Nearly everyone has a favorite cruise ship. In this chart, we outline the key distinctions among the 10 most popular cruise ships in the industry. Look for highlights of onboard accommodations, dining and entertainment, as well as ship itineraries. Don't have a favorite cruise just yet? Our picks just might inspire you to find the perfect vacation match.
Want more info about these top 10 ships? Click on the vessel name below to read about ship highlights and find links to itineraries, a photo tour of the ship, a comprehensive expert review and hundreds of reader-submitted critiques.
1. Harmony of the Seas
It's hard to miss Harmony of the Seas' standout feature -- a pair of purple slides cascading down the back of the ship -- but the Ultimate Abyss isn't the Royal Caribbean ship's only claim to fame. Harmony provides an Oasis-class experience (different "neighborhoods," adrenaline-pumping outdoor activities and high-class entertainment), as well as a taste of the line's Quantum class, with robotic bartenders at the Bionic Bar and a family-style dinner at Jamie's Italian.
- A variety of free and for-fee options offers something for every taste
- Wonderland serves up whimsical cuisine using molecular gastronomy
- Johnny Rockets is a great, free alternative for breakfast
- "Grease" production show brings the Broadway original to life
- Escape room makes for a fun, challenging group activity
- Outdoor entertainment includes water slides, zipline and surf simulators
2. Carnival Vista
Carnival Vista epitomizes the line's "Fun Ship" moniker. It offers the most variety of restaurants, bars, entertainment and outdoor fun of any Carnival ship. There's even an exclusive Havana area with a pool, hot tubs and bar available during the day to those staying in Cabana cabins. (A separate, Cuba-themed Havana Bar is open to all passengers, day and night.)
Deployment: Year-round Caribbean cruises from Miami
- Bonsai Sushi serves some of the best rolls and sashimi at sea
- Staples such as Guy's Burger Joint and BlueIguana Cantina
- DIY pasta bar for lunch at Cucina del Capitano
- Outdoor recreation includes sky-high bike and ropes course
- RedFrog Pub & Brewery offers craft beer, tours and tastings
- IMAX theater, perfect for rainy days and lazy nights
3. Norwegian Escape
The first ship in Norwegian's massive Breakaway Plus class, Norwegian Escape is an ideal choice for people who want high-quality entertainment and variety. The 4,200-passenger ship features two Broadway-style shows, 28 bars and restaurants and a handful of recreational activities -- including one of the scariest water slides at sea.
- Alfresco dining offered in The Waterfront
- Traditional Spanish tapas served at Pincho
- Norwegian staples like Cagney's and Teppanyaki
- The District Brew House is a beer lover's dream
- Largest ropes course at sea
- Spice H2O turns into an outdoor nightclub
4. Oasis of the Seas
You might need to blink twice to realize you're not in a resort while onboard Oasis of the Seas. The first ship in Royal Caribbean's Oasis class is broken up into neighborhoods -- including the lush, restaurant-lined Central Park and Coney Island-style Boardwalk -- and offers jaw-dropping entertainment and outdoor activities. Just make sure to reserve shows in advance, as they tend to fill up fast.
- More than 20 dining options (about half cost extra)
- Fan favorite Park Cafe for paninis, salads
- Coastal Kitchen restaurant for suite passengers only
- Water park with slides and water sprayers
- Each bar has a unique vibe, music, decor and drink list
- Great interactive show: "Hasbro, the Game Show"
5. Celebrity Equinox
Sleek and sophisticated, yet relaxed, Celebrity Equinox treats its passengers to top-notch dining, bars and service. Four specialty restaurants, as well as a handful of complimentary options, offer something for every craving -- including French (Murano), Italian (Tuscan Grille) and pan-Asian (Silk Harvest).
Deployment: Year-round Caribbean cruises from Miami
- Fabulous sit-down breakfast at Silhouette dining room
- Order Sushi on Five rolls to go or to your cabin
- Gastrobar serves gourmet bites with craft beer
- Real-grass sun deck for picnics and lawn games
- Quasar nightclub hosts silent disco parties
- Burlesque-style, late-night entertainment
6. MSC Divina
From its Swarovski crystal staircases to its main theater, MSC Divina is a show-stopping ship. Looks aside, it has a solid dining program, with its Eataly partnership offering some of the best specialty restaurants at sea. The ship also treats those who want a more luxurious experience to an exclusive, key card access-only suite enclave called the Yacht Club.
- Eataly restaurants serve quality meals with fresh ingredients
- Dinner with a view at Galaxy Disco Restaurant
- Private restaurant, Le Muse, for Yacht Club passengers
- Sweeping ocean views from top-deck infinity pool
- Wine bar allows you to blend and bottle your own creations
- Virtual World includes race car simulator and 4D cinema
7. Anthem of the Seas
The innovative, 4,180-passenger Anthem of the Seas debuted in 2015 with crazy attractions like a skydiving simulator and a London Eye-style glass pod that rises over the pool deck. The high-tech Royal Caribbean ship offers fast Wi-Fi, onboard bookings via tablets and apps, and RFID bracelets for cabin access and on-ship purchases. The look is classy and modern, and cruisers are spoiled for choice in dining, accommodations and sea day fun.
- Jamie's Italian offers family-style dinner in a colorful space
- Don't miss pub snacks at Michael's Genuine Pub
- Vegetarian dishes and healthy options are indicated on menus
- SeaPlex offers bumper cars, roller skating and trapeze lessons
- Hit shows "We Will Rock You" and high-tech "Spectra's Cabaret"
- Gorgeous adults-only Solarium with cascading pools
8. Norwegian Breakaway
Rocking a New York theme in honor of its homeport, Norwegian Breakaway offers a far-from-traditional cruising experience. The 4,028-passenger ship is jam-packed with dining and entertainment options, and prides itself on freestyle dining -- which means there are no set dining times or seat assignments.
- Many restaurants offer alfresco dining
- Free options include supper club, noodle bar and grill
- Cirque Dreams and Dinner show is family-friendly
- Popular shows include "Rock of Ages" and "Burn the Floor"
- At night, enjoy live jazz, comedy, dueling piano players and theme parties
- Top-deck attractions like rock climbing, water slides and ropes course
9. Celebrity Summit
At 2,158 passengers, Celebrity Summit offers a more intimate feel compared to other big ships. Passengers can enjoy the line's signature high-quality restaurants (both free and for-fee) and classy bars, with attentive service. Need to detox? The Persian Garden thermal suite has heated loungers and various spa rooms.
- Food-and-film pairing on the sun deck
- Qsine diners order whimsical dishes on iPads
- Exclusive restaurant, Blu, for AquaClass passengers
- Impressive cocktails served at Martini Bar
- Adults-only Solarium for no-sunburn lounging
- Live music and ocean views at Sunset Bar
10. Allure of the Seas
The 5,400-passenger Allure of the Seas builds on the blueprint introduced by its Royal Caribbean sister, Oasis of the Seas (and now found on Harmony of the Seas). The ships feature attractions like ziplining and a handmade wooden carousel, but Allure has its own twists, including a Brazilian churrascaria and the Broadway show "Mamma Mia!"
- 20-plus dining options
- Johnny Rockets burgers, hot dog joint
- Alternative venues: Japanese, Italian, steakhouse, Mexican
- Coney Island-style Boardwalk with carousel
- Outdoor AquaTheater for daredevil diving shows
- "Beach" and "sports" pools, plus H2O zone for kids