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TravelThe ultimate guide to Royal Caribbean cruise ships and itineraries

The ultimate guide to Royal Caribbean cruise ships and itineraries

For megaresort lovers, Royal Caribbean may be the ultimate cruise line.

The line’s biggest ships are bigger than any other cruise vessels afloat, and they’re chock-full of more restaurants, bars, entertainment zones and attractions than you’ll find anywhere else at sea — or even at many of the biggest land resorts.

On Royal Caribbean’s giant Oasis Class and Icon Class ships, there are multiple pool areas, watery play zones, rock climbing walls, surfing simulators, miniature golf courses, basketball courts and even zip lines. And that’s just on the top deck. Interior areas bring everything from full-size spas and large casinos to Broadway-quality theaters with top-name shows.

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Some Royal Caribbean ships even feature ice skating rinks. Really.

If all that seems like too much to fit on a cruise vessel, consider this: The biggest Royal Caribbean ships are 20 decks high, nearly 1,200 feet long and capable of carrying more than 7,000 passengers.

In short, they’re like the megaresorts you see in Las Vegas or Orlando. Except they float.

3 things TPG loves about Royal Caribbean

  • The incredible array of onboard activities
  • The over-the-top super suites on some ships
  • The top-notch entertainment, including Broadway shows

What we could do without

  • Sold-out shows, particularly in onboard comedy clubs

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The Royal Caribbean fleet

Royal Caribbean is the world’s largest cruise line by passenger capacity, with 27 ships that together offer nearly 100,000 berths.

These 27 ships include the world’s six biggest cruise vessels — Icon of the Seas, Wonder of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas — each of which can hold more than 6,600 passengers.

Five of the these six giant ships, all similar in design, are part of what’s known as the Oasis Class — a hugely popular series of massive megaships that began debuting in 2009 and have changed the face of cruising. A sixth Oasis Class ship — Utopia of the Seas — is scheduled to join the fleet later this year, and the line recently ordered a seventh vessel in the series that’ll be ready in 2028.

The outlier among the six ships mentioned above is Icon of the Seas, which isn’t an Oasis Class ship but the first of an all-new series of even bigger vessels called the Icon Class. At, 250,800 tons, It’s currently the world’s biggest cruise ship. Royal Caribbean has ordered two more Icon Class ships that will begin sailing in 2025 and 2026, respectively.

The sheer scale of Royal Caribbean’s biggest ships is sometimes hard for first-time cruisers to fathom. Icon of the Seas, shown here, is 20 decks high and longer than four football fields. ROYAL CARIBBEAN
Royal Caribbean’s five Oasis Class ships are among the biggest ships in the world. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

The Oasis Class and Icon Class ships are not the only biggies in the Royal Caribbean fleet. Five big Quantum Class ships and three big Freedom Class ships each have total capacities ranging from around 4,500 to 5,600 passengers.

Add those in, and Royal Caribbean operates 14 of the world’s 35 biggest cruise ships.

Related: 4 things you’ll love about Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas

The line also operates five somewhat smaller Voyager Class vessels that can each hold around 3,800 passengers at maximum occupancy.

Together, the 19 Icon, Oasis, Quantum, Freedom and Voyager class vessels make up Royal Caribbean’s big-ship fleet.

The line’s remaining eight vessels, split among two classes, are relatively smaller, with maximum occupancy topping out at around 2,500 passengers.

While not necessarily the focus at Royal Caribbean, these smaller ships, which in general are the line’s older ships, allow it to offer 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.

The smaller ships also appeal to a subset of Royal Caribbean fans who like a little more intimacy in a cruise vessel and don’t mind giving up some onboard amenities to get it. These ships are also often less expensive for travelers on a per-day basis.

While most Royal Caribbean ships are giant by any measure, the line operates a handful of smaller vessels, such as the 73,817-ton Grandeur of the Seas. JUAN MANUEL GARCIA/ROYAL CARIBBEAN

With each step-down in size, you’ll find fewer restaurants, bars, entertainment offerings and attractions. However, even the smallest of Royal Caribbean ships still have quite a bit to offer.

Related: The 9 most exciting new cruise ships of 2024

Destinations and itineraries

Royal Caribbean sails almost everywhere in the world, but its heaviest presence is in the Caribbean and Europe. In a typical summer, the line will deploy about half its ships on sailings to the Caribbean, Bahamas and Bermuda while sending another seven or eight ships to Europe. The line typically sends four ships every summer to Alaska.

During the winter, the line will move even more of its ships to the Caribbean and send a few to Asia and Australia.

In recent years, Royal Caribbean has deployed one or more ships to China for sailings aimed at the Chinese market. One of the line’s newest ships, Spectrum of the Seas, has offered trips for Chinese travelers out of Shanghai and Tianjin, China (the port for Beijing).

In North America, Royal Caribbean ships generally sail out of PortMiami, Port Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades and Tampa in Florida; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Galveston, Texas; New Orleans; Bayonne, New Jersey (one of the ports for New York City); Baltimore; Boston; Seattle; Vancouver, British Columbia; and Seward, Alaska.

In Europe, Royal Caribbean ships mostly sail out of Southampton, England; Amsterdam; Copenhagen; Piraeus, Greece (the port for Athens); Istanbul; Barcelona; Civitavecchia, Italy (the port for Rome) and — since 2021 — Ravenna, Italy (which replaced Venice as a home port).

Related: The 5 best destinations you can visit on a Royal Caribbean ship

Who sails Royal Caribbean?

For the most part, Royal Caribbean operates big, bustling megaships that will appeal to people who like a megaresort experience. In other words, if you’re the kind of person who loves staying on property at Disney World or at a giant Las Vegas resort, this is the line for you. Royal Caribbean ships offer vacationers a ton of options, whether it be for dining (some vessels have more than 20 distinct places to grab a bite) or entertainment. They are lively and fun.

That said, they also offer serene spots. You can enjoy a quiet afternoon reading a book on a bench in the tree-lined Central Park area of Wonder of the Seas while, just a few decks above, thousands of vacationers frolic away at the ship’s three distinct pool areas. Royal Caribbean’s designers are masters at designing vessels that can carry thousands and thousands of people but still feel relatively uncrowded — at least in some areas.

Insider tip: To escape the bustle on a Royal Caribbean ship, seek out the relatively quiet Solarium. It’s an adult-only, deck-top retreat found on every Royal Caribbean vessel.

The outdoor Central Park on Symphony of the Seas offers a quiet respite from the bustle of other parts of the ship. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Royal Caribbean ships offer an inordinate amount of teen- and tween-friendly attractions — everything from some of the largest waterslides at sea to bumper car pavilions. That makes them particularly appealing to families, including multigenerational groups. Families are a big part of Royal Caribbean’s business.

Related: Is Icon of the Seas the ultimate family vacation?

It’s not just families that flock to Royal Caribbean, though. The line’s ships are designed to provide a little something for everyone, and they appeal to a wide demographic, including couples of all ages and even solo travelers (the line has added solo cabins to more ships in recent years).

The ships also draw customers from a wide range of incomes. Plentiful smaller and affordable cabins, included casual dining options, and a plethora of bars and onboard attractions give Royal Caribbean ships a for-the-masses feel and make them accessible to travelers on a budget.

Also, overlaid across most ships are high-end suites, eateries and services that are at a luxury level, and the line draws a good number of luxury-seeking travelers. Royal Caribbean executives like to say that if they carved out all the suites on their ships as a separate business, it would be the largest luxury cruise line in the world.

What Royal Caribbean cruisers all have in common is that they love a big, bustling resort experience.

Cabins and suites

Royal Caribbean is known for offering a wide range of accommodations on its ships. Some ships have as many as 34 categories of cabins. You’ll find everything from relatively low-cost, windowless inside cabins measuring just 149 square feet (perfect for the budget traveler) to massive, multiroom suites that are more than 10 times that size.

Related: The ultimate guide to Royal Caribbean cabins and suites

At the high end, the accommodations are aimed at well-heeled travelers who, for whatever reason, prefer the megaship experience to being on a luxury ship, and these truly are among the most spectacular accommodations at sea. Some, such as the Royal Loft Suites found on Oasis Class ships, are two decks high with sweeping views across the top of the vessel. Icon of the Seas has a suite that is three decks high — the tallest suite in all of cruising.

Royal Loft Suites on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum Class ships are two decks high with soaring ceilings in a central living room area. ROYAL CARIBBEAN
The typical “standard” cabin on Royal Caribbean ships looks more like this. It’s a category D8 “Superior Ocean View with Balcony” cabin on Harmony of the Seas. MICHEL VERDURE/ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Depending on the ship, top suites can come with such perks as private butlers (called Royal Genies) who attend to your every need, access to a private restaurant, access to a private suite lounge and sun deck, reserved seating in entertainment venues, and priority boarding and disembarkation.

Related: What it takes to get concierge lounge access on a cruise ship

Restaurants and dining

While a few of Royal Caribbean’s smallest ships have relatively limited dining options, most of the line’s vessels offer so many choices that it can almost be overwhelming.

On Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ships there are more than 20 places to grab a bite, ranging from Johnny Rockets diners to high-end restaurants serving six-course tasting menus.

Every vessel has a main dining room and a casual buffet eatery where meals are included in the fare — the latter called either Windjammer Café or Windjammer Marketplace. For dinner in the main dining room, you must sign up for either My Time Dining, which is where you go whenever you want, or Traditional Dining, where you have a fixed table and time for dinner.

The main dining room on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas. ROYAL CARIBBEAN
Sorrento’s on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Other included-in-the-fare offerings found on some ships include Sorrento’s pizza parlors, the Mediterranean cuisine-themed Solarium Bistro and the coffee bar Cafe Promenade.

In addition, every ship has a least one — and sometimes many — extra-charge eateries. The most common one found across the fleet is Chops Grille, the line’s signature steakhouse. Many ships also have an Italian eatery, called either Giovanni’s Table or Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver. There’s also Hooked Seafood, a relatively new concept now on four vessels (Icon of the Seas, Wonder of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas) that serves lobster rolls, fish sandwiches and the like.

On some ships, you’ll also find Izumi, a sushi-serving Asian eatery; Vintages, a small bite-serving wine bar; imaginative cuisine-serving Wonderland; and Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, which offers cold brews, burgers and wings along with games like foosball.

Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas has an Asian-themed hibachi restaurant called Izumi Hibachi. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

There are full-blown Starbucks cafes on some ships or at least a Starbucks stand.

In addition, some ships feature private restaurants just for passengers staying in suites along with top-tier members of the line’s Crown & Anchor Society loyalty program.

Some of the extra-charge eateries come with a flat fee, usually around $35 to $50 per person, not including the cost of drinks. Others are a la carte.

If you know you want to eat at a few extra-charge restaurants during your voyage, you can buy one of several dining packages that offer meals at a discount.

Related: The 9 best meals you can have at sea

Entertainment and activities

No other cruise line has as broad a range of entertainment and activities on its ships as Royal Caribbean. As noted above, the line’s biggest vessels offer multiple entertainment venues, from theaters to comedy clubs; all manner of deck-top attractions; large casinos; full-service spas; and even ice skating rinks. Plus, you’ll find more bars, lounges and nightspots than you could think possible.

Theaters and shows

One of Royal Caribbean’s great strengths is its theater entertainment, which can be mind-blowing at times — i.e., you won’t believe you’re seeing what you’re seeing on a cruise ship.

Many of Royal Caribbean’s biggest ships have state-of-the-art theaters as big as you’ll find on Broadway, with top-name Broadway shows. Symphony of the Seas has “Hairspray,” for instance, and Oasis of the Seas has Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cats.”

In some cases, the shows are cut down slightly (though some still run nearly two hours), and the casts aren’t the A-team you’ll find on Broadway. However, these are quality productions. The best part is — they are entirely free. Compare that with the hundreds of dollars you’ll spend to take your family to a show in New York City.

The musical “Hairspray” is on Symphony of the Seas. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Even more “wow,” as Royal Caribbean executives like to say, are the ice skating shows put on at the ice skating rinks found on 14 of the line’s ships. The rinks are in the interiors of the ships, surrounded by stadium seating for up to 775 people, and the shows are out of this world.

The line has hired Olympic-level skaters to star in the productions. In fact, the line likes to boast that it employs more world-class professional skaters than any other company in the world.

On Oasis Class ships, there also are 735-seat outdoor “aqua theaters” that are home to dazzling aerial and water shows (Icon of the Seas has its own version of this under a glass dome called the AquaDome). Quantum Class ships have Two70, an extraordinary, high-tech theater space that offers multisensory shows combining singing, dancing and acrobatics.

The ice show “1977” on Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas. ROYAL CARIBBEAN
The 735-seat, outdoor AquaTheater on Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas is home to aerial and water shows. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Some ships also have comedy clubs, and there’s always live music in multiple venues nightly. We’re particularly fond of the two-deck-high Music Halls on Quantum Class vessels.

Insider tip: Be sure to book the (free) tickets for onboard comedy clubs early. They sometimes sell out in advance due to heavy demand and limited capacity.

Other interior attractions and activities

In addition to entertainment spaces, the interiors of Royal Caribbean ships are loaded with other venues where passengers can kick back and let loose day and night, including a seemingly endless array of bars, lounges and nightspots.

Every Royal Caribbean ship has a casino, and on the line’s bigger vessels, these are big operations. The Casino Royale on Oasis of the Seas sprawls with 450 slot machines, 27 table games (including blackjack, roulette and craps) and a poker room, plus its very own bar. The casinos on the four other Oasis Class ships are similarly giant.

The casino on Quantum of the Seas. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

The 14 vessels that are part of the Voyager, Freedom, Oasis and Icon classes also have Royal Promenades — indoor, mall-like spaces that are home to some of the coolest bars at sea, as well as food outlets and retail shops.

The version of the Royal Promenade on Oasis of the Seas, for instance, offers the Bionic Bar, where a robot makes the drinks, along with the equally innovative Rising Tide Bar, which rises between the Royal Promenade and the outdoor Central Park area three decks above while you drink. There’s also a British pub, a karaoke lounge, a Latin-themed nightspot and — located one deck up in a balcony area — the line’s signature Schooner Bar.

The Royal Promenade on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas. ROYAL CARIBBEAN
The Bionic Bar on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

The line’s five Quantum Class vessels have a much smaller version of the Royal Promenade called the Royal Esplanade that transitions into another indoor area called The Via.

The Quantum Class ships also have an indoor fun zone known as The SeaPlex that includes a bumper car pavilion. When the bumper cars aren’t in use, the space transforms into a roller rink, which is also used as a “circus school” with lessons on a flying trapeze. Other SeaPlex activities include air hockey and table tennis.

Bumper cars in The SeaPlex on Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

For something quieter and more pampering, Royal Caribbean ships also all have spas. Some are enormous, with more than two dozen treatment rooms and thermal areas with hot stone chairs, rainforest shower areas, saunas and steam rooms.

Deck-top attractions

The top decks of Royal Caribbean ships are where things get wild. There is stuff you just won’t see on any other vessel at sea.

There are pools, of course — on the bigger ships, oodles of them. The Oasis Class ships have three distinct pool areas, as well as a watery play zone for kids. A growing number of Royal Caribbean ships also have water parks with significant waterslides.

The Perfect Storm complex of waterslides is a highlight of the top deck of Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas. ROYAL CARIBBEAN
Miniature golf courses, surfing simulators and basketball courts are common on the biggest Royal Caribbean ships. MICHEL VERDURE/ROYAL CARIBBEAN

You’ll also find all sorts of other fun-focused attractions — giant rock climbing walls, surfing simulators, zip lines, miniature golf courses and basketball courts, to name a few. Some recently built ships even have skydiving simulators — giant acrylic tubes where you get to experience the sensation of skydiving.

On Oasis Class ships, there’s also an outdoor Boardwalk area with a hand-carved carousel. On the new Icon Class ships, the Boardwalk area is replaced with a watery play zone for younger kids called Surfside.

Skydiving simulator atop Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas. ROYAL CARIBBEAN
A hand-carved carousel sits at the center of the Boardwalk area on Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

The most out-there deck-top attractions on Royal Caribbean ships are surely the North Star rides found on Quantum Class ships. Perhaps the most bizarre attractions ever conceived for a cruise ship, they are giant mechanical arms topped with glass-enclosed capsules that will take you soaring above the ships for the view.

The North Star attraction on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

The North Star is generally free to ride. It also can be booked for special events, such as weddings, for a charge.

Related: The 15 best cruise ships for people who never want to grow up

Children’s programs

Royal Caribbean has one of the most extensive children’s programs at sea, with programs and activities for children as young as 6 months old through the age of 17.

The heart of the program, called Adventure Ocean, has free, supervised activities daily for children ages 3 to 12.

The line splits children here up into three age groups: Aquanauts (ages 3 to 5 years), Explorers (ages 6 to 8 years) and Voyagers (ages 9 to 12 years), each with its own age-appropriate activities ranging from scavenger hunts to arts and crafts. On many ships, there are extensive dedicated spaces for the different groups.

Arts and crafts are among the activities for children at the Adventure Ocean kids program area on Royal Caribbean ships. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

While the free programming ends at 10 p.m., you can pay extra to leave your kids at Adventure Ocean until 2 a.m., when it transforms into a supervised Late Night Party Zone.

Royal Caribbean also operates a Royal Babies nursery program for children ages 6 to 18 months old that includes interactive child and parent classes with activities developed by early childhood experts. The Royal Tots program (for ages 18 months to 3 years) offers 45-minute interactive playground sessions with age-appropriate activities and toys. Both programs are hosted by trained youth staff. On many ships, parents can drop off their babies at the nursery for short-term babysitting (this service comes with an extra charge).

Royal Caribbean also offers dedicated teen and tween programs on ships for children ages 12 to 17. On some vessels, such as the Quantum Class ships, you’ll find a dedicated space with games and a widescreen TV called The Living Room where teens can hang out, plus a teens-only disco called Fuel.

Related: A peek at Perfect Day by CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island

What to know before you go

Required documents

If you’re a U.S. citizen on a cruise that starts and ends in a U.S. port, you’ll need either a current passport or an official copy of your birth certificate and a driver’s license or other government-issued photo identification to sail. Passports must be valid for at least six months. For cruises from international ports, you’ll need a passport. The name on your reservation must be exactly as it is stated on your passport or other official proof of nationality.


Royal Caribbean adds an automatic service gratuity of $18 to $20.50 per person per day to final bills, depending on your cabin category. If you are unhappy with the service you receive, you can adjust this amount at the Guest Services desk before disembarking. An 18% gratuity is added to bills for bars, minibars, salons and spas.

Related: Everything you need to know about tipping on cruise ships


Royal Caribbean has one of the fastest Wi-Fi systems at sea — so fast that you’re able to watch Netflix from your room on your mobile device. Pricing changes over time, but recently has been priced at $17.99 per day per device for a package that includes streaming. There also are multi-device packages that are less expensive on a per-device basis.

Related: How fast is the internet on Royal Caribbean ships? We put it to the test

Carry-on drinks policy

Royal Caribbean allows you to bring two bottles of wine or Champagne per cabin onto ships at boarding, plus up to a dozen standard cans, bottles or cartons of nonalcoholic drinks such as sodas. The line charges a $15 corkage fee if you bring the wine or Champagne to an onboard restaurant or other public areas to drink.

Smoking policy

Smoking (including e-cigarette smoking) is allowed only in designated outdoor areas, casinos and the cigar clubs found on Freedom Class and Voyager Class ships. It’s forbidden in cabins and on cabin balconies, and those who violate this rule will face a $250 cleaning fee. In the casino, only cigarette smoking is allowed, and only in designated areas on most ships (smoking in casinos is forbidden on sailings out of Australia and U.K. ports).


Unlike some lines, Royal Caribbean does not build self-service launderettes onto its ships. Vessels offer extra-charge laundry and dry cleaning services.

Electrical outlets

All vessels have North American-style 110-volt outlets in rooms, as well as European-style 220-volt outlets. A growing number of vessels also have USB ports in cabins.


The currency used on all Royal Caribbean ships is U.S. dollars, no matter where they are in the world. All vessels operate on a “cashless system,” with any onboard purchases you make posting automatically to your onboard account. You’ll receive a SeaPass card that you can use to make charges.

Drinking age

You must be 21 to consume alcohol on sailings originating in North America or the United Arab Emirates. The drinking age on sailings from South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand is 18.

Dress code

During the day, there is no specific dress code, and people dress casually. If it’s a sea day in a warm-weather destination, and you’re bound for the top deck, that means looking like you’re going to the beach — T-shirts, shorts and bathing suits (with a cover-up to go inside) are just fine.

During the evenings, there is an official dress code, but it only applies to passengers entering the main dining room. On any given night, one of three dress codes will apply — casual, smart casual or formal.

Casual means just that — jeans, polo shirts and sundresses. Smart casual is a step up to collared shirts, dresses, skirts and blouses, or pantsuits, with a jacket for men optional. Formal officially means suits and ties, tuxedos, cocktail dresses or evening gowns. Don’t worry if you don’t want to go that fancy, though. Not everybody plays into it. You’ll see most men wearing suits or sports coats and women in cocktail dresses.

Related: What to pack for your first cruise

Royal Caribbean loyalty program

Royal Caribbean has a point-based frequent cruiser program, the Crown & Anchor Society, that has six tiers ranging from Gold (requiring 3 points) to Pinnacle Club (700 points).

Members earn points for every night they sail on one of the line’s ships, with double points awarded to passengers staying in suites. It takes one cruise to hit the first tier, Gold. It would take five cruises if you’re doing seven-night trips (fewer if you’re in a suite) to reach the second tier, Platinum (30 points).

Lower tiers don’t bring all that much in terms of truly valuable benefits. You’ll receive things like priority check-in and a private departure lounge with continental breakfast at the end of a trip. However, higher levels of the program start to be very enticing.

The second-to-highest tier, Diamond Plus (175 points), brings Concierge Club access, priority seating at onboard shows, an exclusive number to call for bookings and reduced rates for solo travelers, plus other things. The top Pinnacle Club level brings free cruises after hitting key milestones.

Note that, unlike airline frequent flyer programs, cruise line loyalty programs do not require you to requalify for status every year. So, yes, the perks with lower tiers aren’t great, but it’s not as difficult as it might at first seem to hit the more rewarding higher-level tiers in just a few years if you’re cruising a lot.

A passenger staying in suites can get to the Diamond Plus level with just 13 seven-night cruises. Take a few longer voyages, like a transatlantic sailing, and you can reach it even sooner.

Related: The TPG guide to cruise line loyalty programs

How much does a Royal Caribbean cruise cost?

Royal Caribbean designs its ships to appeal to a broad mix of people, in part by offering a wide range of cabin types at varying price points. On a typical sailing, you might find an entry-level cabin for around $100 per person per night, while a high-end suite is five or 10 times that amount.

As of the time of this guide’s posting, for instance, a two-bedroom Star Loft Suite on Harmony of the Seas for a seven-night Caribbean cruise in January 2026 was going for $7,559 per person, based on double occupancy. That’s more than 11 times the cost of the least-expensive inside cabin (which was starting at $646 per person, based on double occupancy). Balcony cabins on the same sailing started at around $836 per person, based on double occupancy.

Note the “based on double occupancy” caveat. As is typical for cruise lines, Royal Caribbean charges on a per-person basis, not per room, and it prices most cabins based on two people occupying a room. It does offer a small number of cabins on some ships that are priced based on single occupancy for solo travelers.

Some Royal Caribbean ships have studio cabins for solo travelers that are priced based on single occupancy. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

In general, Royal Caribbean’s big, resort-like Icon Class, Oasis Class and Quantum Class ships will be more expensive than the line’s older, smaller vessels (Icon Class ships are particularly pricey). However, there are a lot of factors that go into pricing for any given cruise, including the popularity of the specific itinerary, the time of year when the cruise is taking place and changing demand trends.

As you might expect, pricing for all ships will generally be less during offseason periods such as September and October.

The timing of when you book can also matter. Cruises book up much further in advance than airplanes or hotels. Many cruisers will tell you that the best pricing for any given sailing often is available when cruises first go on sale (which can be a good two years before a departure). Booking far in advance also gives you the best chance of getting your preferred cabin type and location on a ship.

Once on board a Royal Caribbean vessel, you’ll pay extra for most drinks (most beers will set you back $7.99, for instance; wine by the glass ranges from $8 to $14), extra-charge restaurants, spa services, shore excursions, internet service and a few other things — unless you’ve bought a package for some of these items in advance.

Most onboard activities, such as rock climbing and zip lining, are included in the fare, as are your lodging, meals (in non-extra-charge restaurants) and entertainment.

Related: 15 ways that first-time cruisers waste money on a cruise

How to book

If you’re sure you know what sort of cabin you want, on which ship, on which itinerary — and about a dozen other things — you can head over to RoyalCaribbean.com and book directly.

That said, given the complexity of booking a cruise — there are a lot of decisions to make during the booking process, trust us — we recommend that you use a seasoned travel agent who specializes in cruises.

A good travel agent will quiz you about your particular interests, travel style and preferences and steer you to the perfect cruise line, ship, itinerary and cabin for you. An agent also can help you if something goes wrong before, during or after your voyage.

If you’re sure that Royal Caribbean is your line, look for a travel agent who specializes in trips with the brand. You want someone who knows all 34 of those cabin categories that we mentioned above and, preferably, has done ship inspections to see them firsthand.

Related: How to book a cruise with points and miles

Whether you use a travel agent or not, make sure to maximize your credit card spend when paying for the cruise by using a credit card that offers extra points for travel purchases. This could be the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which offers 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on travel and dining (excluding the annual $300 travel credit). There’s also the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which offers 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on travel (and 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on dining).

Bottom line

Royal Caribbean has grown into the world’s biggest cruise line by passenger capacity for a reason. It has long dazzled customers with stunning, resort-like vessels full of every sort of amusement and activity you could imagine.

If you’re a megaresort lover, you’ll surely love the line’s biggest ships, particularly the giant Oasis Class vessels. If you’re more of a small boutique hotel sort of person or someone who just isn’t happy around crowds, well … this might not be the line for you.

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