, and each hour they spend in port costs the company money in docking fees. As a result, a ship will reduce speed so they arrive exactly at the time they are scheduled to dock, and not earlier.

Live blogging from Adventure of the Seas – Day 6 – Sea Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

On sea days, it is common for a ship to slow down to follow favorable weather so passengers can enjoy the sunshine. This is especially the case when the distance to the next port is short.

Sometimes, the Captain will even slow a ship down to everyone can see a sunset or other passing scenery.

In some places around the world, government regulations require cruise ships to travel at a slow speed. 

I've been on every class of Royal Caribbean cruise ships: here's what I like about each

05 Sep 2022

A year ago last August, I embarked my first Royal Caribbean cruise on Mariner of the Seas. Since then, I’ve spent 67 nights on 12 Royal Caribbean cruise ships, traveled to 25 different ports, accumulated 141 Crown & Anchor Society points, and made countless memories around the world.

Oasis of the Seas next to Liberty of the Seas in Cozumel

Royal Caribbean has six distinct classes of cruise ships, each with their own layouts, amenities, itinerary options, and onboard atmosphere. I recently cruised to Alaska on Radiance of the Seas, completing my goal of sailing on every class of Royal Caribbean ships.

Even though all Royal Caribbean cruise ships are distinctly Royal Caribbean in branding and design, they can feel quite different from one another when comparing the ships side by side. 

My cruising style

Before understanding why I feel the way I do about Royal Caribbean’s ship classes, it’s important to understand my cruising style.

I tend to spend more time relaxing without a plan onboard rather than trying to experience as many attractions as possible. While endless activities and entertainment options are certainly appreciated, I will enjoy a cruise equally with or without these activities.

I also do not cruise with children, so activities like water slides, zip lines, and kids programming do not factor in to whether I prefer one ship class over another.

I love using cruising (and traveling in general) as a way to discover as many cultures, countries, cuisines, and ports as possible. The cruise ship’s itinerary matters much more to me than what the ship’s layout is like, how many passengers are onboard, which dining venues are available, etc.

With all that being said, here’s what I like (and dislike) about each class of Royal Caribbean ships.

Quantum Class

Ships I’ve sailed on: Odyssey of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas

The Quantum Class may be my favorite class of Royal Caribbean's ships. The combination of elegant design, indoor spaces, and fantastic itineraries make them a strong contender for Royal Caribbean's best cruise ships.

Related: All about Quantum Class ships

Quantum Class ships sail to perhaps the widest range of destinations offered by Royal Caribbean, from the Caribbean to northern Europe, Israel, Greece, Turkey, Australia, the South Pacific, French Polynesia, New Zealand, Alaska, Hawaii, Southeast Asia, China, Japan, and more.

As someone who values itineraries even more than ships, the itinerary options are a strong contender for me choosing to sail on a Quantum Class ship.

The Quantum Class has some of the best venues in the fleet as well. The climate-controlled Solarium is definitely my favorite in the fleet, and Two70 is a breathtaking venue offering not only the best views of the ship’s aft, but great entertainment shows, too.

Related: Anthem of the Seas guide & review

The outdoor dining area at the Windjammer on Quantum, Anthem, and Ovation of the Seas is another major plus for the Quantum Class.

I don't have many drawbacks about the Quantum Class. While the Royal Esplanade sometimes reminds me more of a shopping mall than a cruise ship and I wish the outdoor Promenade deck wrapped around the whole ship for a better walking experience, these aren't make it or break it drawbacks.

Oasis Class

Ships I’ve sailed on: Harmony of the Seas, Wonder of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas

Oasis Class cruise ships are undoubtedly an impressive feat of engineering and design. Walking onboard an Oasis Class ship for the first time is mind-blowing. The scale, layout, and amount of activities available on Oasis Class ships are unparalleled in the cruise industry.

Related: All about Oasis Class cruise ships

My favorite place on an Oasis Class cruise ship is Central Park, simply because it is so unique. Being onboard a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean and walking through a park filled with trees, shrubs, and flowers is hard to wrap your head around!

Additionally, my favorite time to have a dining package is when I’m sailing on an Oasis Class ship. Oasis Class ships have an insane amount of places to dine, both complimentary and specialty. My favorite Oasis Class-exclusive dining venue is 150 Central Park. The fried cheesecake is to die for! Vitality Cafe is another favorite, and I order a custom smoothie nearly every day of the cruise.

The biggest drawback of the Oasis Class ships to me are the lack of areas with ocean views. So many spaces and venues, like restaurants and lounges, have no views or very limited views of the ocean.

Related: Wonder of the Seas neighborhoods tour

I also find the itineraries on Oasis Class ships pretty boring as they lack variation. While I'll never complain about spending the day in Cozumel, Costa Maya, St. Maarten, or St. Thomas, there are so many other ports around the world to discover that are not accessible by Oasis Class ships!

These two drawbacks make me unlikely to book many cruises on Oasis Class ships myself, but I definitely feel that Oasis Class ships are the “perfect” cruise ship for many types of cruisers, especially families with young children.

Freedom Class

Ships I’ve sailed on: Independence of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas

Freedom Class ships offer something for everyone onboard without being too big, and that’s one of the things I like most about them. They also tend to offer a great value while still offering many of Royal Caribbean’s newest amenities.

Related: All about Freedom Class cruise ships

My favorite entertainment shows to watch on a cruise are the ice-skating shows in Studio B, so that’s one plus of Freedom Class ships. I also feel the Main Dining Rooms on the Freedom Class (and Voyager Class) are the most beautiful in Royal Caribbean’s fleet.

The amplification of Freedom of the Seas was awesome and it is the perfect ship to sail weekend party cruises from Miami! My 3-night cruise on Freedom of the Seas was, by far, the most high-energy cruise I’ve experienced on Royal Caribbean.

Related: I tried my first 3-night cruise, here’s how it went

The downside to the Freedom Class, in my opinion, is the lack of any varied itineraries due to the ships offering primarily 3 and 4-night sailings to Nassau and Perfect Day at CocoCay.

That being said, I do think the size and range of activities on Freedom Class ships are perfect for short Bahamas itineraries.

Voyager Class

Ships I’ve sailed on: Mariner of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas

While my first cruise was on a Voyager Class ship, I've only spent a total of 6 nights onboard the Voyager Class (4 on Mariner and 2 on Navigator). That being said, I’ve really enjoyed my time on Voyager Class ships, and it’s one of my favorite ship classes.

Related: All about Voyager Class cruise ships

I love the size of a Voyager Class cruise ship as it’s neither too big nor too small. Several of the ships have received amplifications, bringing the best of Royal Caribbean’s dining and activities without an overwhelmingly large size.

The best spot onboard Voyager Class ships has to be the helicopter pad for the amazing views you’ll see during sailaway!

My favorite bar of any Royal Caribbean ship, The Bamboo Room, is found only on the Voyager Class (Mariner and Navigator), and the bar is home to my favorite drink in the fleet, the Banana Colada!

One feature I find interesting and unique in Royal Caribbean’s fleet is the peek-a-boo bridge I encountered on Mariner of the Seas. Located all the way forward and accessible from the front of the Vitality Fitness Center, the peek-a-boo bridge allows guests to “peek” into the bridge below and observe the work of the officers.

Related: Top 10 Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas hidden secrets

Another plus is that Voyager Class cruise ships sail relatively varied itineraries, from the Mexican Riviera to Europe, the northeast/Canada, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. 

Radiance Class

Ship I’ve sailed on: Radiance of the Seas

While I’ve only been on one Radiance Class cruise ship, I am already looking forward to sailing on the other 3 ships in the class.

The Radiance Class cruise ships are stunning due to the amount of window space that was constructed into the ships’ designs. Radiance Class ships have over three acres of glass onboard, meaning you’ll have picture-perfect views of the ocean from nearly any venue.

Related: All about Radiance Class cruise ships

As I mentioned, one of my biggest complaints about the Oasis Class is that it’s too easy to forget you’re on a ship due to the inward facing design of the class. With how many windows are found on a Radiance Class ship, it would be virtually impossible to forget you’re in the ocean while onboard!

One of my favorite features on Radiance Class cruise ships is the cinema, a small movie theater with a different movie shown four times each day. The cinema is free of charge and is a relaxing way to spend a few hours, especially on chilly days at sea.

Related: 20 Radiance Class cruise ship tips and secrets

I would sail on the Radiance Class time and time again just for the amazing itinerary options. Radiance Class ships, like Quantum Class ships, sail all over the world. Some of Royal Caribbean's most unique ports, such as Nuuk, Greenland and Lifou, Loyalty Islands, are visited by Radiance Class cruise ships.

Related: 10 Royal Caribbean cruise destinations not to be missed

The one problem I found on Radiance Class ships is that I had trouble finding a quiet area of the ship at night. The “library” is located in the Centrum, which has a full schedule of live music every night, and other public spaces usually have live or DJ music as well.

Sometimes I just wanted to sit and have a nice conversation or read a book, but it was too loud everywhere except my room!

Vision Class

Ship I’ve sailed on: Rhapsody of the Seas

I heard so many complaints about Royal Caribbean’s Vision Class before sailing on Rhapsody of the Seas. Some people even scoffed when I mentioned I was sailing on a Vision Class ship!

Cruising on a ship with no Royal Promenade or 15 restaurants? How could I do that to myself?

Related: All about Vision Class cruise ships

All jokes aside, I loved my time on Rhapsody of the Seas. It brought me back to a more classic cruise experience without the need for water slides, zip lines, and carousels. In fact, I’d put the Vision Class as my second favorite of Royal Caribbean’s ship classes.

My itinerary to the Greek Isles on a Vision Class ship was port-intensive. The ship worked perfectly as a place to rest and unwind at the end of the day before having to wake up early for another day in port. Truthfully, I wouldn’t have had time or energy for endless onboard activities and entertainment options.

Related: 12 differences between the big and small Royal Caribbean cruise ships

I enjoyed the atmosphere of the Vision Class Centrum and how it connected different decks of the ship together. Much of my time onboard was spent sipping a cocktail or coffee in the Centrum while listening to live music and enjoying views of Greece in the distance.

I also loved the family feel onboard Vision of the Seas. With far fewer passengers than a bigger cruise ship, I felt more like a guest and less like just a number.

If you're traveling with kids, the Vision Class is probably at the bottom in terms of onboard activities, but there is still Adventure Ocean programming available as well as a rock-climbing wall and other kid-friendly activities.

Final thoughts

I will gladly sail on any Royal Caribbean cruise ship no matter the class. 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise on Symphony of the Seas? Count me in. 14-night Transatlantic on Vision of the Seas? I’ll be there.

While I may prefer certain classes over others, the onboard experiences are often more similar than different. Hanging out at Schooner Bar on a Radiance Class ship will offer a similar experience to Schooner Bar on any other class, a pool day is a pool day no matter the ship, and the dining experience in venues like the Windjammer or Main Dining Room is pretty standard throughout the fleet.

There’s no “perfect” cruise ship out there, and what works best for one passenger may not work as well for another. For me? I prefer looking for a unique itinerary first before even looking at the ship. Others may prefer to choose a cruise based on the ship with the itinerary as an afterthought, and that’s totally okay, too.

If you’re wondering how to pick the best cruise ship for you, check out our other articles:

What is a cruise ship dry dock?

22 Aug 2022

Royal Caribbean cruise ships undergo a dry dock every few years for routine maintenance and refurbishment, but why are dry docks necessary and how does the process work?

Harmony of the Seas in dry dock

Whether you've read about it online or heard from another passenger or crew member about a ship's upcoming dry dock, you might be wondering what this entails.

Just like when your car needs to get service and they hoist it up on a lift, cruise ships need to get "under the hood" work done to keep them working properly.

What is a cruise ship dry dock?

A dry dock is a narrow basin that can be filled and drained of water to allow for maintenance and repairs on a ship’s hull.

Because the hull remains underwater at all times, it’s necessary to remove the ship from water occasionally to clean the hull and work on routine maintenance of the ship. Royal Caribbean ships usually have dry dock once every five years.

For a ship to enter a dry dock, the basin must first be filled with water, allowing the ship to sail in safely. Once the ship sails into the dry dock and is situated in the correct position, the gate is closed and water is drained.

Dry docks are also used during the construction of new ships. Because ships cannot, of course, be constructed in the water, they are constructed on a dry dock which can later be filled with water to allow the ship to safely sail out once constructed.

What type of maintenance and repairs happen during a dry dock?

During dry dock, ships undergo routine mechanical work as well as checks of the ship’s propeller blades, thrusters, stabilizers, navigation software, etc. If anything needs to be replaced, it will be replaced during this time. The ship’s hull is cleaned during dry dock with a power washing system and typically repainted.

Parts of the ship’s exterior and interior spaces are also repainted during dry dock. When Harmony of the Seas underwent dry dock in 2021, for example, the shipyard estimated they would use around 8,000 liters of paint on the ship!

Dry dock is also a time for interior refurbishments such as adding new coats of paint and replacing flooring, bedding, curtains, etc. Anything that cannot easily be done while a ship is in service will be done during dry dock (deep cleaning of onboard spaces, adding new venues, etc.).

Why does the ship’s hull need to be cleaned?

If routine cleaning of a ship’s hull is neglected, it can lead to the accumulation of marine line on the hull, known as biofouling. Barnacles, shellfish, algae, and other marine life can live on the hull.

The most notorious are barnacles, a crustacean related to lobsters and crabs, who must attach onto a hard surface to develop into adults. In fact, the natural “glue” barnacles use to attach to a ship’s hull is so strong that researchers have been trying to mimic the sticky substance for use commercially and medically.

This, of course, causes a few key problems for ships. First, a buildup of marine life can cause more drag, making the ship’s speed lower, which increases both fuel costs and carbon emissions.

It also means that marine life can be transported from one area of the world to another, causing potential environmental impact as existing ecosystems may be affected by new types of marine life.

Therefore, having routine dry dock maintenance to clean the ship’s hull can help negate this problem and assure that large buildups of marine life do not occur on Royal Caribbean’s ships.

Refurbishments and amplifications

Mariner of the Seas in dry dock for her 2018 amplification

During some dry docks, Royal Caribbean ships will undergo significant refurbishments or amplifications through Royal Caribbean’s Royal Amplified program.

Royal Caribbean uses two terms for upgrading its cruise ships: refurbishment and amplification.

Refurbishments are smaller enhancements to a ship, such as upgrading staterooms, re-designing an existing venue, switching a specialty restaurant, etc. Amplifications are more in-depth refurbishments where Royal Caribbean “amplifies” an older ship with many of the popular features found on the fleet’s newest cruise ships. 

Related: What was added to each Royal Caribbean ship during its Royal Amplified refurbishment

Amplifications may include adding water slides, new staterooms, renovated pool decks, several new bars and restaurants, and activities like an escape room, laser tag, and bungee jumping.

Dry docks take cruise ships out of service for around two weeks for routine maintenance, but amplifications can take over a month.

When Oasis of the Seas received her amplification in 2019, which included adding waterslides, the Ultimate Abyss, a Caribbean resort-style pool deck, and new dining venues, it took a total of 63 days.

In fact, when Oasis of the Seas was amplified, nearly every single venue was touched by workers to either repair, enhance, or alter the space. About 800 tons were added to the ship when all the work was done.

Every day counts in a dry dock

When a cruise ship needs to go into dry dock, it means the ship will be out of service and that means no revenue for that time.

Similar to how a professional athlete that is injured cannot help the team win, a cruise ship that goes in for work will not improve the cruise line's bottom line.

Oasis of the Seas dry dock overhead

Over 2,700 contractors were onboard Oasis while the ship was in dry dock in Cadiz, Spain to get the work done in time.

Oasis was out of service for 63 days in order to get all of her work done, which is a significant investment by the cruise line. The amount of time would have been far less had they not decided to upgrade the ship, but the short-term financial impact is offset by the higher revenue and increased bookings down the line when the ship returns to service.

Planning a cruise? Start here:

Ask a Captain: How fast can a cruise ship go to outrun a storm?

11 Aug 2022

When you're on a cruise ship, you might be curious about a ship's top speed so that it could avoid something like a storm.

Severe weather is enough to give almost anyone a bit of anxiety, and riding out a storm at sea isn't usually at the top of anyone's wish list when it comes to things to do on a cruise.

On every Royal Caribbean cruise, there is an event held for guests to ask the ship's Captain questions.

On a recent Odyssey of the Seas cruise, a passenger wanted to know in case of a storm, how fast can the ship sail away from a storm?

How fast can a cruise ship go?

Before we talk about the chances of running into a storm, let's look at a cruise ship's top speed.

Captain Sindre Borsheim answered how fast do cruise ships go when he was captain of the ship earlier this year. Captain Sindre has more than 20 years of experience with Royal Caribbean, so he's no stranger to ships and conditions at sea.

Royal Caribbean veteran Captain Sindre Borsheim

According to Captain Sindre, the top speed of Odyssey of the Seas is around 23.7 knots.

"That is full speed," he said and then joked maybe the ship could go a bit faster if they went downhill at the time.

The top speed of any cruise ship varies greatly depending on the ship’s size and engine power. 

Most of the time, a cruise ship doesn't get near that top speed. Instead, they remain at a more comfortable cruising speed. Going at a slower speed also reduces the ship's fuel consumption.

But if necessary, the ship can accelerate to that 23.7 knots figure, which is about 27 miles per hour.

Outrunning a storm is unlikely

The question about needing to outrun a storm is very unlikely to be a scenario your cruise ship will encounter.

"With today's technology, you see where the storms are coming," Captain Sindre explained.

"You can predict days in advance. So it's very rare that nowadays we get caught by surprise storms."

He did recall one time a few years ago when bad weather developed quickly, "I was on a ship over in Southeast Asia sailing out of Hong Kong. And we just happened to be exactly where the typhoon was born."

"We managed to get away before it was building up."

"Normally we see that they are born and then you predict the path. But if you happen to be exactly right there during birth, then then you may be caught by surprise."

James Van Fleet with beard

It's important to also note that Royal Caribbean employs its own meteorologist to keep track of severe weather, anywhere around the world.

Royal Caribbean Chief Meteorologist James Van Fleet gives the captain of each ship the best outlook on what the weather is doing now and what it is likely to do in the near future.

Read moreHow Royal Caribbean navigates bad weather with its own meteorologist

More efficient engines than ever before

Top 10 Odyssey of the Seas frequently asked questions | Royal Caribbean Blog

On a cruise ship like Odyssey of the Seas, it has the best engines in the fleet given how new it is.

Another guest asked if Odyssey's engines are quieter or eco-friendly than before.

"Yes, they are," Captain Sindre answered. "we have four diesel engines, our azipods are electric motors. The electric motors are propulsion motors. And then you have the diesel engines driving the generators, creating the electricity for the ships."

"If you combine the performance of an old diesel engine and the new ones that we have on board, it is a remarkable difference."

The use of azipods, which are omnidirectional form of propulsion for cruise ships, are great for many reasons.

"The azipods are placed there for fuel efficiency, which is of course serving two purposes. One is to reduce the fuel for environment. And that is also more cost beneficial for the company. So those two things go hand in hand."

"We have state of the art engines, which means that they are far more efficient. They're far more environmentally friendly than older engines."

Azipods on Odyssey of the Seas

Captain Sindre pointed out the shift in the cruise industry to use liquefied natural gas (LNG) instead of diesel, "Most cruise lines are already starting heading in the direction of LNG instead of diesel engines. So LNG powered ships, which is again very more environmentally friendly."

Read moreWhich Royal Caribbean ships are powered by LNG?

How many ships does Royal Caribbean have?

15 Jun 2022

Royal Caribbean is one of the most popular cruise lines in the world, offering the latest and greatest in cruise ship activities, design, and itineraries. Whether you’re new to Royal Caribbean or not, it can be confusing to tell Royal Caribbean’s cruise ships apart. So just how many cruise ships does Royal Caribbean have, and what do they offer?

Royal Caribbean currently has 26 cruise ships and has four additional ships on order which will launch in the next four years. The cruise line has six distinct classes of cruise ships, each of which offer differ in layout, size, onboard activities, stateroom options, and amenities. A seventh class will debut in fall 2023 with Icon of the Seas.

Here is the list of ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet:

Vision Class ships

  • Grandeur of the Seas
  • Enchantment of the Seas
  • Rhapsody of the Seas
  • Vision of the Seas

Vision Class ships are the oldest and smallest ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet. While considered small by Royal Caribbean terms, they hold nearly 2,500 passengers and offer many of the same amenities as larger ships, including a pool deck, adults-only Solarium, Adventure Ocean kids programming, spa and fitness centers, and specialty dining venues.

Related: All about Vision Class cruise ships

Radiance Class ships

  • Radiance of the Seas
  • Brilliance of the Seas
  • Serenade of the Seas
  • Jewel of the Seas

Radiance Class ships are the second smallest class of ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet and are designed to sail in all types of climates, thus offering unique itineraries around the world. There are over three acres of glass found throughout Radiance Class ships, so guests can enjoy views of the ocean from nearly any vantage point.

Related: All about Radiance Class cruise ships

Voyager Class ships

Voyager Class cruise ships are considered “medium” in size, although quite large with a capacity of around 4,000 guests. They were the first Royal Caribbean ship class to feature the Royal Promenade, the main thoroughfare in the middle of the ship. Several Voyager Class ships have recently been amplified with the addition of water slides, new specialty restaurants and bars, and other new activities such as the Sky Pad, escape rooms, and laser tag.

Related: All about Voyager Class cruise ships

Freedom Class ships

Freedom Class ships are extremely similar to Voyager Class ships, but are longer in length, allowing for an additional pool area as well as more retail, food, and bar venues. Many passengers find the Freedom Class to be an ideal size for a Royal Caribbean cruise. While not as large as Royal Caribbean’s newest ships, there is certainly no shortage of excellent entertainment, dining choices, and onboard activities.

Related: All about Freedom Class cruise ships

Oasis Class ships

The Oasis Class ships were a game changer in the cruise industry, with a split layout that was unlike anything ever seen before at sea. Oasis Class ships feature distinct neighborhoods, from the nostalgic outdoor boardwalk to peaceful Central Park. There are activities for guests of all ages onboard, whether ziplining, ice skating, or catching a show in the AquaTheater.

Related: All about Oasis Class cruise ships

Quantum Class ships

  • Quantum of the Seas
  • Anthem of the Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas
  • Spectrum of the Seas
  • Odyssey of the Seas

Quantum Class ships combine technology with cruising to bring a modern, state-of-the-art experience to passengers at sea. The Quantum Class has several differences to other Royal Caribbean ships, including a two-story Royal Esplanade, the North Star observation pod, and an indoor skydiving simulator. Quantum Class ships are built for a variety of climates, so most of the ships have an indoor pool in addition to the adults-only Solarium. The SeaPlex can also be found on Quantum Class ships, which is an indoor sports arena with bumper cars, fitness activities, and an arcade.

Related: All about Quantum Class cruise ships

Icon Class cruise ships

The Icon Class will be Royal Caribbean’s newest and seventh class of ships, although little is known about the features, layout, and amenities of the Icon Class. The class will debut in fall 2023 with Icon of the Seas, and will be the first class in Royal Caribbean's fleet to be powered by LNG.

Related: Which Royal Caribbean ships are powered by LNG?

Royal Caribbean recently announced the Icon Class will be bigger than Oasis Class cruise ships, although it is unclear in what aspect Icon will be bigger. Construction images have been shared of Icon of the Seas as well, including several of a large sphere that has recently been installed on the ship.

More details on Icon of the Seas and the Icon Class are expected to be released soon.

How to pick a ship for your upcoming cruise

While one cruise ship is not inherently better than another, it’s important to look at your preferences and vacation style before choosing a ship for your Royal Caribbean cruise.

If you’re new to cruising, it may seem tempting to pick the cheapest cruise possible. However, choosing a cruise based solely on price is not recommended. Instead, consider the following:

  • Ship size
  • Entertainment options
  • Kids activities and amenities
  • Dining venues
  • Itinerary choices
  • Old vs new ship

Related: Why you shouldn’t book the cheapest cruise fare you can find

Budget does play a factor, of course, but if you're set on having access to activities like water slides or bumper cars, you'll want to look at bigger or recently amplified cruise ships.

On the other hand, if you're looking for a classic cruise experience without all the bells and whistles, an older and smaller ship may suit your vacation needs just fine.

There is a Royal Caribbean ship to fit every style of cruising, so it's important to research ships thoroughly before booking to ensure you don't find yourself disappointed or surprised once onboard.

Related: 8 questions to ask yourself before picking a cruise ship

How big are Royal Caribbean’s cruise ships?

Royal Caribbean is known for building the largest cruise ships in the world. With the exception of the Queen Mary 2 from 2003-2006, a Royal Caribbean ship has held the title of the world’s largest passenger ship since 1999!

Despite this, Royal Caribbean ships come in all shapes and sizes. Vision and Radiance Class ships are the smallest in the fleet, with passenger capacities around 2,500. Voyager and Freedom Class are significantly larger, with capacities around 4,000 and 4,500 respectively.

Related: 12 differences between the big and small Royal Caribbean cruise ships

The largest classes in the fleet are the Quantum Class and Oasis Class. Quantum Class ships can hold around 5,000 - 5,600 passengers whereas Oasis Class ships have capacity for nearly 7,000 passengers!

One of the best ways to get a feel for what each ship looks like is to watch a full video tour of the ship on YouTube. By doing so, you’ll be able to “explore” the ship before choosing which class of ship, or even which ship in a particular class, will work best for your cruise.

Is Royal Caribbean building new cruise ships?

In the coming years, Royal Caribbean will add four new cruise ships to its fleet. Two new cruise ships are currently in construction: Icon of the Seas and Utopia of the Seas.

Icon of the Seas will be the first ship in the new Icon Class. Two additional Icon Class ships have been ordered for 2025 and 2026, but they are not currently named.

Related: What’s new and coming to Royal Caribbean in 2022, 2023, 2024

Utopia of the Seas will be the sixth Oasis Class cruise ship. While details on the ship have not yet been shared, it can be assumed she will share many of the same features as other ships in the Oasis Class, including distinct neighborhoods and entertainment venues like the AquaTheater.

More cruise ships outside of these four are likely to be ordered in the future, but these are the only ones ordered at this point.

Royal Caribbean trademarks names possible new cruise ships

22 Dec 2021

Royal Caribbean registered 24 new cruise ship names recently, which could be used for a new cruise ship.

The registrations were made with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Royal Caribbean Group filed 24 different trademark registrations with the PTO for names that sound like they might be used for cruise ship names.

Trademark registrations are notoriously vague, and rarely give much insight into what they may be used for onboard a cruise ship, but it can sometimes tip Royal Caribbean's hand in what they have planned.

The names were trademarked on December 16, 2021.

Here are all the new names trademarked:


It's worth noting that of the 24 names registered, one is a name previously used.

Splendor of the Seas is the name of a former Royal Caribbean cruise ship, although it was spelled "Splendour".

Royal Caribbean sold Splendour to Marella Cruises, where she serves now as the Marella Discovery.

Splendour was the second in line in the Vision Class.

Odyssey of the Seas construction photo update - October 30, 2020 | Royal Caribbean Blog

It is worth noting that Royal Caribbean has registered other cruise ship names that it never ended up using for actual ships. Joy of the Seas and Apex of the Seas were registered back in 2017 and have yet to be used.

Royal Caribbean currently has three unnamed ships on order, in addition to Wonder of the Seas & Icon of the Seas.

Why do these trademarks matter?

Spectrum of the Seas steel cutting ceremony | Royal Caribbean Blog

If you are curious what might be next for Royal Caribbean, trademark filings are a good hint of what the cruise line may be thinking.

While a lot of trademarks get filed but never used, some do end up being the names of new venues, services or even cruise ships.

With new cruise ships under construction, and other projects around the world in various stages of development, there is always a chance the dreamers at Royal Caribbean are ready to move from concept to reality, and locking in a name is part of that process.

When it comes to ship names, it is common for Royal Caribbean to register more names than it intends to use. Think of this list as the finalists in a naming competition. In short, it's better to have more names than you need to ensure no one takes up a name later.

What's your prediction?

Odyssey of the Seas will be Royal Caribbean's second Quantum Ultra Class ship and sail from United States | Royal Caribbean Blog

Now is your chance to show us how much you (think you) know! Share your predictions what these trademarks will be used for the name of a new ship in the future!

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