The Best Royal Caribbean Ships For 2020

best royal caribbean cruise ships 2020
These are Royal Caribbean's top ships of 2020! - Photo by Royal Caribbean

Thinking about a Royal Caribbean cruise in 2020, but not sure which ship to sail on? Using thousands of review scores submitted in 2019 by Cruiseline.com members, we’ve ranked the top ships across seven categories, from dining and cabins to onboard activities and entertainment. So whether you’re a foodie, looking for some Broadway-caliber entertainment, or a family of adrenaline junkies who need to stay moving at all times, there’s a perfect Royal Caribbean ship for you.

Cabins

best royal caribbean ships 20120 junior suite
A Junior Suite on Symphony of the Seas - Photo by Royal Caribbean

 

1. Symphony of the Seas 4.61
2. Harmony of the Seas 4.60
3. Allure of the Seas 4.56
4. Ovation of the Seas 4.51
5. Anthem of the Seas 4.51
6. Adventure of the Seas 4.47
7. Freedom of the Seas 4.46
8. Liberty of the Seas 4.46
9. Oasis of the Seas 4.45
10. Jewel of the Seas 4.44
11. Independence of the Seas 4.44
12. Radiance of the Seas 4.44
13. Mariner of the Seas 4.43
14. Navigator of the Seas 4.42
15. Serenade of the Seas 4.41
16. Rhapsody of the Seas - 4.41
17. Voyager of the Seas - 4.41
18. Brilliance of the Seas - 4.40
19. Explorer of the Seas - 4.38
20. Grandeur of the Seas - 4.35
21. Vision of the Seas - 4.31
22. Enchantment of the Seas - 4.20
23. Majesty of the Seas - 4.12
24. Empress of the Seas - 4.10

 

What We Expected: New ships tend to have the best cabins, and that holds true for the top slots here with the year-old Symphony coming in on top. Likewise, Majesty and Empress, some of the smallest and oldest ships in the fleet, rank at the bottom. 

What Surprised Us: Mariner and Navigator are in the middle of the pack which is logical for their age, but a bit disappointing seeing as they’ve both undergone extensive refurbishments over the last couple years that included refreshed cabins. 

What Else Changed From Last Year: Adventure of the Seas jumped from 13th place last year with 4.37 to the sixth position with 4.47 rating. Vision of the Seas fell from a respectable 10th place to 21st, which actually isn’t as big of a deal as it sounds. It only fell by .07 stars, but cabins improved overall across the fleet, edging it down much further than it would have been last year with the same score. 

 

Food & Dining

best royal caribbean ships 2020 dining
Wonderland on Symphony of the Seas - Photo by Royal Caribbean

1. Symphony of the Seas - 4.43
2. Allure of the Seas - 4.38
3. Liberty of the Seas - 4.37
4. Harmony of the Seas - 4.32
5. Freedom of the Seas - 4.31
6. Navigator of the Seas - 4.28
7. Adventure of the Seas - 4.28
8. Enchantment of the Seas - 4.28
9. Independence of the Seas - 4.28
10. Radiance of the Seas - 4.28
11. Mariner of the Seas - 4.27
12. Serenade of the Seas - 4.27
13. Rhapsody of the Seas - 4.27
14. Jewel of the Seas - 4.27
15. Grandeur of the Seas - 4.26
16. Anthem of the Seas - 4.26
17. Explorer of the Seas - 4.24
18. Oasis of the Seas - 4.24
19. Ovation of the Seas - 4.23
20. Brilliance of the Seas - 4.23
21. Vision of the Seas - 4.21
22. Majesty of the Seas - 4.20
23. Voyager of the Seas - 4.19
24. Empress of the Seas - 4.18

 

What We Expected: Symphony, Allure, and Harmony landing in the top four didn’t surprise us since the Oasis class ships are known for their variety and quality of food. That said, you might have noticed that Oasis of the Seas finished at a measly 18th place with an average of 4.24 stars. However, this is only .01 stars less than last year, when the ship achieved a 5th place slot. This is because the entire fleet greatly improved in the dining category this year, pushing Oasis pretty far down despite a score that’s almost identical. We also expected Liberty to stay near the top as it did, because it held first place honors last year. Despite an improved score, Mariner stayed in 11th place. 

What Surprised Us: Despite being over 20 years old, Enchantment and Adventure of the Seas continue to pleasantly surprise us in the dining category, achieving top ten rankings both this year and last. 

What Else Changed From Last Year: The largest cruise ship in the world, Symphony of the Seas, greatly improved, jumping from 6th place with a 4.26 score to first place with 4.43. This year, any of the Oasis-class ships are a solid option for dining except Oasis of the Seas. Vision of the Seas fell from 10th place to 21st, but only fell .01 stars. The fall is again due to fleetwide improvements, but we are a bit disappointed that this ship didn’t follow along with the positive trend.

 

Service & Staff

best royal caribbean ships 2020 service
Bartenders serving cocktails at the R Bar - Photo by Royal Caribbean

1. Grandeur of the Seas - 4.70
2. Symphony of the Seas - 4.68
3. Freedom of the Seas - 4.67
4. Harmony of the Seas - 4.66
5. Serenade of the Seas - 4.65
6. Liberty of the Seas - 4.65
7. Allure of the Seas - 4.64
8. Rhapsody of the Seas - 4.64
9. Independence of the Seas - 4.64
10. Jewel of the Seas - 4.64
11. Adventure of the Seas - 4.63
12. Vision of the Seas - 4.62
13. Radiance of the Seas - 4.62
14. Empress of the Seas - 4.60
15. Brilliance of the Seas - 4.60
16. Ovation of the Seas - 4.59
17. Enchantment of the Seas - 4.59
18. Explorer of the Seas - 4.58
19. Anthem of the Seas - 4.58
20. Navigator of the Seas - 4.58
21. Majesty of the Seas - 4.57
22. Oasis of the Seas - 4.57
23. Mariner of the Seas - 4.55
24. Voyager of the Seas - 4.55

 

What We Expected: Grandeur of the Seas continues to showcase its stellar crew, coming in at 4.7 (an extremely difficult average score to achieve). That was enough to push it to the top slot, up from second place last year with a 4.6 rating. The year-old Symphony found its footing in another category, jumping from 5th place to second, which doesn’t surprise us because sometimes it takes a while for new ships to hit their stride. 

What Surprised Us: Freedom of the Seas saw significant improvement, going from 4.58 to 4.67, a .09 point increase. That was enough to earn it a 3rd place finish, up from 7th last year. Empress of the Seas also saw a surprising jump, especially since it’s one of the oldest ships that Royal doesn’t put as much of a focus on. It jumped .12 points for a respectable middle-of-the-pack finish. 

What Else Changed From Last Year: You’ve probably noticed a theme here - nearly all of Royal Caribbean fleet has improved in almost every category. This means that there are going to be lots of instances where a ship’s score hardly changed, but the very fact that it didn’t improve much will push it’s ranking down in relation to its sister ships. That’s the case here with Oasis of the Seas, which achieved the 8th spot last year but was relegated to 22nd this year despite having an almost identical score. The name of the game for Royal in 2020 is this: if the ship didn’t significantly improve, it probably fell in its ranking compared to last year. 

 

Onboard Activities

best royal caribbean ships 2020 activities
The Ultimate Abyss slides on Symphony of the Seas - Photo by Royal Caribbean

1. Symphony of the Seas - 4.40
2. Harmony of the Seas - 4.35
3. Allure of the Seas - 4.33
4. Liberty of the Seas - 4.24
5. Freedom of the Seas - 4.22
6. Navigator of the Seas - 4.21
7. Oasis of the Seas - 4.20
8. Adventure of the Seas - 4.19
9. Anthem of the Seas - 4.18
10. Mariner of the Seas - 4.17
11. Independence of the Seas - 4.14
12. Ovation of the Seas - 4.10
13. Serenade of the Seas - 4.07
14. Jewel of the Seas - 4.06
15. Voyager of the Seas - 4.06
16. Rhapsody of the Seas - 4.04
17. Radiance of the Seas - 4.04
18. Brilliance of the Seas - 4.01
19. Enchantment of the Seas - 4.01
20. Explorer of the Seas - 3.99
21. Vision of the Seas - 3.99
22. Grandeur of the Seas - 3.94
23. Majesty of the Seas - 3.90
24. Empress of the Seas - 3.86

 

What We Expected: Symphony, Harmony, and Allure cleaned up again this year, just in the reverse top three order from last year! It’s no surprise that the three biggest cruise ships in the world would have the most varying and best activities to choose from, and we don’t expect these ships to fall in this category anytime soon. We also expected Grandeur, Majesty, and Empress to be at the bottom since they’re the oldest and smallest ships with not nearly as much to choose from, especially compared to their larger and newer sisters.

What Surprised Us: This is another category where Oasis of the Seas fell bafflingly short; it was beaten out by three ships older and smaller than itself: Liberty, Freedom, and Navigator of the Seas. Last year, it came in fifth place with the only older ship ahead being Liberty of the Seas. 

What Else Changed From Last Year: Freedom of the Seas made significant improvements, gaining .11 points over last year which earned it a 5th place finish. This ship is scheduled for a refurbishment in spring 2020, which we are hoping will improve its scores even more. Jewel and Anthem of the Seas also improved, with Jewel earning a 4.06 over last year’s disappointing 3.95, and Anthem jumping .13 points to take the 9th position. 

 

Entertainment

best royal caribbean ships 2019 entertainment
The Aqua Theater is one of Royal Caribbean's unique venues. - Photo by Royal Caribbean

1. Symphony of the Seas - 4.55
2. Allure of the Seas - 4.50
3. Harmony of the Seas - 4.47
4. Independence of the Seas - 4.33
5. Oasis of the Seas - 4.32
6. Navigator of the Seas - 4.32
7. Liberty of the Seas - 4.32
8. Freedom of the Seas - 4.30
9. Anthem of the Seas - 4.27
10. Adventure of the Seas - 4.25
11. Enchantment of the Seas - 4.24
12. Brilliance of the Seas - 4.20
13. Empress of the Seas - 4.19
14. Voyager of the Seas - 4.19
15. Rhapsody of the Seas - 4.19
16. Ovation of the Seas - 4.17
17. Serenade of the Seas - 4.16
18. Majesty of the Seas - 4.16
19. Jewel of the Seas - 4.16
20. Grandeur of the Seas - 4.15
21. Vision of the Seas - 4.15
22. Radiance of the Seas - 4.14
23. Mariner of the Seas - 4.13
24. Explorer of the Seas - 4.12

 

What We Expected: In yet another category, the Oasis-class ships swept the floor, and Oasis of the Seas joined them in the top five. Entertainment is varied and there are so many shows to choose from, including ice skating shows, high-dive performances in the AquaTheater, and Broadway-style musicals in the regular theater. 

What Surprised Us: Despite being so small and another year older, Majesty, Grandeur, and Empress of the Seas managed to stay in the middle of the pack. 

What Else Changed From Last Year: Mariner fell far down the list from 8th place to 23rd, but only dropped .02 points. Serenade and Jewel both improved greatly, with Serenade gaining .17 points over last year and Jewel gaining .15. 

 

Children’s Programs

best royal caribbean ships 2020 kids
Splashaway Bay on Harmony of the Seas - Photo by Royal Caribbean

1. Harmony of the Seas - 4.26
2. Symphony of the Seas - 4.24
3. Independence of the Seas - 4.17
4. Freedom of the Seas - 4.13
5. Liberty of the Seas - 4.12
6. Mariner of the Seas - 4.08
7. Navigator of the Seas - 4.07
8. Adventure of the Seas - 4.07
9. Allure of the Seas - 4.04
10. Oasis of the Seas - 4.00
11. Radiance of the Seas - 3.95
12. Brilliance of the Seas - 3.94
13. Jewel of the Seas - 3.94
14. Serenade of the Seas - 3.93
15. Explorer of the Seas - 3.92
16. Ovation of the Seas - 3.90
17. Anthem of the Seas - 3.89
18. Enchantment of the Seas - 3.85
19. Rhapsody of the Seas - 3.82
20. Majesty of the Seas - 3.81
21. Empress of the Seas - 3.69
22. Grandeur of the Seas - 3.68
23. Vision of the Seas - 3.55

 

What We Expected: Harmony maintained its top spot for Children’s Programs and actually improved by .03 points this year. Symphony moved up from 5th place to take spot #2, which doesn’t surprise us because like we mentioned earlier, this is likely an area where the ship found its footing as time went on. 

What Surprised Us: Oasis of the Seas fell hard in this category, from the third spot down to tenth, dropping .16 points for a score of 4.00. We hope to see this number go back up in 2020, since Oasis underwent a dry dock in late 2019 which included the addition of new slides and a revamped kid’s water park. We were also surprised to see Vision of the Seas drop to last place since it was in 14th last year with a score of 3.95. A .4 point drop is quite significant, and we’re wondering what shifted onboard to cause this. 

What Else Changed From Last Year: Anthem of the Seas dropped from 12th place to 17th with a .07 point decrease. Seeing Anthem and Ovation both in the middle of the pack reminds us that even though the Quantum-class is newer, those ships have always struggled a bit with some older ships rising above them in most categories. 

 

Ship Quality

best royal caribbean ships 2020 quality
The Central Park neighborhood on Harmony of the Seas - Photo by Royal Caribbean

1. Harmony of the Seas - 4.65
2. Symphony of the Seas - 4.64
3. Allure of the Seas - 4.59
4. Ovation of the Seas - 4.54
5. Mariner of the Seas - 4.51
6. Independence of the Seas - 4.51
7. Anthem of the Seas - 4.50
8. Navigator of the Seas - 4.50
9. Liberty of the Seas - 4.49
10. Oasis of the Seas - 4.49
11. Adventure of the Seas - 4.48
12. Jewel of the Seas - 4.44
13. Freedom of the Seas - 4.43
14. Brilliance of the Seas - 4.42
15. Rhapsody of the Seas - 4.40
16. Serenade of the Seas - 4.39
17. Grandeur of the Seas - 4.37
18. Voyager of the Seas - 4.36
19. Radiance of the Seas - 4.34
20. Explorer of the Seas - 4.34
21. Vision of the Seas - 4.33
22. Majesty of the Seas - 4.21
23. Empress of the Seas - 4.20
24. Enchantment of the Seas - 4.18

 

What We Expected: The same ships in the same exact order took the top three spots both this year and last: Harmony, Symphony, and Allure. Majesty, Empress, and Enchantment all stayed in the bottom three, though in a different order from last year. This is to be expected since they’re among the line’s oldest, and ship quality is the most obvious category that suffers due to age. 

What Surprised Us: As an offshoot to what we just said, it’s surprising to see Grandeur move up the ranks, edging out the newer (but still old) Radiance and Explorer of the Seas. Last year the ship was #21, and this year it’s in 17th with a .05 point increase. 

What Else Changed From Last Year: Last year Oasis was #4, but this year fell to 10th place. We assume the late 2019 dry dock will move its placement back up this coming year. Vision of the Seas also fell considerably, from 12th place down to 21st. 

 

What We Learned

  • The three newest Oasis-class ships continue to dominate in most categories, but Oasis of the Seas is lagging a bit behind.
  • The level of service you receive on Royal Caribbean doesn’t seem to correlate with the age or size of the ship - these rankings are all over the map. 
  • Though the Quantum class is Royal’s newest class of ships, its ships Ovation and Anthem of the Seas both tend to be in the middle of the pack for most categories, demonstrating that the newest doesn’t always equal best. 

Note: Spectrum, Quantum, and Splendor of the Seas were not included because we did not have enough reviews for an accurate average score.

 

 

Join the discussion

What's your favorite Royal Caribbean ship?

3 Comments

Posted by Mora812

Love cruising

Posted by steverk

I'm been surprised by Liberty of the Seas strong performance. Don't get me wrong, I've sailed her multiple times and have loved her every time! However, I'm wondering if Texans might be agreeable sort that give her better ratings than other cruisers would. Any thoughts?

Posted by cruisellama

Pleasantly surprised by Liberty also. Sailing a second time this spring with more family members. I did like the ship (even after sailing Oasis class). As its based in Galveston, its itinerary is limited. But offers a lot of activities for a ship of its class.

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