Oldest Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships

10 Oldest Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships

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Royal Caribbean is one of the most popular cruise lines in the world and in terms of revenue it is the largest cruise line; it is the second largest by passengers count. The company has been in operation since 1968 and while none of its cruise ships go that far back, many of Royal Caribbean’s ships have been in service for several decades. There are currently about 26 ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet with several more in construction or on order.

As of July 2020, the information on this list is as accurate as possible and will be updated as needed. Also note that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic most of the ships on this list are not in service, but are set to resume routes whenever things get better.

10. Adventure of the Seas

Maiden Voyage: November 18, 2001
Port of Registry:  Nassau, Bahamas
Current Homeport(s): Galveston, Texas and Copenhagen, Denmark
Propulsion: Conventional
Capacity: 3,807 passengers
Crew: 1,185

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Adventure of the Seas is the third built of the five Royal Caribbean Voyager-class cruise ships. Currently registered in the Bahamas, Adventure of the Seas has cruised from ports in the United States and Europe to sites in the Caribbean Sea, Baltic Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Canada, and Europe. In 2016, Adventure of the Seas underwent a $61 million refurbishment, among the changes included adding additional staterooms. Adventure has 15 decks of which 14 are passenger decks with capacity for a maximum of 3,807 guests.

Did You Know?

Adventure of the Seas comes equipped with an outdoor movie screen, an Aqua Park, cyclone and typhoon water slides, as well as a FlowRider ( a surf ride featuring manufactured waves).


9. Radiance of the Seas

Maiden Voyage: April 7, 2001
Port of Registry:  Nassau, Bahamas
Current Homeport(s): Brisbane, Australia; Vancouver, BC, Canada; and Seward, Alaska, USA
Capacity: 2,501 passengers
Crew: 859

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas is the lead ship in the company Radiance-class, which includes Jewel of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, and Serenade of the Sea. Along with all Radiance-class ships, the Radiance of the Seas is one of the most environmentally friendly, but less fuel-efficient cruise ships in the world. The Radiance is also one of the fastest cruise ships on the market. Radiance of the Seas has many unique features, including having the most glass of any Royal Caribbean ship and featuring art from 100 artists from around the world.

Did You Know?

Radiance of the Seas is the first cruise ship to feature pool tables that are stabilized by a computer-controlled gyroscope, which adjust with the motion of the ship to keep the table-top level with the horizon.


8. Explorer of the Seas

Maiden Voyage: October 28, 2000
Port of Registry:  Nassau, Bahamas
Current Homeport(s): Miami, Florida, USA
Capacity: 3,114 passengers
Crew: 1,180

Explorer of the Seasphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

When it was built, the Explorer of the Seas was the largest passenger ship in the world, surpassing sister ship, Voyager of the Seas, which was built the year before. Initially, Explorer had a tonnage of 137,308 GT, but after major upgrades in 2015, the ship’s tonnage was increased to 138,194 GT. Today, the Explorer of the Seas is still a fairly large cruise ship and it recently received a $162 million makeover in 2019, followed by additional changes worth $110 million in 2020.

Did You Know?

The Explorer of the Seas was built with an atmospheric and oceanographic laboratory operated by the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. However, the manned lab with its attendant educational and outreach programs for passengers was discontinued in 2007.


7. Voyager of the Seas

Maiden Voyage: November 21, 1999
Port of Registry:  Nassau, Bahamas
Current Homeport(s): Sydney, Australia
Capacity: 4,000 passengers
Crew: 1,200

Voyager of the Seasphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Voyager of the Seas is the lead ship in Royal Caribbean’s line of Voyager-class ships. The ship was built in Turku, Finland and took its maiden voyage on November 21, 1999. At the time, Voyager of the Seas was the largest cruise ship in the world. Additionally, Voyager of the Seas featured many firsts, including the first rock climbing wall (mounted on the funnel) and the first ice-skating rink at sea. Recently in 2019 and again in 2020, Voyager of the Seas was refit with the addition of 72 passenger cabins and water slides. Its ice rinks were also updated.

Did You Know?

The day before themaiden voyage of Voyager of the Seas, the ship was formally named by Olympic figure skater Katarina Witt.


6. Vision of the Seas

Maiden Voyage: May 2, 1998
Port of Registry:  Nassau, Bahamas
Current Homeport(s): Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA and Barcelona, Spain
Capacity: 2,514 passengers
Crew: 765

Vision of the Seasphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

While it is the namesake of Royal Caribbean’s Vision-class of ships, the Vision of the Seas is the youngest of the four cruise ships in the this class. Vision of the Seas first set sail on May 2, 1998 throughout Europe before changing its routes. Currently, Vision of the Seas sails out of Barcelona, Spain during the summer season and Fort Lauderdale, Florida in the winter. Vision of the Seas was last updated and refitted in 2013.

Did You Know?

Vision of the Seas is known for its stunning glass exterior, which features more than 2 acres of glass.


5. Enchantment of the Seas

Maiden Voyage: July 13, 1997
Port of Registry:  Nassau, Bahamas
Current Homeport(s): Baltimore, Maryland and San Juan, Puerto Rico
Capacity: 2,446 passengers
Crew: 770

Enchantment of the Seasphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Enchantment of the Seas is another Vision-class Royal Caribbean ship that has been in service since the 1990s. The Enchantment of the Seas and its sister ship the Grandeur of the Seas were the first two major cruise ships to be equipped with a Dynamic Positioning System frequently used to maintain position while in port, particularly when tender boats are used. Some of the amenities aboard the Enchantment of the Seas includes a rock climbing wall, a bungee trampoline, several bars, nightclubs and restaurants, a live orchestra, and a spa and fitness center.

Did You Know?

In 2005, Enchantment of the Seas was overhauled, which included lengthening the ship by cutting it in two amidship and adding a 73-foot (22 m) long section.


4. Rhapsody of the Seas

Maiden Voyage: May 19, 1997
Port of Registry:  Nassau, Bahamas
Current Homeport(s): Ravenna, Italy and Tampa, Florida, USA
Capacity: 2,416 passengers
Crew: 765

Rhapsody of the Seasphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Rhapsody of the Seas is the second oldest ship in Royal Caribbean’s Vision-class line of cruise ships. Rhapsody made its maiden voyage on May 19, 1997 and originally sailed to Oslo, Norway. Since 2005, Rhapsody of the Seas has been registered in the Bahamas. In 2012, Rhapsody of the Seas underwent a major $54 million refit which added additional cabins, an outdoor movie screen near the pool, new dining areas, and a nursery. The ship was updated again in 2016 and received routine maintenance and minor improvements in 2019.

Did You Know?

In 1998, the Rhapsody of the Seas, which was on its way to at Curaçao, Antilles, was the site of the mysterious disappearance of Amy Lynn Bradley. While Bradley was never found, there have been reported sightings of Bradley over the years and her family has never stopped looking for her.


3. Grandeur of the Seas

Maiden Voyage: December 14, 1996
Port of Registry:  Nassau, Bahamas
Current Homeport(s): Baltimore, Maryland
Capacity: 2,446 passengers
Crew: 760

photo source: Flick via C Watts

Currently, Grandeur of the Seas is the third oldest cruise ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, but the ship is scheduled to be transferred to Pullmantur Cruises – which is owned by Royal Caribbean Group – in the second quarter of 2021. Grandeur has a max capacity of 2,446 passengers and features several amenities including a full-service spa, six whirlpools, an outdoor jogging track, and a number of bars and restaurants. There is also an on-board casino called Casino Royale. Currently, Grandeur of the Seas‘ homeport is Baltimore, Maryland and the ship offers cruises to Bermuda and the southeast US coast, the Bahamas, and the Southern Caribbean.

Did You Know?

Over the years, the Grandeur of the Seas has had numerous accidents, including hours-long power loss in 2000, a dock collision in 2005, a fire in 2013, and most recently a loss of port side steering in 2018.


2. Majesty of the Seas

Maiden Voyage: April 4, 1992
Port of Registry:  Nassau, Bahamas
Current Homeport(s): New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Capacity: 2,767 passengers
Crew: 833

Majesty of the Seasphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Majesty of the Seas was one of the first “mega-ships” built in the cruise line industry, with a passenger capacity of over 2,700. Majesty is a Sovereign-class cruise ship and has been in service since April 4, 1992. For most of Majesty of the Seas‘ history, Fort Lauderdale, Florida has been the ship’s homeport. However, beginning in 2020, Majesty‘s homeport was moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, offering seven-night voyages to the Caribbean including Key West, Nassau, Grand Bahama, and Coco Cay.

Did You Know?

Along with Empress of the Seas, the Majesty of the Seas was scheduled to sail to Cuba until 2020, but as the route had to be changed as the U.S. Government applied travel restrictions to the Caribbean island.


1. Empress of the Seas

Maiden Voyage: June 25, 1990
Port of Registry:  Nassau, Bahamas
Current Homeport(s): Miami, Florida, USA; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and New York City, New York, USA
Capacity: 1,840 passengers
Crew: 668

Empress of the Seasphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

The Empress of the Seas took its maiden voyage on June 25, 1990, making it the oldest Royal Caribbean cruise ship. The ship was originally commissioned by Admiral Cruises, in the late 1980s, but was absorbed into the Royal Caribbean fleet after it acquired Admiral Cruises. Originally, the Empress of the Seas was called the Nordic Empress and was the last Royal Caribbean ship whose name did not end with “of the Seas” – its name was changed in 2004 following extensive renovations. The Empress of the Seas was the first mainstream cruise ship especially designed for the 3 and 4 day cruise market.

Did You Know?

The Empress of the Seas, under the name Nordic Princess, is mentioned in the popular novel, World War Z by Max Brooks; in the novel, the Empress is heavily infested with zombies.


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