Harmony of the Seas

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 ship just yet? Our picks just might inspire you to find the perfect vacation match.

Want more info about these top 10 cruise 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 this 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.  

Deployment: Year-round Caribbean cruises out of Fort Lauderdale and Orlando

Sleep

  • Cabins are compact but cozy, with lots of storage space
  • Solo cabins do not bear a single supplement
  • Family Presidential Suite can accommodate 14 people
  • Cabin Reviews
  • Deck Plans

Eat

  • 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

Fun

  • "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

Photo Tour of Harmony of the Seas


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 (alongside its newer sister, Carnival Horizon). 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 and Galveston

Sleep

  • All cabins are capable of fitting two to five people
  • Family Harbor cabins include a private lounge and free group babysitting
  • Cloud 9 Spa cabins come with spa freebies
  • Cabin Reviews
  • Deck Plans

Eat

  • 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

Fun

  • 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

Photo Tour of Carnival Vista


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.

Deployment: Caribbean cruises from Miami; Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda and Canada/New England cruises from New York

Sleep

  • Cabins boast a contemporary, sophisticated design
  • Variety of categories include family, spa and solo
  • The fleet's largest suite-only enclave, The Haven
  • Cabin Reviews
  • Deck Plans

Eat

  • Alfresco dining offered in The Waterfront
  • Traditional Spanish tapas served at Pincho
  • Norwegian staples like Cagney's and Teppanyaki

Fun

  • The District Brew House is a beer lover's dream
  • Largest ropes course at sea
  • Spice H2O turns into an outdoor nightclub

Photo Tour of Norwegian Escape


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.

Deployment: Caribbean cruises from Miami and Orlando; Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona and Rome

Sleep

  • In-facing balconies overlook Central Park and Boardwalk 
  • Apartment-sized double-decker "Lofts" 
  • Family cabins, from insides to suites
  • Cabin Reviews
  • Deck Plans

Eat

  • More than 20 dining options (about half cost extra)
  • Fan favorite Park Cafe for paninis, salads 
  • Coastal Kitchen restaurant for suite passengers only

Fun

  • 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"

Photo Tour of Oasis of the Seas


5. Celebrity Equinox

Equinox Theater on 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 and Bahamas cruises from Miami and Fort Lauderdale

Sleep

  • Cozy, neutral color scheme in all cabins 
  • Spacious inside cabins range from 183 to 200 square feet 
  • Concierge Class balcony cabins include added perks
  • Cabin Reviews
  • Deck Plans

Eat

  • 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

Fun

  • Real-grass sun deck for picnics and lawn games
  • Silent disco parties hosted in various lounges
  • Burlesque-style, late-night entertainment

Photo Tour of Celebrity Equinox


6. Anthem of the Seas

The innovative, 4,180-passenger Anthem of the Seas is all about the wow factor, with attractions like a skydiving simulator and a London Eye-style glass pod that rises over the pool deck. Tech-savvy cruisers also will love the ship's fast Wi-Fi, the ability to make 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.

Deployment: Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean and Canada/New England cruises from Bayonne

Sleep

  • 75 percent of cabins have balconies
  • Inside rooms feature "virtual balconies" with ocean views
  • Choice of suite types, all with extra perks and exclusive dining room
  • Cabin Reviews
  • Deck Plans

Eat

  • Jamie's Italian offers family-style dinner in a colorful space
  • Find macarons, petits-fours and chocolates galore at La Patisserie
  • Vegetarian dishes and healthy options are indicated on menus

Fun

  • 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

Photo Tour of Anthem of the Seas


7. Norwegian Breakaway

Rocking a New York theme, Norwegian Breakaway very well might be the ship that never sleeps, with all the activities on offer. The 4,028-passenger ship is jampacked with restaurants and entertainment options -- including a rock 'n' roll bar and a special musical just for wine lovers -- and prides itself on freestyle dining, which means there are no set dining times or seat assignments.

Deployment: Caribbean cruises from New Orleans, Miami and Orlando; Europe cruises from Copenhagen

Sleep

  • Energy-efficient cabins require key cards to operate lighting and power
  • Haven suites get private courtyard with a small pool, exclusive lounge and restaurant 
  • No-supplement solo cabins have private lounge access
  • Cabin Reviews
  • Deck Plans

Eat

  • Many restaurants offer alfresco dining
  • Free options include supper club, noodle bar and grill
  • Cirque Dreams and Dinner show is family-friendly

Fun

  • 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

Photo Tour of Norwegian Breakaway


8. 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 and Symphony of the Seas). The ship features attractions like ziplining and a handmade wooden carousel, but Allure has its own twists, including a Brazilian churrascaria and the Broadway show "Mamma Mia!"

Deployment: Year-round Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale and Miami

Sleep

  • 20-plus cabin categories ranging from insides to suites 
  • Cabin TVs let cruisers book tours, order room service and more
  • Top-end rooms include lofts, two-bedroom suites overlooking the AquaTheater
  • Cabin Reviews
  • Deck Plans

Eat

  • 20-plus dining options, both free and for a fee 
  • First-ever "food truck" at sea serves hot dogs and sausages
  • Alternative venues: Japanese, Italian, steakhouse, Mexican

Fun

  • Coney Island-style Boardwalk with a carousel 
  • Outdoor AquaTheater for daredevil diving shows 
  • "Beach" and "sports" pools, plus H2O Zone for kids

Photo Tour of Allure of the Seas


9. Norwegian Epic

Norwegian Epic

Fit for every type of traveler -- couples, solos, families and groups alike -- Norwegian Epic offers a variety of activities day and night, from cooling off with the largest bowl slide at sea to dining in the midst of an acrobatic performance at the Cirque Dreams & Dinner show. When you need an escape, head to the adults-only, Ibiza-inspired sun deck, where plenty of lounge chairs and a refreshing pool await.

Deployment: Caribbean and Bahamas cruises from Orlando and San Juan; Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona and Rome

Sleep

  • Every outside cabin has a balcony
  • Two-deck complex for solo travelers
  • Unique design with separate rooms for sink and toilet
  • Cabin Reviews
  • Deck Plans

Eat

  • Great Outdoors alfresco restaurant serves world cuisine for free
  • Asian food lovers can dine at four free and for-fee options
  • Intimate specialty restaurants are perfect for date nights

Fun

  • Full-sized, three-lane bowling alley beckons competitive cruisers
  • Splash Golf (nine holes with water jets) is perfect for families
  • Beatles-themed bar offers great beer and live music

Photo Tour of Norwegian Epic


10. Liberty of the Seas

Liberty of the Seas

Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas might not be one of the biggest ships in the fleet, but it offers no shortage of activities. In fact, it's home to a slew of features not found on most -- if any -- other ships, including a cupcake eatery, kids-only Splashaway Bay water park and one of the most thrilling water slides at sea. Don't worry: You'll still get to enjoy Royal Caribbean staples like the FlowRider surf simulator, rock climbing wall and Perfect Storm pair of high-speed water slides -- as well as dining favorites like Giovanni's Table and Chops Grille.

Deployment: Year-round Caribbean cruises from Galveston

Sleep

  • Select interior cabins offer views of the Royal Promenade
  • Family-friendly options in each category offer more beds and storage space
  • One Presidential Family Suites sleeps up to 14
  • Cabin Reviews
  • Deck Plans

Eat

  • Burgers and shakes at Johnny Rockets make for tasty casual eats
  • Cupcake Cupboard satisfies any sweet tooth (and offers decorating classes)
  • Specialty Mexican restaurant Sabor serves tableside guacamole

Fun

  • Thrilling Tidal Wave is the only boomerang-style slide at sea
  • Main street-style Royal Promenade is lined with bars, eateries and shops
  • Ice skating rink theater puts on jaw-dropping shows

Photo Tour of Liberty of the Seas