Best Royal Caribbean Ships

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Jennifer DiDonna

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Best Royal Caribbean Ships
Curator’s statement

With twenty eight cruise ships and an additional one coming in 2025, choosing the best Royal Caribbean ships for you can be a challenge. In 2023, I spent a lot of time at Royal Caribbean University learning all about each of their twenty nine ships and earning my Master of Adventure certificate. I spent some time at Port Liberty, in New Jersey, on the Oasis of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas and Jewel of the Seas, doing ship inspections. I also spent an entire week aboard the Radiance of the Seas with my family in Alaska this past summer. Royal Caribbean was the very first cruise I took in 2002 (on the Empress of the Seas) and I am still a fan over twenty years later. Royal Caribbean's amazing variety of ships, and exceptional service, have something for everyone and I highly recommend their ships to clients.

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Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas

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Best Royal Caribbean Ships

With such an amazing fleet of ships choosing the best Royal Caribbean ships for you can be a challenge. Some cruisers prefer smaller intimate ships, some prefer the biggest and newest ships, luckily Royal Caribbean has a ship to please everyone. I will highlight a few of my favorites below.

Wonder of the Seas, one of Royal Caribbean’s newest oasis class ships, launched in spring of 2022. Wonder of the Seas can hold a whopping 6,988 passengers but with eighteen decks and eight neighborhoods it will never feel overcrowded. Some of Wonder of the Seas best features, especially for those traveling with families, are the three pools, zip line, Ultimate Abyss 10-story slide, ice skating rink, two rock climbing walls, playground, mini-golf, the Flow Rider and the escape room. The Aqua Theater is a feature that every guest will love on this ship. Watching a high-diving show on a cruise ship is nothing short of amazing. The biggest stand-out on this ship is the Suite Neighborhood, this neighborhood is a private enclave reserved just for suite guests. Another great feature is the Solarium, unlike other ships, the solarium on the Wonder is completely enclosed making it usable during inclement weather.

Travel advisor posing

Image 1: Radiance of the Seas (radiance class) Wildlife Viewing ; Image 2: Jewel of the Seas (radiance class)

Oasis of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s first oasis class ship, launched in 2009. With a maximum capacity slightly less staggering than Wonder of the Seas, this ship can hold 6700 passengers when completely booked. Since this ship is a bit older, sailings tend to be a bit cheaper. Don’t let the age of the ship dissuade you from choosing any ship though. Royal Caribbean “amplifies” their ships often and after a recent amplification many areas of Oasis of the Seas have been freshened up. Oasis of the Seas gets my vote for one of the best Royal Caribbean ships because you get the amazing amenities of the oasis class ships at a lower cost than its newer siblings.

Odyssey of the Seas, is the newest quantum class ship, launched in 2021. This ultra class cruise ship includes the iFly skydiving simulator, bumper cars, roller-skating, the North Star observation capsule, a VR venue and the Two70 music venue. With a maximum capacity of 5,510 this ship is perfect for cruisers that still want a big ship amenities and the big ship feel but enjoy less of a crowd. Odyssey of the Seas has a more traditional ship layout and no neighborhoods, so I personally find the ship easier to navigate.

inside view

Image 1: Oasis of the Seas (oasis class) The Abyss 10-Story Slide ; Image 2: Oasis of the Seas (oasis class) Promenade Area View From Upper Deck

For certain itineraries, bigger isn’t always better and the best Royal Caribbean ships are the smaller ones; Radiance of the Seas is the perfect example of this. While Radiance of the Seas is one of the fleets oldest ships, launched in 2001, it is one of the best ships for smaller ports like the ones found in Alaska, Hawaii and New Zealand. The smaller size allows the captain to maneuver the ship around more easily than larger ships. On my Alaska sailing we stopped at Hubbard Glacier and the captain was able to maneuver the ship around the ice to get us as close as possible. With a maximum occupancy of 2,466 this ship never felt overcrowded. Although this ship didn’t have many of the bells and whistles of the newest, biggest ships, my kids really enjoyed our Alaska sailing. With amenities like the main pool, hot tubs, small splash area, mini golf and rock climbing wall my kids were always entertained.

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Image 1: Oasis of the Seas (oasis class) Promenade Area ; Image 2: Jewel of the Seas (radiance class)Solarium Adults Only Indoor Pool Area

Need to Know

With twenty eight ships (and an additional ship coming soon) in six different classes there is truly a ship for everyone. The oasis and quantum class ships are my favorites for their "wow" factor. Royal Caribbean runs like a well-oiled machine and although these ships hold thousands of passengers you will never feel like you're surrounded by so many others. With so many amenities and scheduled activities you will never be bored on these ships. Families especially will love these ships. The radiance class ships are my favorite for smaller ports that are generally more itinerary-heavy, like Alaska. These ships are great for newer cruisers since they are the perfect size and intro into cruising.

This trip report is part of our ongoing series on travel by Cruise. In need of further inspiration? Check out Phelipe Cardoso Sekai’s guide, Majestic Voyages: Fora's In-Depth Guide to Royal Caribbean Ships by Size.

travel advisor Jennifer DiDonna in a tan hat and black shirt in front of window blinds

Travel Advisor

Jennifer DiDonna

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