Founded in 1968, Royal Caribbean has grown from a single ship operation to a global cruise powerhouse. Each of the ship in their fleet undergoes refurbishments every few years, ensuring modern amenities and experiences. However, newer ships often come equipped with the latest technology & entertainment options, up-to-date cabins and attractions, which offer a different experience compared to their older counterparts.
For many travelers, the age of a ship can influence their cruise choice. Whether you want the latest features and amenities of a new vessel or the seasoned charm of an older one, knowing the age of these ships can be helpful. In this guide, we list the Royal Caribbean ships by age, ranking them from the newest to the oldest to help you choose the best ship for you.
Royal Caribbean Ships by Age
Royal Caribbean regularly introduces new vessels (averaging about one per year), and they currently have 26 distinct ships in their fleet. They typically retain their ships for about 25 to 30 years. The table below ranks the Royal Caribbean ships by age. Let’s take a look.
Royal Caribbean Ships by Age Table (scrollable on mobile):
|Name||Class||Maiden Voyage||Passenger Capacity |
|Star of the Seas*||Icon||Due 2025||TBD||TBD|
|Utopia of the Seas*||Oasis||Due 2024||5,668||236,860 tons|
|Icon of the Seas*||Icon||Due Jan 2024||5,610||250,800 tons|
|Wonder of the Seas||Oasis||2022||5,734||236,857 tons|
|Odyssey of the Seas||Quantum Ultra||2021||4,198||169,379 tons|
|Spectrum of the Seas||Quantum Ultra||2019||4,246||169,379 tons|
|Symphony of the Seas||Oasis||2018||5,518||228,081 tons|
|Harmony of the Seas||Oasis||2016||5,479||226,963 tons|
|Ovation of the Seas||Quantum||2016||4,180||168,666 tons|
|Anthem of the Seas||Quantum||2015||4,180||168,666 tons|
|Quantum of the Seas||Quantum||2014||4,180||168,666 tons|
|Allure of the Seas||Oasis||2010||5,400||225,282 tons|
|Oasis of the Seas||Oasis||2009||5,400||225,282 tons|
|Independence of the Seas||Freedom||2008||4,370||154,407 tons|
|Liberty of the Seas||Freedom||2007||4,370||154,407 tons|
|Freedom of the Seas||Freedom||2006||4,370||154,407 tons|
|Jewel of the Seas||Radiance||2004||2,501||90,090 tons|
|Mariner of the Seas||Voyager||2003||4,252||138,279 tons|
|Navigator of the Seas||Voyager||2002||4,252||138,279 tons|
|Brilliance of the Seas||Radiance||2002||2,501||90,090 tons|
|Adventure of the Seas||Voyager||2001||4,252||138,279 tons|
|Radiance of the Seas||Radiance||2001||2,501||90,090 tons|
|Voyager of the Seas||Voyager||1999||4,252||138,279 tons|
|Explorer of the Seas||Voyager||2000||4,252||138,279 tons|
|Vision of the Seas||Vision||1998||2,050||78,491 tons|
|Enchantment of the Seas||Vision||1997||2,446||82,910 tons|
|Rhapsody of the Seas||Vision||1997||2,050||78,491 tons|
|Grandeur of the Seas||Vision||1996||2,446||73,817 tons|
What does Gross Tonnage and Passenger Capacity at Double Occupancy mean?
Gross Tonnage: This term refers to the overall internal volume of a ship, and it’s a measure used to define the size of the ship. It’s not about the weight of the ship but rather its overall internal volume. One ton is equivalent to 100 cubic feet, so a ship with a gross tonnage of 100,000 has an internal volume of 10 million cubic feet.
Passenger Capacity at Double Occupancy: This indicates the number of passengers a ship can accommodate when two people are assigned to each sleeping cabin. It’s a standard measure in the cruise industry because most cabins are designed for two occupants.
However, many ships have cabins that can accommodate more than two people, thanks to pull-down beds, sofa beds, or other arrangements. Therefore, when every cabin is filled to its maximum capacity, the total number of passengers the ship can carry is higher than the double occupancy figure. This is referred to as “maximum occupancy.”
Newest Royal Caribbean Ship
The newest ship from Royal Caribbean is the Icon of the Seas. This ship is set to sail in January 2024, but bookings began in late 2022.
This ship will be the largest cruise ship in the world with a gross tonnage of 250,800 tons. It has the capacity to carry 5,610 passengers at double occupancy or up to 7,600 passengers at maximum occupancy. The ship is notable for its sustainability features, being the first Royal Caribbean ship to be powered by liquefied natural gas and equipped with fuel cell technology.
The ship promises a variety of attractions for its passengers. It will feature eight neighborhoods, five of which are new. Passengers can look forward to a giant waterslide park and a high-tech indoor entertainment space for the line’s popular acrobatic and diving shows.
The Icon of the Seas will sail weekly from the port of Miami. It will offer weeklong Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, starting with its maiden voyage on January 27, 2024. Some of the destinations include St. Kitts, St. Thomas, Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay, St. Maarten, Roatan in Honduras, and Cozumel in Mexico.
Other Upcoming Royal Caribbean Ships:
- Star of the Seas: Part of the Icon class, this ship is due in 2025. Specific details about its passenger capacity and tonnage are yet to be determined.
- Utopia of the Seas: This ship belongs to the Oasis class and is due in 2024. It will have a passenger capacity of 5,668 and a gross tonnage of 236,860 tons.
What’s is the Newest Class of Royal Caribbean Ships?
The Icon Class represents the latest and most advanced fleet addition for Royal Caribbean. Introduced with a vision for a more sustainable and eco-friendly cruising experience, ships in this class are designed to minimize their environmental footprint.
- Eco-Friendly Power: One of the standout features of the Icon Class is its commitment to cleaner energy. These ships are powered by a combination of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and fuel cell technology. This not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions but also ensures a smoother and quieter ride for passengers.
- Innovative Design: The Icon Class ships are designed with modern aesthetics and cutting-edge technology. They feature expansive open spaces, panoramic ocean views, and a range of new entertainment and dining venues that cater to the evolving tastes of today’s travelers.
- Ships in the Icon Class: As of now, the Icon Class includes the “Icon of the Seas” with more ships like “Star of the Seas” set to join the fleet in the coming years. These ships are not only larger but also packed with amenities and experiences that are new to the Royal Caribbean brand.
Oldest Royal Caribbean Ship
The Grandeur of the Seas is the oldest Royal Caribbean ship. Launched in 1996, this vessel is not small by any means, with the capacity to accommodate 1,992 guests at double occupancy, which can extend up to 2,440 passengers at maximum occupancy. Also referred to as “Lady G,” the ship spans 12 decks, 11 of which are accessible to guests, and has a gross tonnage of 73,817.
Grandeur of the Seas
Despite its age, the Grandeur of the Seas has undergone extensive refurbishments over the years, so it does offer modern amenities. Some of the highlights include a rock climbing wall, a kids club with a nursery, and a spa and fitness center. The ship’s design promotes a sense of intimacy, with clustered seating areas around its circular four-deck-high Centrum, making it a favorite for many who prefer a cozier cruise experience. Another advantage of its size is the ability to dock at ports that larger ships can’t access, offering unique itinerary options for travelers.
Retired Royal Caribbean Ships
Here are some of the former Royal Caribbean ships that have been retired or other cruise lines. Let’s take a look:
- Song of Norway (1970-1997): Royal Caribbean’s very first cruise ship, Song of Norway went into service in 1970. After 27 years with Royal Caribbean, it sailed under various names like Sundream, Dream Princess, and Ocean Pearl. The ship was eventually scrapped in 2014 after serving as a gambling ship for several years.
- Nordic Prince (1971-1995): This ship, the second from Royal Caribbean, went into service in 1971. After its tenure with Royal Caribbean, it sailed under names like Carousel and Aquamarine. It was scrapped in 2015.
- Sun Viking (1972-1998): The Sun Viking, one of the three original cruise ships ordered by Royal Caribbean, spent 26 years with the company. It later served as a gambling ship in Hong Kong under the name Oriental Dragon.
- Song of America (1982-1999): This ship was built double the size of Royal Caribbean’s first three ships. After 17 years with Royal Caribbean, it is now operated by Celestyal Cruises as MS Celestyal Olympia.
- Viking Serenade (1990-2002): Acquired by Royal Caribbean in 1990, this former ferry was converted into a cruise ship in 1991. After 12 years, it was transferred to Island Cruises and was eventually scrapped in 2018.
- Sovereign of the Seas (1988-2008): This ship was the first of the Sovereign class cruise ships. After 20 years with Royal Caribbean, it was transferred to Pullmantur Cruises.
- Monarch of the Seas (1991-2013): Another Sovereign class ship, Monarch was notable for being captained by the first woman, Karin Stahre-Janson. It was transferred to Pullmantur Cruises in 2013 and sails as Monarch.
- Splendor of the Seas (1996-2016): A Vision class ship, it spent 20 years with Royal Caribbean. It now sails as Marella Discovery with Marella Cruises.
Difference Between Old and New Royal Caribbean Ships
When considering a cruise with Royal Caribbean, one of the decisions travelers face is whether to sail on one of the line’s newer, state-of-the-art ships or opt for an older, more classic vessel. Each has its own set of advantages, and the choice often comes down to personal preferences. Here, we delve into the primary differences between the old and new ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet.
Size and Capacity
Newer Royal Caribbean ships are significantly larger, allowing them to host more passengers and offer a wider range of amenities. For instance, the latest ships can accommodate over 6,000 passengers, while older vessels from the Vision class typically cater to about 2,000 passengers. This difference in size and capacity means that travelers can expect a more bustling environment on the newer ships, while the older ones offer a more intimate setting.
The latest ships are packed with state-of-the-art attractions such as zip lines, skydiving simulators, and expansive water parks. Inside, they feature a diverse range of lounges, bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues, including Broadway-style shows and indoor ice skating rinks. In contrast, older ships might not have these cutting-edge amenities but provide a cozy atmosphere, appealing to those who appreciate a more traditional cruise experience.
The size of the newest Royal Caribbean ships can limit the ports they visit. In contrast, older and smaller ships can access destinations that might be challenging for larger vessels. This flexibility allows them to offer unique itineraries, reaching less-visited ports and offering a distinct kind of cruising adventure.
Royal Caribbean ensures that its older ships remain competitive by undergoing regular renovations. These updates can include new decor, furniture, and even the introduction of eateries and bars that debuted on the newer vessels.
Focus on Families
The most recent ships are designed with families in mind. They feature cabins tailored for larger families and amenities specifically for young children, such as dedicated outdoor “neighborhoods.”
In summary, the newer ships provide a resort-like experience while the older ships are for those who want a classic and more personal cruise journey. The choice between them often comes down to individual preferences.
The oldest Royal Caribbean ship is Grandeur of the Seas, which was launched in 1996. It’s been sailing for over 27 years. While the newer ships have more modern features, Grandeur of the Seas provides a classic cruise experience.
On Royal Caribbean ships, you’ll find a diverse mix of age groups. While families with children are a common sight, especially during school holidays, the cruise line also attracts a significant number of adults in their 30s to 80s. The specific age range can vary based on the itinerary and time of year, but in general, Royal Caribbean caters to both younger and older passengers
Royal Caribbean’s fleet spans from the newest, Icon of the Seas, set to sail in 2024, to the seasoned Grandeur of the Seas, which has been cruising since 1996. While newer ships bring cutting-edge technology and entertainment, older vessels offer a sense of nostalgia and classic cruising charm. Knowing the age of these ships can guide your choice, helping you find the right fit for your cruising style and preferences.