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A Guide To Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships By Age You’ll Really Want

Royal Caribbean has been sailing cruise ships for more than 50 years, and it has grown an extensive fleet of dozens of ships. While Royal Caribbean is most often in the news because of whatever happens to be its latest entrance into the cruise market, it still has ships sailing that date back to 1990s. All of these ships have their own special features and personalities.

To help you evaluate which ship might be right for your next cruise, we walk through each of the cruise line’s current vessels by age – from newest to oldest. (Scroll down for a quick review chart.)

Royal Caribbean ships by age | photo of Symphony and Mariner docked side-by-side.
Symphony of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas docked at CocoCay in the Bahamas.

Royal Caribbean Fleet Evolves Over Time

In the beginning, Royal Caribbean ships were relatively small and simple, with basic amenities like a swimming pool, a few bars and lounges, and a small casino. However, as the cruise industry grew in popularity and competition increased, Royal Caribbean began to innovate and expand its offerings to attract more passengers.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Royal Caribbean introduced a number of groundbreaking amenities that are now standard on most modern cruise ships. These included features like rock climbing walls, ice skating rinks, and multiple dining options, as well as larger and more luxurious cabins and suites.

In the 2000s and 2010s, Royal Caribbean continued to push the envelope with even more innovative amenities and experiences. These included features like surfing simulators, zip lines, robotic bartenders, and virtual balconies, as well as partnerships with popular brands like DreamWorks Animation (now discontinued) and Starbucks.

Today, Royal Caribbean ships offer an incredible range of amenities and activities for passengers of all ages and interests. From water parks and Broadway-style shows to fine dining and spa treatments, there’s something for everyone onboard. And with new ships like Icon of the Seas and Utopia of the Seas set to debut soon, it’s clear that Royal Caribbean continues to strive to stay at the forefront of the cruise industry and provide passengers with the latest and greatest in onboard experiences.

Does Ship Age Matter?

For some travelers, the main things they focus on when choosing a cruise are the price and the itinerary. But many other factors can shape the contours of your cruise vacation, and for many people, that includes the age of the ship. Why do some travelers care about age?

Families planning a family cruise may be interested in information about the age of individual Royal Caribbean ships for several reasons:

Amenities: Older ships may not have the same amenities and features as newer vessels. Families who are looking for the latest and greatest in onboard entertainment, dining, and activities may prefer to book a newer ship.

Condition: The age of the ship can also affect its overall condition and appearance. Some families may prefer to sail on a newer ship that looks and feels more modern and up-to-date.

Safety: Parents may be concerned about the safety and reliability of older ships, especially if they are traveling with young children. Knowing the age of the ship can help parents make an informed decision about whether they feel comfortable booking a particular vessel.

Technology: Newer ships may have the latest technology and features, such as high-speed internet, interactive touchscreens, and virtual reality experiences. Families who are tech-savvy or who want to stay connected while onboard may prefer to book a newer ship.

Accessibility: Older ships may not be as accessible as newer vessels, especially for passengers with mobility issues or disabilities. Newer ships are often designed with accessibility in mind, with features like wider doorways, wheelchair ramps, and accessible cabins.

Environmental Impact: Newer ships are often designed to be more environmentally friendly than older vessels, with features like advanced wastewater treatment systems, energy-efficient lighting, and reduced emissions. Families who are concerned about the environmental impact of their vacation may prefer to book a newer ship.

A Ship’s Age Strongly Impacts Price

If you are trying to maximize your cruise travel budget, one of the easiest ways to do it is by sailing on an older ship.

No matter how you value age (or don’t), one thing remains true. Sailings on the newest ships tend to be more expensive than on older ships. Here’s an example for a recent search for March 2024 cruises sailing out of Miami.

The search yielded options for three ships: Icon of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, and Grandeur of the Seas. This is how the cruises line up on price based on the advertised starting prices.

Ship (Year Launched)Starting Price Per Person
Icon of the Seas (2024)$2,554/person
Oasis of the Seas (2009)$945/person
Grandeur of the Seas (1996)$576/person
Prices of Royal Caribbean ships by age. Data from Royal Caribbean website on September 14, 2023)

Sailings on the newest ship are priced more than four times those on the fleet’s oldest ship.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships By Age

We have put together this handy guide to walk you through all of the ships currently in Royal Caribbean’s fleet by age. We have short narrative blurbs for each ship below. But for those in a hurry, we have also compiled the chart below as a cheat sheet.

A simplified chart of Royal Caribbean cruise ships by age.

Utopia of the Seas

Coming 2024

Debuting in the summer of 2024, Utopia will be Royal Caribbean’s newest new ship. Joining its five sisters in the Oasis class, Utopia will be the first LNG-powered ship in that class. 

Fans of the Oasis class ships should be delighted by some expected new additions that include new Solarium Suites, a new Poolside Food Truck (complimentary), and a new addition to the large roster of bars and lounges – the Pesky Parrot.

The other noteworthy feature of this new ship will be its itineraries. From the time that it launches, it will be sailing short 3 and 4-night itineraries that include a stop at CocoCay. This will be a great opportunity for new cruisers who are hesitant to commit to a full 7-night sailing. Or, for those schedules can only squeeze vacations into a long weekend.

Icon of the Seas during June 2023 sea trials. (Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean)

Icon Of The Seas – Icon Class

Year: 2024

You have likely seen the ads or media stories about Icon. When launched in January 2024, it will literally be first in its class — the new Icon class.

Icon weighs a whopping 250,000 tons and will be fueled by Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) in an effort to make the cruise industry greener by releasing fewer greenhouse gasses by 20%.

The first cruise will start in January 2024, and the vessel will feature the largest cruise pool in the world, six water slides that break records, and a child-friendly waterpark.

Wonder Of The Seas – Oasis Class

Year: 2022

Royal Caribbean expanded its Oasis class with Wonder of the Seas in 2022. At present, it is the largest cruise ship in the world by size. New features that were introduced with Wonder include the addition of an 8th all-suites neighborhood and a new restaurant with a southern theme. It also has all of the other amenities that its sister ships have, including The Abyss and The Perfect Storm.

Odyssey of the Seas at sea in September 2022.

Odyssey Of The Seas – Quantum Ultra Class

Year: 2021

Odyssey of the Seas is one of two in this class and was released in 2021 with a 5510-passenger capacity with 1633 crew members.

When Odyssey launched in the shadow of the pandemic, it faced many challenges–as we reported. But even with the strict COVID-era restrictions in place, the ship’s facilities and amenities provided a wonderful vacation.

Some notable features include the Caribbean-themed pool deck, a redesigned Seaplex area that supports multiple types of sports and related activities. This ship also debuted the Playmaker’s sports bar/restaurant (a real fan favorite!)

As with the ships in the Quantum Class, the ship hosts bumper cars, laser tag, the 360-degree North Star, and more.


Spectrum Of The Seas – Quantum Ultra Class

Year: 2019

The age of Royal Caribbean ships expands with this 2019 release and has a slightly larger 5622-passenger count than its sister ship. The food is inspired by Asian cuisine, as its tours focus on Asian countries.

You can stay in the ultimate family suite, which has multilevel-room luxury with personal karaoke and 3D cinema.

Spectrum’s bionic-made cocktails and the renowned North Star 360-degree viewing lounge will ignite your entertainment dreams.

The NorthStar observation tower on Spectrum of the Seas as it is Shanghai, China, in June 2019.

Symphony Of The Seas – Oasis Class

Year: 2018

This 10-story ship set sail in 2018 and can host over 6600 passengers. If you’d love surf simulators, laser tag, and arcades to entertain you on your cruise, Symphony of the Seas has it all.

This cruise ship explores the Mediterranean as well as the Caribbean; onboard, you can explore various foods, from seafood to Italian dishes.

Harmony Of The Seas – Oasis Class

Year: 2016

Harmony of the Seas was built in 2016 and is slightly smaller than its sister Symphony with a 6400-passenger capacity.

Harmony of the Seas is one of the most exciting cruise ships aimed at keeping the whole family entertained. It has an AquaTheater, Broadway performances, and a Bionic Bar for robot-made cocktails.

Ovation Of The Seas – Quantum Class

Year: 2016

Royal Caribbean’s second 2016 ship was Ovation of the Seas, the last of the Quantum class before Quantum Ultra. It weighs 168 666 gross tons and can host 4180 passengers.

Quantum class ships offer transpacific cruises where you can simulate skydiving, go roller skating, and even take circus lessons aboard. Like all Royal Caribbean ships, you’ll find delectable foods at top-of-the-range restaurants.

Anthem Of The Seas – Quantum Class

Year: 2015 

Anthem and Ovation of the Seas are very similar ships with slight differences in cuisine, casinos, and art. Anthem of the Seas was made in 2015 and won the Best New Ship title in 2016.

If you’re looking for cruise luxury at a lesser cost than the new ships, Anthem of the Seas is a noteworthy option. Entertainment includes bumper cars, iFly, North Star, roller skating, and more.

Quantum Of The Seas – Quantum Class

Year: 2014

Quantum of the Seas is the first of the Quantum Class and was built in 2014. You’d think 2014 was long ago, but the tech and design are still well-defined and up-to-date.

It also has the signature North Star gondola, skydiving simulators, laser tag, bumper cars, and circus school.

The signature climbing walls are found on all Oasis-class ships.

Allure Of The Seas – Oasis Class

Year: 2010

This Royal Caribbean ship has all the charm and still impresses the masses to this day since its release in 2010. And by masses, we mean it can host 6780 passengers, including crew, and weighs 225 282 gross tons.

Allure was due for a $165 million upgrade but was suspended due to the pandemic, but it will be soon. In the meantime, it is the only Oasis with a human-operated cocktail bar.

Oasis Of The Seas – Oasis Class

Year: 2009, upgrade in 2019.

Oasis of the Seas is the original start of the most innovative class of ships. Royal Caribbean pulled out all the stops when it was released in 2009, and it still remains one of the largest cruise ships in the world.

Oasis was upgraded in 2019 with a $165-million price tag, including the first Royal Caribbean barbeque restaurant and multiple entertainment updates.

All Oasis-class ships feature zip-lining.

Independence Of The Seas – Freedom Class

Year: 2008, upgrade in 2018.

Independence of the Seas was released in 2008 and was the first refurbished ship in the Royal Amplified program, which happened in 2018.

Although Independence was the first ship to feature the thrilling SkyPad, that attraction was pulled from all Royal Caribbean ships earlier this year. Nevertheless, the ship still features laser tag, an escape room, an updated water park, new lounges, and restaurants.

Liberty Of The Seas – Freedom Class

Year: 2007, updated in 2016.

Liberty of the Seas set sail in 2007 and is only slightly larger than its predecessor, Freedom of the Seas, with a 4960 passenger count, including crew.

Liberty stops off at multiple exotic tropical locations, and aboard the food are ultra gourmet foods from around the world. The ship was refurbished in 2016 with various updates to the waterpark, décor, and restaurants. 

Freedom Of The Seas – Freedom Class

Year: 2006, upgraded in 2021.

Freedom of the Seas was the first Freedom Class ship, and it stunned the world when it debuted in 2006, as it was their first ship to reach the 4500-passenger mark.

This old classic cruise ship had its $116 million upgrade installed in 2021. The ship now boasts new décor, entertainment amenities like the all-new pool deck, and new restaurants.

Jewel Of The Seas – Radiance Class

Year: 2004, upgraded in 2015.

Jewel of the Seas was the last Radiance Class cruise ship, which was released in 2004. It is small in comparison to all the other ships made after it, with space for 2702 people, and weighs 90,090 gross tons.

You can enjoy multiple stops at various Caribbean islands, and in 2015, it received a complete facelift with new rooms, restaurants, tech, and entertainment.

Mariner of the Seas – Voyager Class

Year: 2003, updated in 2023.

Mariner of the Seas came to be in 2003 and hosts 4000 passengers with the crew. It is also the last of the Voyager class and only received its $120-million upgrade in 2023.

Mariner now offers voyagers the same SkyPad, laser tag, surf simulation, and waterpark goodies as the newer ships. The interior has also been modernized, with new restaurants to pair.

Serenade Of The Seas – Radiance Class

Year: 2003, upgrades in 2012, 2017, and 2022.

Serenade is a beauty and offers both luxury and quaintness thanks to its humble size of a 2-476-people limit. Her debut was also in 2003.

Serenade of the Seas has been worked on multiple times to keep her updated. The upgrades were in 2012 and 2017; another minor refresh was done in 2022.

Serenade of the Seas

Navigator Of The Seas – Voyager Class

Year: 2002, updated in 2019.

This final Voyager Class ship has been around since 2002 and was the second 4000-passenger cruise ship on the Royal Caribbean scene.

Navigator of the Seas had a bow-to-stern update in 2019 with new water slides, pools, decks, restaurants, and more for a $ 115 million price tag.

Brilliance Of The Seas – Radiance Class

Year: 2002, refurbished in 2018.

Brilliance of the Seas started sailing in 2002 alongside Navigator of the Seas. Brilliance is a smaller ship than its newer counterparts and travels to destinations in Australia, Alaska, and the Caribbean with easy stop-offs.

This gorgeously scenic ship offers world-class bars and restaurants. Brilliance was upgraded in 2018 with Oasis-level amenities.

Adventure Of The Seas – Voyager Class

Year: 2001, upgraded in 2018.

Adventure of the Seas has been sailing since 2001, and its current voyage happens around the Caribbean, hosting 3807 passengers, including crew.

In 2018, the ship was refurbished and modernized with the regular comforts and entertainments Royal Caribbean offers, like restaurants, decks, rock climbing, and ice skating.

Radiance Of The Seas – Radiance Class

Year: 2001, updated in 2016.

Radiance of the Seas was the first of the class and hosts 2466 people on its Caribbean itinerary. Since its debut in 2001, Radiance has been refurbished in 2016 and 2021.

You can enjoy one of the longest water slides at sea, along with fine dining and Royal Caribbean favorites like rock climbing and mini-golf. Radiance doesn’t feature many of the new-age luxuries like the other vessels, but it is modernized enough to have a superb voyage.

Explorer of the Seas docked in Picton, New Zealand.

Explorer Of The Seas – Voyager Class

Year: 2000, updated in 2015.

Explorer of the Seas carries 3 286 passengers on its Greek Isle itinerary. The ship was established in 2000 and refurbished in 2015 to offer rock-climbing, next-level waterslides, delectable restaurants, and modern interiors.

Voyager Of The Seas – Voyager Class

Year: 1999, refurbished in 2019.

Voyager of the Seas set sail in 1999 and was the first massive ship that Royal Caribbean released with a 4000-passenger count.

The ship weighs 137 276 gross tons, and after its $97 million renovation in 2019, it has laser tag, an impressive water park, modernized cabins, and new spaces for children and teens for the whole family to have fun.

Grandeur of the Seas (the first ship in the Vision Class) docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Vision Of The Seas – Vision Class

Year: 1998, updated in 2017.

Vision of the Seas tours Bermuda and the Bahamas and has been a much-loved cruise ship since 1998. This luxury ship was fully refurbished in 2017, and it offers guests plenty of amusements from fine dining, a casino, and an adults-only Solarium.

Vision of the Seas doesn’t feature as many kid-friendly delights as newer vessels, but it is still an entertainment dream for adultier folk.

Enchantment Of The Seas – Vision Class

Year: 1997, refurbished in 2005 and 2012.

Enchantment of the Seas is a small cruise ship that was established in 1997. It carries 1998 passengers, and post-upgrade, it offers the same level of entertainment as Vision of the Seas.

The ship doesn’t feature a waterpark. It’s had many updates, but the main ones were In 2005 and 2012

Rhapsody Of The Seas – Vision Class

Year: 1997, refurbished in 2012.

Rhapsody of the Seas came to be in 1997 and still sails today, touring Cyprus and the Greek Isles. While it is a smaller ship and lacks a waterpark, it makes up for this in classic entertainment like Broadway shows, lounge-worthy decks, and multiple dining and bar options.

Rhapsody was recently updated in 2022, so you don’t need to worry about 1997-level décor!

Grandeur Of The Seas – Vision Class

Year: 1996, updated in 2012.

Grandeur of the Seas is officially the oldest ship you can cruise on from the Royal Caribbean fleet.

This ship has been charming passengers since 1996. It has an arcade, rock-climbing, a deck-exclusive DJ, a formal theater, and plenty of dining options. Grandeur of the Seas received upgrades in 2012.

Closing Thoughts

Knowing the age of individual Royal Caribbean ships can help you make an informed decision about which vessel is right for your family’s needs. Also, for the budget conscious, it can help guide your research.

Tyler Bowman


Tyler has sailed dozens of cruises, always with a keen eye for value. She loves getting the most fun out of the fewest dollars.

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