What exactly do the eight different classes of Royal Caribbean cruise ships have to offer?

If you’re wondering what the differences are between Royal Caribbean ship classes, here is an easy-to-understand run down of each class of ship and what travellers they’re best suited to.

Royal Caribbean International has a ship to suit every taste

Sovereign class

royal-caribbean-ship-classes-majesty-of-the-seas
Majesty of the Seas

The one Sovereign class vessel, taking 2,744, is geared towards the family, offering a huge range of activities for grandparents and grandchildren alike. There are Vegas-style casinos for the grown-ups and free adventure ocean activities for the youngsters.

Why choose Sovereign class: Both family fun and rest and relaxation
Best for: all the family

Vision class

Grandeur of the Seas from Royal Caribbean on a cruise
Grandeur of the Seas


Designed to fit into almost any port, the four Vision class ships, taking 2,446 each, can travel to ports of call across the world. Despite their smaller size, Vision vessels are popular for their swimming pools, solariums, rock climbing walls, themed dining rooms, Broadway-style shows and lounges. Whether you’re looking for activities galore or to simply relax, this class is a good option for you.

Why choose Vision class: amazing itineraries that other ships in the fleet can’t offer
Best for: couples and families

Radiance Class

Radiance of the Seas from Royal Caribbean on a cruise in Sydney, Australia
Radiance of the Seas

It’s all about the views on the four Radiance class ships, taking 2,501 each. Wide-open spaces, glass walls, balconies and lifts to viewing areas offer panoramic views of land and sea. You can stand just about anywhere and see something amazing. As well as being able to get into many of the smaller cruise ports around the world, the Radiance fleet also offers varied dining experiences, spectacular entertainment and luxurious spa treatments.

Why choose Radiance class: a classic cruise experience on a beautiful ship
Best for: couples and cruise veterans

Voyager Class

Pool deck on board Explorer of the Seas while on a cruise
Explorer of the Seas

The Voyager class features climbing walls and miniature golf, along with English-style pubs and boulevards, including the Royal Promenade, bustling with shops and restaurants. These five ships, which take 3,114 passengers each, were the first to feature an ice rink offering lessons and ice shows, and Royal Caribbean continues to add new offerings, from restaurants and entertainment to surf simulators and aqua parks.

Why choose Voyager class: For lots to do and good value for money
Best for: Families looking to save

Freedom Class

Independence of the Seas from Royal Caribbean underway on a cruise
Independence of the Seas

Taking 3,634 passengers each, the three Freedom class vessels were once the largest cruise ships in the world (until the Oasis class was introduced) and offer a big ship experience. With highlights including an aqua park, water slides, rock climbing wall, ice-skating rink, designer shopping, FlowRider surf simulator, sports court and solarium pool, the class is great for those who want to have an active time on board.

Why choose Freedom class: For a big ship experience without the premium price tag
Best for: Families wanting to cruise on a large ship but not break their budget

Oasis Class

Three sister ships from Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class
Three sister ships from the Oasis Class

As the largest cruise ships in the world, the Oasis class is packed with innovative features and facilities. Accommodating around 5,500 passengers each, the vessels are all designed around seven neighbourhood concepts. Standout features include Central Park – the only living park on the seas – Royal Promenade and Boardwalk, home to arcades, amusements and the Aquatheatre. There is also a zip line, waterslides, a Vitality Spa and loft suites.

Why choose Oasis class: For everything all on one ship
Best for: Families looking to keep active

Empress class

Empress of the Seas from Royal Caribbean at anchor on a cruise
Empress of the Seas

There’s only one ship in the Empress Class and it’s designed for short cruises. And although it’s the smallest Royal Caribbean ship – handling 1,840 guests – there’s no shortage of activities and entertainment on board. Highlights include several pools, a casino and Sunday brunch every day. Plus, Cuban culture is reflected throughout the entertainment and dining offerings, in celebration of the ship’s main cruising grounds.

Why choose Empress Class: For mini-breaks to Cuba
Best for: couples looking for a relaxed atmosphere

  • Empress of the Seas

Icon class
Royal Caribbean will be adding to its fleet in 2022 and 2024 with two new Icon class ships. The cruise line has kept quiet on what exactly the Icon class will offer. But we do know the vessels will be able to accommodate about 5,000 passengers and will be built using new fuel technology, including liquid nitrogen gas and fuel cells.  

Read our guide to Royal Caribbean cruises.