The Classes Of Royal Caribbean Ships Explained
Whether you are an old-timer or a newcomer to cruising you will have heard of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class ships. They are the biggest in the world and they offer attractions you won’t find anywhere else at sea!
Royal Caribbean truly has the WOW factor, they aim to be bigger and better year after year and they are yet to be beaten in size!
With 26 ships to choose from, selecting the best ship can be a hard task. But Royal Caribbean Group their ships into different classes. This makes it easier to find the attractions you fancy trying or if you have enjoyed a ship in the past you can easily find a similar ship to sail on.
How many classes of ship does Royal Caribbean have?
Royal Caribbean has 7 classes of ship at present (March 2022) but in 2023 we will see a launch of the new Icon Class.
- Freedom Class – 3 Ships, first launched in 2006.
- Oasis Class – 5 Ships, first launched in 2009.
- Quantum Class – 3 Ships, first launched in 2014.
- Quantum Ultra Class – 2 Ships, first launched in 2019
- Radiance Class – 4 Ships, first launched in 2001.
- Vision Class – 4 Ships, first launched in 1998.
- Voyager Class – 5 Ships, first launched in 1999.
Ships: Freedom of the Seas (2006); Liberty of the Seas (2007); Independence of the Seas (2008)
Average size: 154,407 to 156,271 tons
Passengers: 4,515 to 4,960
Kid Friendly: 10/10
Freedom class ships were the biggest and best ships of their time. In fact I remember the hype around Independence of the Seas when it launched. I wasn’t into cruising back then but I even went down to Southampton docks to see the fireworks.
In the past few years we have seen Royal Amplifications on these ships upgrading the interiors, deck and attractions. These were the first ships to introduce the Flow Rider which is an on deck wave machine allow people to surf. They also offer Ice rinks where you can ice skate for free or enjoy the amazing ice shows offered by onboard entertainers.
Ships: Oasis of the Seas (2009); Allure of the Seas (2010); Harmony of the Seas (2016); Symphony of the Seas (2018); Wonder of the Seas (March 2022)
Size: 226,838 to 228,081 tons
Passengers: 6,780 to 6,998
Kid Friendly: 10/10
Oasis class ships are the biggest in the world and they get bigger and better every time! Some of them are so large that they have a zip line and a merry go round.
If you want to sail the world on pure luxury and be constantly entertained this class is for you. They even offer broadway shows such as Mama Mia, We will rock you, Grease etc. Some even offer an aqua theatre at the back of the ship.
I have been lucky enough to sail on two Oasis class ships and they are my very favourite.
QUANTUM CLASS AND QUANTUM CLASS ULTRA
Ships: Quantum of the Seas (2014); Anthem of the Seas (2015); Ovation of the Seas (2016); Spectrum of the Seas (2019); Odyssey of the Seas (2021)
Size: 168,666 to 169,379 tons
Passengers: 4,905 to 4,905
Kid Friendly: 10/10
Quantum class ships are the most exciting of all. They have really unique features not found on any other cruise line. For example the North Star observation pod which is like a London Eye pod taking you up into the sky to enjoy the view. Also the RipCord by iFLY skydiving simulator and even bumper cars.
Quantum class ships are ideal for cold weather cruises. Anthem of the seas currently sails out of Southampton, UK and New York. It had an indoor pool which can become an outdoor pool meaning you can still enjoy a swim even its chilly outside.
We are taking our first Quantum class cruise in October 2022 and we are very excited about it.
Ships: Radiance of the Seas (2001); Brilliance of the Seas (2002); Serenade of the Seas (2003); Jewel of the Seas (2004)
Size: 90,090 tons
Passengers: 2,466 to 2,702
Kid Friendly: 5/10
Radiance class ships are well known by the slightly older crowd of Royal Caribbean sailers. This class of ship is famous for it’s views as they have lots of glass walls, glass elevators looking outside and some stunning viewing areas around the ship. These ships can access smaller cruise ports, so you will find unusual or different types of ports. One of the itineraries I see often is the Panama Canal.
The only thing I can not keen on is the fact every ship in this class is the same size.. but they gradually took more and more passengers. Which means they are adding extra cabins and increasing capacity without making the ships any bigger… If you like a quiet cruise aim for Radiance of the seas the mother of the class. She takes only 2,466 passengers at its maximum.
You won’t find anything exciting for the dare devils on these ships. They do not have Flow riders, ice rinks or water slides etc. But they do offer the same standard of service as any other ship.
Ships in class: Grandeur of the Seas (1996); Rhapsody of the Seas (1997); Enchantment of the Seas (1997); Vision of the Seas (1998)
Size: 73,817 to 82,910 tons
Passengers: 2,440 to 2,514
Kid Friendly: 5/10
Vision class are the oldies of Royal Caribbean but they should never be overlooked. If you are looking for a cheaper, quiet cruise these ships may be for you. They still offer lounges, restaurants, arcades, first class shows, kids club etc. Most of these ships will probably be sold off over the next few years. Cruise lines such as Marella have bought previous ships and taken them on as their own.
Ships in class: Voyager of the Seas (1999); Explorer of the Seas (2000); Adventure of the Seas (2001); Navigator of the Seas (2002); Mariner of the Seas (2003)
Size: 137,276 to 139,999 tons
Passengers: 3,807 to 4,290
Kid Friendly: 7/10
Voyager class is actually another of our favourite classes.. our very first cruise was taken on Adventure of the seas back in July 2014 for our honeymoon. We then went on to sail on Explorer of the seas the following years. Since we have been on Explorer 2 more times in 2019! In our opinion they are just the right size and still offer all of the fun things of Royal Caribbean like an ice rink, flow rider, climbing wall, amazing shows etc.
Whatever Royal Caribbean ship you decide to sail on, please have a wonderful time! Don’t forget to explore every single part of the ship and make the most of the entertainment on board.