Royal Caribbean, Anthem of the Seas, North Star
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean | Anthem of the Seas' North Star
Royal Caribbean, Freedom of the Seas, aerial
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean / Michel Verdure | Freedom of the Seas
Royal Caribbean, Harmony of the Seas, Rock climbing
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean / Roy Riley | Rock climbing on Harmony of the Seas
Royal Caribbean, Liberty of the Seas, FlowRider
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean / Rob Kalmbach | FlowRider on Liberty of the Seas
Royal Caribbean, FlowRider
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean | FlowRider
Royal Caribbean, Harmony of the Seas, aerial
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean / Michel Verdure | Harmony of the Seas
Royal Caribbean, Harmony of the Seas, Perfect storm
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean / Rob Kalmbach | Perfect Storm water slides on Harmony of the Seas
Royal Caribbean, Oasis of the Seas, H2O Zone
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean / Tim Aylen | H2O Zone on Oasis of the Seas
Royal Caribbean, Enchantment of the Seas, Kids pool
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean | Enchantment of the Seas' splash park
Royal Caribbean, Harmony of the Seas, Ultimate Abyss
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean / Michel Verdure | Ultimate Abyss on Harmony of the Seas
Royal Caribbean, Labadee, Haiti
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean / Craig Lenihan | Zip lining in Labadee
Royal Caribbean, Majesty of the Seas, pool
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean / Justin Panzarella | Majesty of the Seas' Pool
Royal Caribbean, Anthem of the Seas, Solarium
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean / Roy Riley | Anthem of the Seas' Solarium
Royal Caribbean, Enchantment of the Seas, exterior
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean | Enchantment of the Seas
Royal Caribbean, Anthem of the Seas, Seaplex bumper cars
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean / Roy Riley | SeaPlex on Anthem of the Seas
Royal Caribbean, Anthem of the Seas, Rock climbing
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean / Roy Riley | Rock climbing on Anthem of the Seas
Royal Caribbean, ice skating
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean / Cedric Angeles | Ice skating
Royal Caribbean, Oasis of the Seas, Carousel
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean / Katherine Wessel | Carousel on Oasis of the Seas
Royal Caribbean, Liberty of the Seas, aerial
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean / Michel Verdure | Liberty of the Seas
Royal Caribbean, Oasis of the Seas, Youthzone teen club
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean / Katherine Wessel | YouthZone on Oasis of the Seas
Royal Caribbean, Harmony of the Seas, Wonderland Restaurant
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean | Harmony of the Seas' Wonderland Restaurant
Royal Caribbean, Wonderland, Smoking Sriracha Eggs
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean / Quentin Bacon | Smoking Sriracha Eggs at Wonderland
Royal Caribbean, Anthem of the Seas, Michael's Genuine Pub
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean / Michel Verdure | Michael's Genuine Pub on Anthem of the Seas
Royal Caribbean, Quantum of the Seas, Michael's Genuine Pub, onion dip
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean / Quentin Bacon | Onion dip at Michael's Genuine Pub
Royal Caribbean, Anthem of the Seas, Jamie's Italian
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean / Michel Verdure | Jamie's Italian on Anthem of the Seas
Royal Caribbean, Grandeur of the Seas, Giovanni's Table
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean | Charcuterie at Giovanni's Table on Grandeur of the Seas
Royal Caribbean, Anthem of the Seas, Bionic Bar
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean | Anthem of the Seas' Bionic Bar
Royal Caribbean, Allure of the Seas, Boardwalk
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean / Simon Brooke-Webb | Boardwalk on Allure of the Seas
Royal Caribbean, Quantum of the Seas, Starwater at Two70
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean / Tim Aylen | Starwater on Quantum of the Seas
Royal Caribbean, Oasis of the Seas, Aquatheater
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean | Oasis of the Seas' Aquatheater
Royal Caribbean, Harmony of the Seas, Grease
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean / Roy Riley | Grease on Harmony of the Seas
Royal Caribbean, Serenade of the Seas, Game Reserve
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean | Serenade of the Seas' Game Reserve
Royal Caribbean, Grandeur of the Seas, disco
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean | Grandeur of the Seas' disco
Royal Caribbean, Voyager of the Seas, Virtual balcony
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean | Virtual balcony on Voyager of the Seas
Royal Caribbean, Radiance of the Seas, Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean | Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom on Radiance of the Seas
Royal Caribbean, Mariner of the Seas, Deck
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Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean | Pool deck on Mariner of the Seas

Royal Caribbean

Zip lining onboar Oasis of the Seas Photo credit: Royal Caribbean International | Zip lining on Oasis of the Seas

These big, bold, loud ships are packed with activities you wouldn't expect to find at sea — from ice skating rinks and rock climbing walls to skydiving simulators, bionic bartenders, bumper cars, and even surfing simulators. Just how big are these vessels? The fleet includes the largest cruise ship in the world, Harmony of the Seas, which sails with 6,780 passengers when it is at full capacity.

What We Love

Staying Connected: This is the line for you if you want to Instagram, Snapchat, Skype, and even stream movies while on board. Royal Caribbean has the fastest internet at sea, with high-speed Wi-Fi available fleet wide. For passengers who hate the idea of unplugging, this Voom internet service is a big bonus to cruising on Royal Caribbean.

Fast Boarding: The new check-yourself-in-at-home process, which allows you to go from the curb to your cabin in mere minutes, really sets this line apart. Best of all, you can upload a photo at home rather than having to take one (travel weary, bedraggled, and possibly even jet lagged) on the day you board.

Amusement Park-Style Activities: Some of these ships have bumper cars, a merry-go-round, miniature golf courses, ice skating rinks, and zip lines, and Harmony of the Seas also has the Abyss, which — at 10 stories tall — is the longest slide at sea. 

Innovative Entertainment: The lineup includes full-scale productions of Broadway shows such as “Cats,” "Grease," and “Shrek the Musical.” In addition, animated DreamWorks characters make appearances in parades and shows on ice or in water. You can also see live aerialists interact with robotically controlled video screens.

Art Collections: Newer ships have impressive modern art collections, with interactive installations that move and change, and playful, colorful static pieces throughout. 

Best Known For

Nightlife: Night owls will find plenty of action. Spend the evening in the Vegas-style Casino Royale, toast with cocktails and a view in the Viking Crown Lounge, check out the two-level disco, or try salsa dancing at Boleros.

Cabin Choices: These ships have as many as 34 cabin categories, and there’s a price level for everyone. Look for innovative designs, including two-story loft suites, cabins with views of the ship’s mall-like promenade, and inside cabins with “virtual balconies,” designed around a full-length LCD screen that displays a real-time video feed of the sea.

Johnny Rockets: On a dozen of the ships, for a $4.95 cover charge you can sit in a poolside diner and order those familiar burgers, chili fries, and shakes.

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Who It's Best For

The Young (and Young at Heart): This mainstream line appeals to cruisers of all ages, with plenty of activity and entertainment options as well as extensive kids clubs. Families flock to the larger, newer ships while the more seasoned crowd is more often found on the line’s smaller, older ships.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

You Can Get Lost: On the first day, you’ll need to consult the deck plan often, or download an app, to be able to figure out how to get around.

Crowds Are Unavoidable: These are big ships, and you’ll be one of many searching for an available lounge chair on the sun deck on a sunny day, or hoping to catch the last seat in a show lounge, or waiting for your omelette at the buffet.

Food Isn’t the Main Draw Here: Our opinion of most food on board? It’s okay, not great. The few exceptions include Miami-based Chef Michael Schwartz's restaurants — 150 Central Park and Michael's Genuine Pub — and several of the top specialty restaurants on the line's newer ships, including the molecular gastronomy-inspired Wonderland and Jamie’s Italian, which was designed in partnership with British TV personality, Jamie Oliver. In addition, on Quantum-class class ships, even the buffet has gotten a welcome upgrade, and we were pleased to see both amazing variety and high-quality ingredients such as excellent cheese, charcuterie, and olives. 

Fran Golden

Fran Golden is a Cleveland-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for USA Today.

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