1. Home
  2. Planning
  3. Cruise Policies and Inside Info
  4. What Are the Oasis-class Ships?
Oasis of the Seas
Oasis of the Seas

What Are the Oasis-class Ships?

Perhaps you've seen TV commercials featuring cruise passengers dancing with Shrek and Fiona, giving a surf simulator a try and zooming down a zipline high above an open deck with a Johnny Rockets and authentic carousel. If so, you've seen an ad for Royal Caribbean's Oasis class of ship, probably the line's most popular -- and most expensive -- ship class.

The largest cruise ships in the world, these behemoths can carry more than 6,000 passengers each at full capacity. They boast seven distinct neighborhoods, numerous specialty restaurants, some of the line's most exciting attractions and straight-from-Broadway production shows like "Mamma Mia!" and "Grease." The Oasis-class ships have the most to offer of any of Royal Caribbean's ships.

But despite having most features in common, ships within Royal Caribbean's Oasis class do differ, particularly between the older ships (Oasis and Allure, launched in 2009 and 2010, respectively) and newest ones (Harmony of the Seas, launched in 2016, and Symphony of the Seas, launched in 2018).

Here's everything you need to know to help you decide whether the Oasis class is right for you and which ship within the class you'd like best.

Updated March 29, 2018

Oasis-class Ships

  • Oasis of the Seas
  • Allure of the Seas
  • Harmony of the Seas
  • Symphony of the Seas

Oasis-class Amenities

Divided into seven themed neighborhoods (Entertainment Place, Central Park, Youth Zone, Boardwalk, among others), the Oasis-class ships are designed to prevent crowding and keep passengers busy all day long. FlowRider surf simulators, a zipline, rock climbing walls, multiple swimming pools and whirlpools, an H2O water park, plus afternoon AquaTheater stunt diving shows, Broadway-style musicals in the theater at night and dozens of restaurants and bars -- including the funky Bionic Bar -- provide enough stimulation to prevent a single moment of boredom.

Additionally, all Oasis-class ships feature an ice skating rink, fully functional carousel, 3D movies, a kids club and the Royal Babies & Tots Nursery. Three of the four also have the DreamWorks Experience (which brings characters from movies like "Shrek," "Kung Fun Panda" and "Madagascar" to the ship).

For those who enjoy the suite life, Oasis-class ships feature the full Royal Suite Class experience, which gives suite passengers a host of perks (depending on suite level) that can include butler service, free internet, free specialty dining and drinks, ensuite dining options and free access to the spa's thermal room.

Differences Among Ships Within the Oasis Class

Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas are virtually identical with the main difference being which Broadway show is shown in the main theater: Oasis of the Seas features "Cats," while Allure of the Seas presents "Mamma Mia!" Secondary shows in the main theater differ on all four of the Oasis-class ships.

Both have the child-friendly H2O Zone, a splashy water park that features water cannons, interactive geysers, climbable sculptures and waterfalls.

Harmony of the Seas is differentiated from Oasis and Allure, with a handful of restaurants not found on the others -- Jamie's Italian, a trattoria-style eatery from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, and Wonderland, which lets diners discover a variety of whimsical molecular gastronomic creations. Harmony of the Seas also boasts several multi-deck water slides, the Abyss (the tallest regular slide at sea) and an Escape Room, in which cruisers are given 60 minutes to solve a collection of puzzles that lead to the way out of the room. And on Harmony, rather than an H2O Zone, there is Splashaway Bay, which features water cannons, a multilevel jungle gym and an enormous drenching bucket. The Broadway show on Harmony is "Grease."

Symphony of the Seas, which launched in late March 2018, is most similar to Harmony of the Seas with many of the same restaurants, the multi-deck water slides and the Abyss, but differs in a few key ways. Two restaurants on Symphony of the Seas are not available on the other Oasis-class ships: they are El Loco Fresh, which focuses on Mexican quick bites like tacos and other food-to-go items, and Hooked Seafood, a casual eatery with a menu of fresh seafood and a raw bar.

A significant difference between Symphony of the Seas and all the other Oasis-class ships will be a reimagined Boardwalk with a Playmakers Sports Bar spanning the entire length of the space. Inside will be more than 30 TVs streaming sports games, plus a variety of arcade games including video games and Skeeball. A menu will offer up craft beer and pub-style fare such as wings and burgers.

Also, only on Symphony will be a laser tag arena; it will be a glow-in-the-dark attraction with a galactic theme.

Like Harmony of the Seas, Symphony will have Splashaway Bay, rather than the H2O Zone. The Broadway show on Symphony will be "Hairspray."

Find a Cruise
Email me when prices drop

Best For

If you want the Royal Caribbean experience you've seen in TV commercials, the Oasis-class ships are for you. Adrenaline junkies, groups of friends and families with varied tastes and cruisers who don't want to feel like they're on a ship will love any one of the four Oasis-class ships. While options for rest and relaxation are available, the Oasis-class vessels are more appropriate for cruisers who want to be constantly engaged in some activity or another.

Cruisers who don't like Oasis-class ships say the vessels are too crowded and they spend most of their time planning their day rather than actually enjoying their day. Other complaints include the need to book shows and dining ahead of time, standing in line and having to be on time in order to not lose an already-booked spot at a show or dinner. Cruisers who particularly enjoy being able to see the ocean also struggle with the Oasis-class ships as there are so many indoor spots where the outdoors is never visible.

Find a Cruise
Email me when prices drop

Popular on Cruise Critic

How To Choose a Cruise Ship Cabin: What You Need to Know
Your room on a cruise ship is called a cabin (or stateroom) and is akin to a hotel room, but typically much smaller. Choosing a cruise ship cabin can be fun and challenging at the same time, and not just a little bit frustrating on occasion. Cabins fall into different types or "categories," and some cruise lines will present as many as 20 or more categories per ship. Before you get overwhelmed, it's helpful to remember that there are essentially only four types of cabins on any cruise vessel: Inside: the smallest-sized room, with no window to the outside Outside: a room with a window or porthole (a round window) with a view to the outside, often similarly sized to an inside cabin or a bit larger; also known as oceanview Balcony: a room featuring a verandah that allows you to step outside without going up to a public deck Suite: a larger cabin, often with separate living and sleeping areas, and a wide variety of extra amenities and perks It's the permutations (size, view, location, amenities and price, for example) of the four basic cabin types that can make choosing difficult. In addition to knowing your cabin options, you need to know yourself: Do you tend to get seasick? Do you prefer to nest peaceably on your balcony rather than hanging with the crowd around the pool area? Conversely, is your idea of a stateroom simply a place to flop into bed at 1 a.m. -- no fancy notions necessary? Are there certain amenities you are willing to splurge on, or can you simply not justify paying for unnecessary perks? The answers will help guide you toward selecting the best stateroom for your money. If you're feeling overwhelmed by choice, we'll help you get started with this guide to choosing the best cruise cabins for you and your travel party.
8 Best Luxury Cruise Ships
The moment you step aboard a luxury cruise ship, a hostess is at your arm proffering a glass of bubbly while a capable room steward offers to heft your carry-on as he escorts you to what will be your home-away-from-home for the next few days. You stow your things (likely in a walk-in closet) and then emerge from your suite to get the lay of the ship. As you walk the decks, friendly crew members greet you ... by name. How can that be? You just set foot onboard! First-class, personalized service is just one of the hallmarks of luxury cruise lines. You can also expect exotic itineraries, varying degrees of inclusivity in pricing, fine wines and gourmet cuisine as well as universally high crew-to-passenger ratios. That being the case, you might think any old luxury cruise ship will do, but that's not quite true. Like people, cruise ships have their own unique personalities -- and some will be more suited to your vacation style than others. Lines like SeaDream might not offer the most spacious suites, but their intimate yachts can stealthily visit ports that large ships can't manage. Regent Seven Seas and Oceania Cruises are owned by the same parent company but Regent offers a completely inclusive vacation experience, while Oceania draws travelers with a more independent streak. Take a look at Cruise Critic's list of best luxury cruise lines and ships to see which one resonates with you.
Best Time to Cruise
It's one of the most common cruising questions: When is the best time to cruise Alaska, Australia, the Caribbean, Canada/New England, Hawaii, Europe or the South Pacific? The answer depends on many variables. For example, fall foliage enthusiasts will find September and October the best time to cruise Canada/New England, whereas families prefer to sail in summer when temperatures are warmer for swimming. The best time to cruise to Alaska will vary depending on your preferences for viewing wildlife, fishing, bargain-shopping, sunshine, warm weather and catching the northern lights. For most cruise regions, there are periods of peak demand (high season), moderate demand (shoulder season) and low demand (low season), which is usually the cheapest time to cruise. High season is typically a mix of when the weather is best and popular travel periods (such as summer and school holidays). However, the best time to cruise weather-wise is usually not the cheapest time to cruise. The cheapest time to cruise is when most travelers don't want to go because of chillier temperatures or inopportune timing (too close to holidays, the start of school, etc.). But the lure of cheap fares and uncrowded ports might make you change your mind about what you consider the best time to cruise. As you plan your next cruise, you'll want to take into consideration the best and cheapest times to cruise and see what jibes with your vacation schedule. Here's a when-to-cruise guide for popular destinations.