Royal Caribbean cruise ships from newest to oldest — a complete list

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What’s the newest Royal Caribbean cruise ship? It may seem like a strange question to ask, but it’s something that matters if you’re in the market for a Royal Caribbean cruise.

The newest Royal Caribbean ship is typically also the Royal Caribbean ship with the most bells and whistles and the most up-to-date cabins, restaurants, bars and attractions. It’s what you want if you want the very latest and greatest in a vessel for your Royal Caribbean cruise vacation.

Right now, the newest Royal Caribbean cruise ship is Wonder of the Seas. It debuted in March 2022. Although it’s just about one year old, it’ll soon be supplanted as the newest Royal Caribbean vessel by the much-awaited Icon of the Seas — the first of a new class of vessels for the line. Icon of the Seas begins sailing in January 2024.

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Other relatively new Royal Caribbean ships include Odyssey of the Seas, Spectrum of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas. All began sailing in the last five years.

In all, Royal Caribbean operates 26 cruise vessels. On average, the line comes out without about one new ship a year, and it typically keeps vessels in its fleet for around 20 to 30 years before retiring them from the fleet. The oldest Royal Caribbean ship, Grandeur of the Seas, is 27 years old.

In general, Royal Caribbean’s newest ships are far bigger and much more amenity-packed than its older ships. If you crave a lot of activities in a Royal Caribbean cruise vacation, you’ll want to stick to vessels built in the last 15 or so years.

Related: The 6 types of Royal Caribbean ships, explained

Royal Caribbean’s oldest cruise ships — those built in the 1990s and early 2000s — in many cases are just half to a third the size of the line’s newest vessels and have far fewer venues on board. Still, even these smaller ships offer a lot of attractions as compared to many vessels at competing lines.

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Royal Caribbean is known for bustling, activity-packed ships across its fleet.

Here, every Royal Caribbean ship currently in operation is ranked from newest to oldest:

1. Wonder of the Seas

MICHEL VERDURE STUDIO/ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 2022.
Size: 235,600 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 5,734.

2. Odyssey of the Seas

MICHEL VERDURE/ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 2022.
Size: 167,704 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 4,284.

3. Spectrum of the Seas

GRAHAM UDEN/ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 2019.
Size: 169,379 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 4,246.

4. Symphony of the Seas

ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 2018.
Size: 228,081 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 5,518.

5. Harmony of the Seas

MICHEL VERDURE/ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 2016.
Size: 226,963 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 5,479.

6. Ovation of the Seas

ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 2016.
Size: 168,666 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 4,180.

7. Anthem of the Seas

ROY RILEY/SBW-PHOTO/ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 2015.
Size: 168,666 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 4,180.

8. Quantum of the Seas

MICHEL VERDURE/ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 2014.
Size: 168,666 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 4,180.

9. Allure of the Seas

ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 2010.
Size: 225,282 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 5,484.

10. Oasis of the Seas

MICHEL VERDURE/ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 2009.
Size: 226,838 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 5,602.

11. Independence of the Seas

SIMON BROOKE-WEBB/SBW-PHOTOROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 2008.
Size: 154,407 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 3,634.

12. Liberty of the Seas

ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 2007.
Size: 154,407 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 3,798.

13. Freedom of the Seas

MICHEL VERDURE/ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 2006.
Size: 156,271 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 3,926.

14. Jewel of the Seas

ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 2004.
Size: 90,090 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 2,191.

15. Mariner of the Seas

MICHEL VERDURE/ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 2003.
Size: 139,863 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 4,000.

16. Serenade of the Seas

DAN LAMONT/ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 2003.
Size: 90,090 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 2,143.

17. Navigator of the Seas

ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 2002.
Size: 139,999 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 3,388.

18. Brilliance of the Seas

ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 2002.
Size: 90,090 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 2,142.

19. Adventure of the Seas

ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 2001.
Size: 137,276 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 3,114.

20. Radiance of the Seas

ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 2001.
Size: 90,090 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 2,143.

21. Explorer of the Seas

ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 2000.
Size: 137,308 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 3,286.

22. Voyager of the Seas

ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 1999.
Size: 137,276 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 3,602.

23. Vision of the Seas

OLIVER LEREN/ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 1998.
Size: 78,340 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 2,050 passengers.

24. Enchantment of the Seas

MICHEL VERDURE/ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 1997.
Size: 82,910 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 2,252.

25. Rhapsody of the Seas

ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 1997.
Size: 78,419 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 1,998.

26. Grandeur of the Seas

JUAN MANUEL GARCIA/ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Maiden voyage: 1996.
Size: 73,817 gross tons.
Passenger capacity: 1,992.

What is the newest Royal Caribbean ship?

The newest Royal Caribbean cruise ship is Wonder of the Seas. As noted above, it debuted in March 2022. Measuring 235,600 gross tons, it’s the biggest cruise ship ever built. It’s also loaded with more restaurants, bars, showrooms and deck-top attractions than you’ll find on any other ship at sea.

TPG sent a three-person team, at our own expense, to review Wonder of the Seas and all its new features after it began sailing. For more on the ship, see the following guides and reviews from these staffers:

What is the oldest Royal Caribbean ship?

The oldest Royal Caribbean cruise ship is Grandeur of the Seas. Unveiled way back in 1996, it’s not just the oldest Royal Caribbean ship but the smallest Royal Caribbean ship — far smaller than the newest Royal Caribbean vessels. Measuring just 73,817 gross tons, it’s just a third the size of Wonder of the Seas and has far fewer venues.

Except for a rock climbing wall, Grandeur of the Seas has none of the gee-whiz deck-top attractions found on bigger Royal Caribbean vessels, such as skydiving simulators and giant water parks. For the most part, its top deck is lined with pools, whirlpools and sunning areas, as is typical for ships built in the 1990s.

That said, Grandeur of the Seas has a loyal following among Royal Caribbean fans who prefer smaller and more intimate ships.

What new Royal Caribbean ships are coming?

Royal Caribbean currently has four new cruise ships on order. The first to arrive will be Icon of the Seas in January 2024. As noted above, it’s the first of all-new class of vessel for the line that, as of now, will be made up of three ships (Royal Caribbean could order more Icon-class ships in coming years — we’ll see). Two more ships in the series are due in 2025 and 2026, respectively.

The Icon-class vessels are being built at the giant Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland.

Related: The ultimate guide to Icon of the Seas itineraries, attractions and more

In addition, Royal Caribbean has a sister vessel to Wonder of the Seas on order for delivery in 2024. To be called Utopia of the Seas, it’s the sixth and final vessel in the line’s groundbreaking Oasis-class series that began rolling out in 2009. It’s currently under construction at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in St. Nazaire, France.

What is the newest Royal Caribbean ship available for booking?

Icon of the Seas is the newest Royal Caribbean ship that you can book right now. While the ship isn’t yet sailing, its initial sailings scheduled for January 2024 already are on sale, as are future sailings through April 2025. The three other Royal Caribbean ships on order have yet to open for bookings.

What is the newest class of Royal Caribbean ships?

The Icon class is the newest class of Royal Caribbean ships. It’ll be made up of at least three vessels, the first of which (Icon of the Seas) is due to debut in January 2024.

At 250,600 tons, Icon of the Seas will be more than 6% bigger than the biggest Royal Caribbean ships currently at sea. It’ll hold up to 7,600 passengers — a new record for a passenger ship. That’s about 7% higher than the maximum capacity of Wonder of the Seas, which can hold up to 7,084 passengers.

The bigger passenger capacity is in part due to the ship’s greater focus on family travelers. Icon of the Seas is being built with a lot more cabins that have plenty of extra bunks to accommodate families with many children. It’ll also have more amenities geared to families, including a new-for-the-line outdoor “neighborhood” called Surfside dedicated to families with young children.

What’s the difference between newer and older Royal Caribbean ships?

Newer Royal Caribbean ships generally are bigger than older Royal Caribbean ships — sometimes much bigger. As a result, they have room for a lot more onboard venues and attractions than the line’s older vessels.

On Royal Caribbean’s newest and biggest Oasis-class vessels, for instance, you’ll find three separate main pool areas, a kiddie splash zone, surfing simulators, a miniature golf course, a basketball court and even a zip line. And that’s just on their top decks. Inside the vessels, you’ll find more lounges, bars, restaurants and shops than you can imagine — plus huge casinos, spas and showrooms with Broadway-style shows. They even have indoor ice skating rinks.

In short, they’re like giant floating versions of the megaresorts you find in the Orlando area or Las Vegas, and they appeal to people who like a megaresort experience.

Related: The ultimate guide to Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean’s older ships are a half to a third smaller and lack many of the above features. They have a much more intimate feel, at least in the pantheon of relatively big, mass-market ships, and they hold far fewer people. While Oasis-class ships can hold more than 6,600 passengers with every berth full, the line’s four oldest vessels (known as the Vision class) are only designed to carry about 2,000 passengers at double occupancy.

That makes them a good choice for someone who wants to try Royal Caribbean but isn’t eager to travel with huge crowds. The oldest ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet thus appeal to a subset of Royal Caribbean fans who prefer more intimacy in a cruise vessel and don’t mind giving up some onboard amenities to get it. They are also often less expensive to sail on, on a per-day basis.

Related: Don’t miss out on these Royal Caribbean loyalty perks

In addition, because of their size, the oldest ships at Royal Caribbean are able to operate itineraries to places that aren’t as easy for big ships to visit. Not all ports in the world can handle a ship the size of Wonder of the Seas.

Note that all Royal Caribbean ships are renovated and upgraded on a regular schedule every few years, so even the oldest Royal Caribbean cruise vessels have newer carpeting, updated furniture, modern decor in cabins and other updates. In many cases, they also have had entire eateries and bars renovated over the years with concepts that first debuted on newer vessels.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

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