The 6 best Royal Caribbean ships for adults

23 April 2023

Royal Caribbean is known for some of the world’s largest cruise ships, over-the-top onboard amenities and some of the best entertainment at sea — perfect for young families. While Royal Caribbean does not run adults-only cruises, grownups traveling without children will be glad to know that certain ships seem tailor-made for couples, mom-and-daughter duos or parents traveling with their adult children.

With over 25 ships in its fleet, Royal Caribbean has a ship for every type of traveler, not just families with young kids. Whether you’re looking for fewer upper-deck attractions and more places to relax outside or upscale dining and entertainment for a date night after an exciting day in port, this cruise line has you covered.

Also, most ships offer adults-only pools and lounges where you can escape from the younger cruisers on board if you so choose. Cruisers looking for a party scene can enjoy nightclubs open until the wee hours of the morning, and foodies can find an elevated dining experience at the line’s many specialty restaurants.

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For the avid traveler looking to get away from the standard Caribbean sailings, some of the line’s ships have sailings that go to unique ports of call where you can immerse yourself in a new culture and indulge in local culinary delights.

If you’re looking for a more grownup vacation, these are the six best Royal Caribbean cruise ships for adults.

Rhapsody of the Seas

Rhapsody of the Seas. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Don’t overlook Rhapsody of the Seas just because it’s one of the oldest ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet. It still has lots to offer adults looking for a fun getaway, especially to Europe, where you can book back-to-back port-intensive cruises for a customized vacation. 

Rhapsody of the Seas offers some unique sailings, including a two-night sailing from Israel that can be tacked onto longer Mediterranean sailings, such as five-night Greek Isles cruises. For an even longer sailing, consider the 14-night transatlantic cruise, which stops in Alicante, Spain, the Canary Islands and the Bahamas. 

Related: Best Mediterranean cruises for every type of traveler

The ship is also one of Royal Caribbean’s smallest, carrying 1,998 passengers at double occupancy (compared to 5,734 on Wonder of the Seas). Yet it’s got much to offer adults looking to relax after a long day of sightseeing. Book a relaxing treatment, such as a couples massage or solo facial, in the serene oasis of the Vitality Spa. Or take a dip in the Solarium, the adults-only retreat with loungers, pools and panoramic ocean views.

In the evening, watch the sunset at the ship’s signature Viking Crown Lounge, where floor-to-ceiling windows surround clusters of cozy lounge chairs just beckoning adults to linger over their favorite drink and enjoy the view. After dark, the lounge becomes a dance club with a DJ.

Grownups can also enjoy evening dance parties and movies under the stars on the pool deck as the ship sails to its next port of call. Chops Grille, the onboard steakhouse, provides an intimate setting for a romantic dinner for two.

Anthem of the Seas

Anthem of the Seas. MICHEL VERDURE/ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Adults looking for unique onboard activities, mixed with a manageable size and more grownup vibe, will enjoy the 4,180-passenger Anthem of the Seas.

On board, the North Star, a pod-like viewing deck unique to this class of ships, suspends travelers 300 feet above the ocean for incredible views. We recommend taking the ride on a port day to get a birds-eye view of the shore and city skylines. For a different kind of thrill, try the RipCord by iFLY skydiving simulator, which gives you the sensation of free falling. 

Of course, no cruise is complete without dinner and a show. One of the more unique things about Anthem of the Seas is its four smaller main dining rooms rather than one enormous main restaurant. Of the four venues, The Grande is the most elegant and tends to draw in more adults. After dinner, head to the theater to see “We Will Rock You,” a musical tribute to Queen that originated in London’s West End. Anthem is the only Royal Caribbean ship to offer this production.

Related: The craziest attractions you’ll find on a cruise ship

The ship also caters to adults with the time and desire for longer vacations, with seven- to 14-night summer cruises to the Norwegian fjords, Canary Islands and the Mediterranean. If you want to stay stateside, there are seven and eight-night sailings that go from Cape Liberty to Royal Caribbean’s private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay. You can find a more grownup vibe at the Chill Island beach or the swim-up bar in the Oasis Lagoon pool. The line has hinted that an adults-only beach is coming soon.

Quantum of the Seas

Quantum of the Seas. MICHAEL WESSELS/ROYAL CARIBBEAN

The longer the cruise, the fewer the kids. So, for a very adult Royal Caribbean cruise, choose the 4,180-passenger Quantum of the Seas for its longer sailings to Hawaii, the South Pacific or Australia. You’ll visit some of the most beautiful islands in the world and find far fewer kids on board due to the duration and school-year timing of the itineraries. 

For an adult-focused cruise to Alaska, try Quantum’s weeklong voyages to the Last Frontier from May through September. The ship sails to such exciting ports of call as Skagway, Sitka and Ketchikan and offers scenic cruising through the Endicott Arm and by Dawes Glacier. 

You’ll find plenty of kids on board during Alaska sailings. However, adults rarely have to go far to find a place without kids. (Plus, the ship’s excellent kids club keeps many young cruisers entertained and out of sight.)

Adults can seek out age-appropriate fun at the onboard escape room, watch an outdoor movie under the stars or embrace their inner child by shooting hoops or driving bumper cars at the SeaPlex. By day, enjoy a drink or snack and take in the 270-degree views in the Two70 lounge. Return at night when the space transforms into an immersive theater using high-tech elements to put on musical performances. 

If you’re looking for great views from the pool or hot tub, head to the indoor, adults-only Solarium, where you never have to worry about the cold Alaska weather or the hot Hawaiian sun making you uncomfortable. The forward-facing venue offers unobstructed views from the plentiful lounge chairs around the windows. 

Related: 35 Royal Caribbean cruise tips and tricks that will make your voyage better

Quantum of the Seas, like sister ship Anthem, has a multitude of dining venues that serve great dishes around the ship. A meal at Wonderland is worth the additional cost because it’s as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the taste buds. The molecular gastronomy menu features delightful bites of pork belly, tuna sashimi and buffalo chicken presented in a playful way that guests might not expect (and most kids may not appreciate). 

Mariner of the Seas

Mariner of the Seas. MICHEL VERDURE/ROYAL CARIBBEAN

The 3,114-passenger Mariner of the Seas is an ideal ship for multigenerational cruises, with plenty of activities to please everyone from young adults to grandparents. 

Older adults play cards or read in the serene library and card room or enjoy the ocean views from the Solarium. Young adults can pack their day with high-energy activities, such as laser tag, ice skating and boogie boarding on the FlowRider surf simulator. 

At night, everyone in the family can come together for a meal. Reserve a table at Jamie’s Italian for a special group dinner. All of the pasta is made fresh, including the signature truffle tagliatelle, where thick noodles are tossed in truffle cream with fresh truffles and a hint of nutmeg. The fan-favorite “meat plank” is easy to share and laden with salami, prosciutto, mozzarella and focaccia. 

Afterward, the group can catch the ice skating show (you’re never too old to enjoy the musical numbers and colorful costumes) or musical performances in the main theater before the younger set heads to the bars and the older generation turns in for the night. 

Mariner of the Seas sails from Galveston, Texas, and Port Canaveral, Florida, to destinations across the Bahamas and Caribbean. Shorter four or five-night sailings are a great way to fit in a long weekend away, especially for younger adults with less time off work. Longer eight-night sailings to the islands make for a true getaway. 

Jewel of the Seas

Jewel of the Seas. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Adults who relish scenic cruising should look no further than the 2,702-passenger Jewel of the Seas. The beautiful ship travels to a wide range of destinations, with fall foliage sailings in Canada and New England, adventurous itineraries to the Arctic Circle and northern destinations like Iceland and Greenland, and traditional cruises to the Caribbean.

The smaller ship is more desirable for adults looking to enjoy the destinations they are visiting rather than trying out the latest attractions at sea. The Viking Crown Lounge offers a quiet getaway during the day for looking out over the passing scenery and a hyped-up dance club at night. You can even get great landscape views from the glass elevators running along the sides of the ship. 

No matter where you sail, Jewel of the Seas offers plenty of onboard activities suitable for adults. Take an all-access tour of the inner parts of the ship most people never see, test your luck at table games or slot machines in the casino, or dance the night away at the ’70s disco party. 

Foodies and wine enthusiasts may never tire of the many bars and lounges on Jewel of the Seas. Try a variety of wines, either by the glass or the bottle, at Vintages wine bar, people watch and enjoy a cocktail at the Centrum lobby bar, or grab a seat at Vortex, where the spinning bar slowly rotates everyone around the room. 

When it’s time to eat, head to Giovanni’s Table, where Italian dishes are prepared and served like they are at your nonna’s house. The kids might turn up their noses, but grownups will love the signature dishes, such as the grilled octopus appetizer and the housemade linguine with clams entree. 

Related: The 5 best destinations you can visit on a Royal Caribbean ship

Harmony of the Seas

Harmony of the Seas. SIMON BROOKE WEBB/ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Harmony of the Seas is one of the largest cruise ships in the world, carrying 5,497 passengers at double occupancy. It’s got activities for all ages and interests, with themed areas of the ships – called neighborhoods – dedicated to different pursuits, such as entertainment or swimming and sports. Adults can have thrilling experiences during the day, find their zen before heading off to dinner and enjoy entertainment late into the night, all by moving between a few decks. 

Adventurous adults will love zip lining over the top of the Boardwalk or sliding down the Ultimate Abyss, a 10-story dry slide. Those looking for a more laid-back vacation can book treatment at the Vitality Spa, sample different varietals at a wine tasting or learn how to make sushi. 

The ship’s Central Park area is romantic and made for adults. It’s a fantastic place to sit back with a cocktail and people-watch. Here, you’ll find upscale shops, restaurants and bars with indoor and outdoor seating set amid a garden of real plants and trees. To spend a full evening in Central Park, start at the Trellis Bar for wine or cocktails, then head to 150 Central Park, where the menu highlights seasonal ingredients. 

Those looking for a more exciting evening will want to hang around Royal Promenade, which feels more like a buzzy city street than a cruise ship deck. Here, an English pub, a bar staffed by robots and a Latin-inspired lounge all come together to make for a fun night out. For a full night of entertainment, check out a live performance of “Grease” in the ship’s main theater. 

Harmony of the Seas sets sail from Galveston and Miami, taking cruisers to the Caribbean on four- to eight-night sailings. The Miami sailings all stop at Perfect Day at CocoCay, St. Thomas, Puerto Rico and Honduras. 

Bottom line

The best Royal Caribbean ships for adults may still have kids on board. However, they also offer something extra for grownups — whether that’s a more intimate ship size, out-of-the-ordinary itineraries, incredible choice of bars and restaurants, serene hangouts or thrilling attractions for active adults. 

No matter which ship you choose, cruising with Royal Caribbean offers the ability to visit some of the world’s most sought-after destinations on a ship that teems with varied activities. While you won’t find adults-only Royal Caribbean cruises, you can tailor your cruise experience on these six ships to focus on more grown-up pursuits.

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