Royal Caribbean has a large (and growing) fleet with its newest entrants among the biggest, boldest and flashiest cruise ships the industry has ever seen. These innovative ships are packed full with entertainment, dining options and cool activities and attractions and have earned a loyal following for the cruise line.
Royal Caribbean, however, has a deep roster of cruise ships of all sizes with features that appeal to a range of cruising styles. Among the line’s more than two dozen cruise ships sailing itineraries all over the world, here are five Royal Caribbean ships that stand out.
The Big Shots
Anthem of the Seas
The second in the cruise line’s Quantum Class, Anthem of the Seas homeports at Bayonne, N.J., and sails voyages from the New York/New Jersey region to New England/Canada, Bermuda and the Caribbean.
Anthem carries up to 4,180 passengers (double occupancy) and features a slew of innovative spaces first introduced to the cruise industry on sister ship Quantum of the Seas (which sails from China).
Thrills onboard include the RipCord by iFly skydiving simulator, a wind-tunnel tube that lets you hover as if in a free fall on a sky dive. Anthem of the Seas also features a host of other creative spaces and technology, such as the North Star (a capsule that telescopes above the ship for awesome views 300 feet above sea level) and robot bartenders. Also, TwoSeventy is a theater with 270-degree views at the aft of the ship that employs advanced tech integrated with live acts during energetic shows. The ship’s SeaPlex is a flexible adventure space offering roller skating, bumper cars and trapeze school activities.
Of course, you can also find Royal Caribbean staples like the FlowRider surfing simulator, a rock-climbing wall and waterpark.
Anthem is sleek and stylish throughout, with a full slate of specialty restaurants (Jamie’s Italian, Wonderland, Chops Grille and Izumi) alongside four included main dining rooms (The Grande Restaurant, Silk, Chic and American Icon).
The Royal Promenade offers Sorrento’s pizzeria, Brass and Bock pub and a café. The adults-only solarium space at the back of the ship is a favorite, with a large relaxing pool area, great window views, a bar and Solarium Bistro for spa cuisine at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Entertainment is anchored by the “We Will Rock You” production show featuring hit songs from Queen. In short, this a ship that offers plenty to keep almost every cruiser happy.
Symphony of the Seas
As the largest cruise ship in the world (these titles change, but it still reigned as of 2019), the 5,518-passenger Symphony of the Seas represents Royal Caribbean’s fully realized vision of what its massive Oasis Class ships can offer.
Symphony’s neighborhoods divide the ship into wonderful areas of activity and entertainment. Passengers can spend time in Central Park amid the live trees and plants at its restaurants and bars under natural light that streams in from above. There also is Entertainment Place and the Boardwalk areas where you can try ice skating, enjoy shows and throw yourself into the Battle for Planet Z at the laser-tag arena at Studio B.
Take a Video Tour of the World’s Largest Cruise Ship: Symphony of the Seas
The Boardwalk is home for Johnny Rockets and Playmakers Sports Bar and Arcade, as well as a carousel. The ship also features a Royal Promenade with passenger favorites Sorrento’s pizza and the café, as well as 12 specialty dining options, like Izumi, Chops Grille, 150 Central Park and Hooked Seafood.
Top-deck activities include the FlowRider, rock-climbing wall, zipline and Perfect Storm waterslide. The ship also features the “Hairspray” production show and an AquaTheater for high-diving acts. There is ample pool and lounger space on this massive ship, including the impressive Solarium for those 16 and older. This is a wonderful retreat with the attractive art installation dubbed Big Wonder, which is a huge and colorful acrylic sculpture.
A Bit Smaller But Still Plenty of Fun
Royal Caribbean’s program of refurbishing its ships gives some of its older, smaller vessels great new features and updates without sacrificing the feel of the traditional and more simple experience that many cruisers still prefer.
Perhaps you don’t want to sail on a behemoth of a ship, alongside 5,000-plus other passengers. Or you don’t need all the flashy activities and instead can be happy with a few nice options to keep you busy during your sailing. If this is you, then you’re going to want to check out these ships. They have plenty of things to keep you happy but not overwhelmed during your cruise.
Mariner of the Seas
This is one of five cruise ships in Royal Caribbean’s Voyager Class, and Mariner of the Seas carries up to 3,114 passengers. Updates have brought fun new features to the ship, including a Battle for Planet Z laser-tag experience and the Sky Pad bungee trampoline.
Mariner of the Seas also offers the Perfect Storm waterslide, FlowRider surfing simulator, Playmakers Sports Bar and Arcade and The Bamboo Room tiki lounge. You also get Royal Caribbean’s popular specialty restaurants and a bustling Royal Promenade.
Navigator of the Seas
An impressive overhaul in 2019 gave Navigator of the Seas a whole new feel. The colorful reimagined pool deck features a Lime and Coconut bar and Johnny Rockets Express and El Loco Fresh Mexican casual eateries poolside. The Caribbean-style two-deck pool area offers a main pool, splash pools, waterslide park, hot tubs, cabanas, hammocks and clamshells. It’s the highlight of the ship for sun lovers.
The Royal Promenade is home to a Playmakers Sports Bar and Arcade, Bamboo Room Tiki Lounge and Copper and Clover British pub. A Hooked Seafood and Jamie’s Italian are also new additions to the 3,386-passenger ship.
Jewel of the Seas
This smaller ship (2,112 passengers in Royal Caribbean’s Radiance Class) offers a more traditional and classic cruising experience. Jewel of the Seas features a few classic Royal Caribbean specialty restaurants: Izumi, Chops Grille and Giovanni’s Table, as well as a Solarium pool area with a café and pizzeria.
The ship also has a Pit Stop sports bar among its numerous bars and lounges, as well as an indoor cinema showing recent releases. Outdoors, cruisers can enjoy the pool areas, rock climbing wall and sports court.
John Roberts is a freelance writer and operator of InTheLoopTravel.com. He writes about cruising and active travel, highlighting how people can connect with the world and other cultures through rewarding travel experiences.