Compare Royal Caribbean cruise ships

When you're trying to pick the right Royal Caribbean cruise for you, there's a lot to choose from. Royal Caribbean currently has 22 ships in its fleet and that's a lot to choose from. Let's discuss what the differences (and similarities) are and which one is great for you.

Royal Caribbean ships do vary considerably in size, from ships that can handle around 2000 passengers to ships that top out over 5000 passengers.

Ship Class

The first thing to understand are the classes of ships. Royal Caribbean has 7 classes of ships in active service to choose from.

  • Quantum
  • Oasis
  • Freedom
  • Voyager
  • Radiance
  • Vision
  • Sovereign

Ship classes are categories of ships that have a very similar size, amenities and layout. Think of ship classes like car models. Every Ford Mustang for any given year is based on the same build, but individual cars can have slightly different options.

By looking first at ship classes, you get to more easily see key differences between the ships. Each class is fairly unique but you will notice similarities too.

Understanding the what each ship offers is important. Even among sibling ships, there are some differences. For example, Liberty of the Seas offers a Broadway show whereas none of its sibling ships have one.

The differences between ships used to be much larger but Royal Caribbean embarked upon a fleet-wide refurbishment in the last few years to bring innovations first developed for the Oasis-class onto older ships in the fleet. To be honest, the changes have breathed new life into these older ships and now the differences between all ships has been greatly reduced.

Ship age

That brings up ship age. The tendency in the cruising industry is to build bigger ships each time, so typically the smaller ships are also the older ships. That's not always the case but generally speaking, the last few classes of Royal Caribbean ships (Quantum, Oasis, Freedom, Voyager) are signifigantly bigger than the older classes of ships.

The newest class of ships are Quantum, Oasis and Freedom class. The oldest are Vision and Sovereign class.

Of course, age doesn't tell the whole story. In fact, many Royal Caribbean fans will tell you the older ships are their favorite ships. Smaller ships offer a much more intimate cruise experience and they often have things the larger ships do not, like more vantage points to the ocean.

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