Many of Royal Caribbean's most iconic ship features made their first appearances on the Voyager-class group of ships. Built between 1999 and 2003, the five ships in the class were the first to have the Royal Promenade indoor shopping and dining boulevard, rock climbing walls and ice skating rinks. (The rock climbing wall has since been rolled out to all Royal Caribbean ships.) The ships were also the line's first foray into carrying more than 3,000 passengers, paving the way for the larger Freedom-class ships. (Voyager-class ships carry somewhere between 3,100 and 3,600 people, depending on the ship.)
Cruisers will find lots to do on the Voyager-class ships. All have multiple pools and whirlpools, an ice skating rink, rock climbing wall and mini-golf. All also feature a Royal Promenade where cruisers can enjoy people-watching, have a drink in a pub, stop at the Cafe Promenade for a quick snack or go shopping.
When it comes to dining, all Voyager-class ships have several alternative dining venues, with all five ships having Chops Grille and Giovanni's Table. All but one have the casual Johnny Rockets as well.
Lounges are pretty much the same across the class, with all having a Schooner Bar, an English-style pub and a Diamond Club for the highest-level loyalty program members.
The five Voyager-class ships in Royal Caribbean's fleet are nearly identical in terms of size and passenger count (Navigator of the Seas is the largest with 3,686 passengers; Adventure and Voyager of the Seas have the least with 3,114 passengers), but there are a few significant differences among them when it comes to onboard attractions.
Four of the five -- Explorer of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas -- boast FlowRider surf simulators, while only two -- Adventure of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas -- have the Perfect Storm duo of water slides. (Mariner is getting both the FlowRider and Perfect Storm during a massive refurbishment in March 2018 after spending five years in China.) Adventure is the only ship with the Splashaway Bay water park for kids.
Mariner of the Seas will also boast the super high-tech SkyPad, a virtual reality, bungee-trampoline experience during which riders strap on a VR headset and then bounce their way over obstacles as they move through another time, place or planet.
Voyager of the Seas is the only ship in the class to have the DreamWorks Experience (Mariner of the Seas is losing the experience as of June 2018), and only Adventure of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas offer onboard scuba certification. Of the five, only Explorer of the Seas offers virtual balcony accommodations.
Dining options also differ across the Voyager class, with Navigator of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas having the widest selection. All five have Chops Grille, and four have Giovanni's Table (Mariner is soon to lose its version). As of spring 2018, Explorer and Mariner will be the only ships to offer Jamie's Italian, while Navigator has Sabor. All but Adventure have Izumi (though Mariner's Izumi will be the only one with a hibachi grill element).
Finally, when it comes to bars and lounges, Adventure, Mariner and Navigator of the Seas have a Boleros; Explorer, Navigator and Voyager of the Seas have an R Bar; and only Navigator of the Seas has the Vintages Wine Bar.
After its March refurbishment, Mariner of the Seas will also be the only ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet to have the Polynesian-themed The Bamboo Room bar and just the second in the fleet to have the Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, which offers coverage of live sporting events, along with ice-cold brews, pub grub and arcade-style games.
Families with small kids should note that only Mariner and Navigator of the Seas offer the Royal Babies & Tots Nursery with babysitting.
Like the Freedom-class ships, Voyager-class vessels are best for cruisers who want an active cruise experience without having to be on a massive ship. But because Freedom-class ships took the Voyager-class concept to another level with more restaurants and a larger Promenade, the Voyager-class ships maintain a bit more of the midsized ship feel -- not too overwhelming, but not cramped either.
Of the five, Mariner of the Seas, after its March 2018 refurbishment, will offer more of Royal Caribbean's newest attractions. Though it will not have activities like the Ultimate Abyss or RipCord by iFly skydiving, it will have the SkyPad virtual reality experience, as well as the laser tag arena, an escape room and Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade -- all of which are elsewise only found on Royal Caribbean's biggest ships.
Budget-conscious cruisers will like the prices for Voyager-class cruises; because they are slightly older, the Voyager-class ships tend to be more moderately priced than the Freedom-, Oasis- and Quantum-class ships.
Updated January 08, 2020