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Royal Caribbean Cruise Highlights


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Private Islands: Labadee and CocoCay

Onboard fun includes FlowRider surf simulators and rock climbing walls

25 ships that sail to countries on six continents

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14 Night
Caribbean Transatlantic Cruise

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
Labadee, San Juan ... see more
Ship:
Independence of the Seas
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Itinerary

Cruise Itinerary

  • Day 1
    Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
  • Day 2
    Cruising
  • Day 3
    Labadee
  • Day 4
    San Juan
  • Day 5
    St. Thomas
  • Day 6
    St. Maarten
  • Day 7
    Cruising
  • Day 8
    Cruising
  • Day 9
    Cruising
  • Day 10
    Cruising
  • Day 11
    Cruising
  • Day 12
    Cruising
  • Day 13
    Cruising
  • Day 14
    Cruising
  • Day 15
    Southampton
Ship Details

Independence of the Seas - Royal Caribbean International

Pros

Outstanding entertainment including "Grease," the musical; vast number of daytime activities

Cons

Food quality varies considerably; upcharging for certain activities can be wearing

Bottom Line

2018 refurb has reaffirmed the ship as one of the best family-friendly cruise ships afloat

Reviews

Independence of the Seas Reviews

Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
Overall
4.5/5
Cabins4.0
Dining3.0
Service4.0
Value4.0

Independence of the Seas is the third and final of Royal Caribbean's ground-breaking Freedom-cl...

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What’s included in My Cruise Fare?

  • Cabin
    Room with bed and private bathroom
  • Port Taxes & Fees
  • Service Gratuities
  • Most Onboard Entertainment
  • Kids Club
  • Shore Excursions
  • Wi-Fi
  • Spa Services
  • Select Dining
    Main dining room and/or buffet
  • Specialty Alternative Dining
  • Room Service
  • Butler Service
  • Basic Drinks
    Still water, cofee, and tea
  • Soft Drinks
    Soda and Juice
  • Alcohol
    Beer, wine, and spirits
  • Specialty Coffee Drinks
    Including smoothies and blended drinks
  • Specialty Fitness Classes

** inclusions in your cruise fare are based on Cruise Critic’s editorial expertise and not provided by the individual cruise lines. When you book with one of our cruise partners, please be sure to check their site for a full disclosure of all applicable fees. Cruise Critic does not guarantee any specific rates, prices, or amenities included in the fare. Inclusion items in the fare may change at any time and fees may apply for additional items.

14 Night
Italian Mediterranean Cruise

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Gibraltar, Villefranche ... see more
Ship:
Independence of the Seas
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Itinerary

Cruise Itinerary

  • Day 1
    Southampton
  • Day 2
    Cruising
  • Day 3
    Cruising
  • Day 4
    Gibraltar
  • Day 5
    Cruising
  • Day 6
    Villefranche
  • Day 7
    La Spezia (Cinque Terre)
  • Day 8
    Rome (Civitavecchia)
  • Day 9
    Naples
  • Day 10
    Sardinia
  • Day 11
    Cruising
  • Day 12
    Seville
  • Day 13
    Cruising
  • Day 14
    Cruising
  • Day 15
    Southampton
Ship Details

Independence of the Seas - Royal Caribbean International

Pros

Outstanding entertainment including "Grease," the musical; vast number of daytime activities

Cons

Food quality varies considerably; upcharging for certain activities can be wearing

Bottom Line

2018 refurb has reaffirmed the ship as one of the best family-friendly cruise ships afloat

Reviews

Independence of the Seas Reviews

Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
Overall
4.5/5
Cabins4.0
Dining3.0
Service4.0
Value4.0

Independence of the Seas is the third and final of Royal Caribbean's ground-breaking Freedom-cl...

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Fare Includes

What’s included in My Cruise Fare?

  • Cabin
    Room with bed and private bathroom
  • Port Taxes & Fees
  • Service Gratuities
  • Most Onboard Entertainment
  • Kids Club
  • Shore Excursions
  • Wi-Fi
  • Spa Services
  • Select Dining
    Main dining room and/or buffet
  • Specialty Alternative Dining
  • Room Service
  • Butler Service
  • Basic Drinks
    Still water, cofee, and tea
  • Soft Drinks
    Soda and Juice
  • Alcohol
    Beer, wine, and spirits
  • Specialty Coffee Drinks
    Including smoothies and blended drinks
  • Specialty Fitness Classes

** inclusions in your cruise fare are based on Cruise Critic’s editorial expertise and not provided by the individual cruise lines. When you book with one of our cruise partners, please be sure to check their site for a full disclosure of all applicable fees. Cruise Critic does not guarantee any specific rates, prices, or amenities included in the fare. Inclusion items in the fare may change at any time and fees may apply for additional items.

7 Night
Western Mediterranean Cruise

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Palma de Mallorca, Marseille ... see more
Ship:
Oasis of the Seas
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Itinerary

Cruise Itinerary

  • Day 1
    Barcelona
  • Day 2
    Palma de Mallorca
  • Day 3
    Marseille
  • Day 4
    La Spezia (Cinque Terre)
  • Day 5
    Rome (Civitavecchia)
  • Day 6
    Naples
  • Day 7
    Cruising
  • Day 8
    Barcelona
Ship Details

Oasis of the Seas - Royal Caribbean International

Pros

Packed with activities, restaurants and bars, Oasis is manageable despite its size.

Cons

Mall-like interior means it's hard to see the ocean; expect lines at popular venues.

Bottom Line

Innovative and energetic, Oasis appeals most to active cruisers and families.

Reviews

Oasis of the Seas Reviews

Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
Overall
4.5/5
Cabins4.0
Dining4.0
Service4.0
Value3.0

One of the largest ships in the world -- the one that kicked off the equation of bigger equals ...

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Fare Includes

What’s included in My Cruise Fare?

  • Cabin
    Room with bed and private bathroom
  • Port Taxes & Fees
  • Service Gratuities
  • Most Onboard Entertainment
  • Kids Club
  • Shore Excursions
  • Wi-Fi
  • Spa Services
  • Select Dining
    Main dining room and/or buffet
  • Specialty Alternative Dining
  • Room Service
  • Butler Service
  • Basic Drinks
    Still water, cofee, and tea
  • Soft Drinks
    Soda and Juice
  • Alcohol
    Beer, wine, and spirits
  • Specialty Coffee Drinks
    Including smoothies and blended drinks
  • Specialty Fitness Classes

** inclusions in your cruise fare are based on Cruise Critic’s editorial expertise and not provided by the individual cruise lines. When you book with one of our cruise partners, please be sure to check their site for a full disclosure of all applicable fees. Cruise Critic does not guarantee any specific rates, prices, or amenities included in the fare. Inclusion items in the fare may change at any time and fees may apply for additional items.

7 Night
Greece & Croatia Cruise

Leaving:
Venice
Visiting:
Dubrovnik, Kotor ... see more
Ship:
Rhapsody of the Seas
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Itinerary

Cruise Itinerary

  • Day 1
    Venice
  • Day 2
    Dubrovnik
  • Day 3
    Kotor
  • Day 4
    Cruising
  • Day 5
    Santorini
  • Day 6
    Katakolon (Olympia)
  • Day 7
    Cruising
  • Day 8
    Venice
Ship Details

Rhapsody of the Seas - Royal Caribbean International

Pros

Personalized service and consistent quality in the main dining room and buffet

Cons

Entertainment options could be improved; shows amused but rarely wowed

Bottom Line

Comfortable, intimate midsize ship offers a solid choice of amenities

Reviews

Rhapsody of the Seas Reviews

Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
Overall
3.5/5
Cabins3.5
Dining4.0
Service4.0
Value4.0

When people think of Royal Caribbean, they often imagine mega-vessels with an interminable rost...

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Fare Includes

What’s included in My Cruise Fare?

  • Cabin
    Room with bed and private bathroom
  • Port Taxes & Fees
  • Service Gratuities
  • Most Onboard Entertainment
  • Kids Club
  • Shore Excursions
  • Wi-Fi
  • Spa Services
  • Select Dining
    Main dining room and/or buffet
  • Specialty Alternative Dining
  • Room Service
  • Butler Service
  • Basic Drinks
    Still water, cofee, and tea
  • Soft Drinks
    Soda and Juice
  • Alcohol
    Beer, wine, and spirits
  • Specialty Coffee Drinks
    Including smoothies and blended drinks
  • Specialty Fitness Classes

** inclusions in your cruise fare are based on Cruise Critic’s editorial expertise and not provided by the individual cruise lines. When you book with one of our cruise partners, please be sure to check their site for a full disclosure of all applicable fees. Cruise Critic does not guarantee any specific rates, prices, or amenities included in the fare. Inclusion items in the fare may change at any time and fees may apply for additional items.

7 Night
Southern Caribbean Cruise

Leaving:
San Juan
Visiting:
St. Maarten, St. Kitts ... see more
Ship:
Freedom of the Seas
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Itinerary

Cruise Itinerary

  • Day 1
    San Juan
  • Day 2
    St. Maarten
  • Day 3
    St. Kitts
  • Day 4
    Antigua
  • Day 5
    St. Lucia
  • Day 6
    Barbados
  • Day 7
    Cruising
  • Day 8
    San Juan
Ship Details

Freedom of the Seas - Royal Caribbean International

Pros

A dizzying number of onboard activities and top-notch entertainment ensure you'll never be bored.

Cons

The ship's central Royal Promenade is a bit like a shopping mall, and sales pitches are at every turn.

Bottom Line

Despite its age, the ship still shines, and there's something for every age group.

Reviews

Freedom of the Seas Reviews

Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
Overall
4.0/5
Cabins4.0
Dining4.0
Service4.0
Value4.0

Freedom of the Seas launched in May 2006 as the world's biggest cruise ship, measuring 155,000 ...

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Fare Includes

What’s included in My Cruise Fare?

  • Cabin
    Room with bed and private bathroom
  • Port Taxes & Fees
  • Service Gratuities
  • Most Onboard Entertainment
  • Kids Club
  • Shore Excursions
  • Wi-Fi
  • Spa Services
  • Select Dining
    Main dining room and/or buffet
  • Specialty Alternative Dining
  • Room Service
  • Butler Service
  • Basic Drinks
    Still water, cofee, and tea
  • Soft Drinks
    Soda and Juice
  • Alcohol
    Beer, wine, and spirits
  • Specialty Coffee Drinks
    Including smoothies and blended drinks
  • Specialty Fitness Classes

** inclusions in your cruise fare are based on Cruise Critic’s editorial expertise and not provided by the individual cruise lines. When you book with one of our cruise partners, please be sure to check their site for a full disclosure of all applicable fees. Cruise Critic does not guarantee any specific rates, prices, or amenities included in the fare. Inclusion items in the fare may change at any time and fees may apply for additional items.

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Royal Caribbean operates one of cruising's most intriguing fleets. Ships range from mid-sized and middle-aged to state-of-the-art and over-the-top mega-ships. The line continuously updates even its oldest ships, bringing onboard some of the most popular features from its newest vessels. The line boasts the four biggest ships in the world -- Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean Awards

Editors’ Picks Awards

2018 Best Entertainment
2018 Best for Families
2018 Best Suites
2017 Best Entertainment
2017 Best Suites
2016 Best Entertainment
2016 Best Suites
2016 Best for Families

Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards

2018 Top-Rated Alaska Cruise Lines
2018 Top-Rated Asia Cruise Lines
2018 Top-Rated Baltic & Scandinavia Cruise Lines
2018 Top-Rated British Isles & Western Europe Cruise Lines
2018 Top-Rated Eastern Caribbean, Bahamas & Bermuda Cruise Lines
2018 Top-Rated Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Lines
2018 Top-Rated South Pacific Cruise Lines
2018 Top-Rated Southern Caribbean Cruise Lines
2018 Top-Rated US & Canada Cruise Lines
2018 Top-Rated Western Caribbean & Riviera Maya Cruise Lines
2018 Top-Rated Western Mediterranean Cruise Lines

Top Royal Caribbean Ships

Onboard

The line famously offers innovative activities on its cruises, including indoor skydiving, bumper cars, surf simulators, rock climbing walls and its unique North Star, a jewel-shaped glass capsule rising 300 feet above sea level and providing 360-degree views over the sides of ships in its Quantum Class.

Its newest ships flex their muscle with high-tech features such as robotic bartenders, HD-aided whiz-bang entertainment, lightning-fast Internet and virtual balconies featuring real-time views of the ocean and destinations.

And while not a gourmet cruise line by most standards, Royal Caribbean's food is usually good enough to please most of its passengers. All Royal Caribbean cruise ships offer a choice of traditional two-seating (early and late) dining or the flexible "My time Dining" program, which allows passengers to choose any time (within a set range of times) they'd like for dinner. The Windjammer Cafe aboard all the line's ships offers breakfast and lunch buffets, and a casual alternative for dinner. Plus, many of the ships offer a variety of specialty restaurants beyond the main dining rooms and buffet, including a steakhouse, Italian trattoria, pizza place, quick snack deli, Asian and Mexican options -- usually for an extra fee. The food and service in these specialty restaurants are typically a notch above what you find in the main dining room.

While the number of activities offered onboard varies by ship, you'll find a rock-climbing wall on all Royal Caribbean cruises, and most ships also have mini-golf courses. All ships have vast main pool areas and the peaceful adults-only Solarium. On the line's newest and biggest ships you'll find the FlowRider, where daredevils can try their hand (feet?) at surfing and boogie boarding. Some Royal Caribbean cruise ships also have simulated skydiving, ice-skating rinks, bumper cars and roller skating. On the smaller ships, you can still have a good time participating in trivia, dancing classes, bingo, beer or wine tasting classes, and silly pool games. Or you can just spend the day lounging by the pool, reading a book and relaxing.

All ships also have a wide variety of spa and fitness facilities.

Evening entertainment on Royal Caribbean cruises comes in two types: splashy Vegas-style production shows that are among the most impressive at sea, and passenger-participation favorites like the "Newlywed and Not-So-Newlywed Game." There's also a wide range of musical entertainment in a variety of public rooms; the Latin-themed Boleros on many of the newer (and more recently refurbished) ships is especially popular. If you're sailing on a Freedom- or Voyager-class ship, don't miss the ice show: It's one of the most spectacular and unique performances you'll ever see on a cruise ship. These ships even have parades and "street performers" in the Royal Promenade -- another unique entertainment feature not found on any other ships.

One of the most unique entertainment spaces at sea is Two70, found only on Quantum-class ships. The theater cum lounge with a view combines cutting-edge technology with music, dancing and acrobatics.

Accommodations on Royal Caribbean cruise ships range from standard inside and oceanview cabins to standard balcony rooms, with a wide range of suites including the massive duplex Royal Suites with bars, grand pianos and outdoor hot tubs on the line's newest ships. Suite passengers on Oasis- and Quantum-class passengers are treated to one of the most comprehensive suite benefits program at sea, with access to Royal Genie butlers, and free Internet, drinks and specialty dining, among the many, many perks.

Along with the virtual balconies, other innovative cabin styles found on some Royal Caribbean cruises are inside cabins with a view (and even a balcony!) of the Promenade (on select Oasis-, Freedom- and Voyager-class ships) or of the Boardwalk and Central Park (on Oasis-class ships). These unique cabins cost more than insides, but less than balcony cabins, and along with the suites are often the first cabins to be booked up on each cruise.

Fellow Passengers

For the most part, Royal Caribbean ships that sail from the United States attract a wide variety of North American passengers, mostly between the ages of 30 and 55 on the seven-night and shorter cruises, and 50 and over on cruises longer than seven nights. Cruises from the U.K. -- as well as Mediterranean, Asia and Australia cruises -- attract a significant number of locals, as well as Royal Caribbean's usual North Americans. Seven-night and shorter cruises are also popular with families, especially during American school vacation periods, when the ships will often be filled to every upper berth. Mariner of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas are aimed squarely at the Asian market, so passengers will be from Asia and, to a lesser extent, Australia.

Royal Caribbean Fleet

Royal Caribbean's fleet comprises 25 ships, divided into seven classes of ship. The Quantum, Oasis and Freedom classes offer the line's newest and most active ships.

While there are subtle differences within classes, here's what you need to know when it comes to choosing between classes.

The line's newest and largest ships are in the Quantum, Oasis and Freedom classes. They feature virtually everything you could want in a cruise ship. The active set can enjoy ice skating, rock climbing, surfing, mini-golf and more (like skydiving on the Quantum-class ships). Other amenities include multiple alternative restaurants, an indoor promenade with parades and more, and an array of bars and lounges catering to every taste. They also carry the highest price tag.

Each of the three classes currently has three ships in it: Oasis, Allure and Harmony of the Seas make up the Oasis class and are the largest cruise ships in the world. Quantum, Ovation and Anthem of the Seas make up the Quantum class, with both Quantum and Ovation sailing only in Australasia. The Freedom class comprises Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Independence of the Seas.

Slightly smaller, but still with many of the line's most popular attractions (FlowRider, Royal Promenade, ice-skating) is the Voyager class of ships, built between 1999 and 2003. These ships inhabit the space between ships that many consider too big and those that others say are too small and don't have enough to do. Included in this class are Explorer of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas.

The line's biggest and newest midsize ships are the Radiance class. The 90,000-ton, 2,500-passenger Radiance, Brilliance, Jewel and Serenade of the Seas were built between 2001 and 2003, and are the biggest Royal Caribbean ships that can fit through the Panama Canal. They lack the indoor promenade, ice rink and some other Voyager/Freedom-class features, but offer some of the most elegant interiors at sea. Unique features include the Colony Club, an elegant, British Colonial-themed nightclub that includes the world's first stabilized, seagoing billiard tables.

Somewhat smaller than the Radiance-class ships are the Vision-class ships. The Legend of the Seas was built in 1995. Carrying 2,076 passengers, this ship is almost intimate by Royal Caribbean standards. Grandeur and Enchantment of the Seas were built in 1996 and 1997 respectively. Grandeur remains in its original 74,000-ton, 2,446 passenger configuration, while Enchantment was "stretched" -- adding a new, midsection -- in 2005 and is 80,000 tons and carries 2,446 passengers. Finally, Rhapsody of the Seas and Vision of the Seas were built in 1997 and 1998 respectively, and carry 2,435 passengers. While they have fewer balconies and dining options than the newer ships, they remain excellent modern cruise ships for Royal Caribbean's less-popular routes, often from secondary homeports.

Royal Caribbean's fleet also includes two other ships, Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas, which are each in a class of their own. Empress is the oldest in the Royal Caribbean fleet, having launched in 1990. Majesty of the Seas is only two years younger. Both have some of the fewest amenities and alternative restaurants of any Royal Caribbean ship, though both were refurbed most recently in 2016.

Find a Royal Caribbean Roll Call
Royal Caribbean News