The best Royal Caribbean ships for kids

The best Royal Caribbean ships for kids

7th July 2020 0 By Cruise Mummy
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Royal Caribbean cruises are fantastic for families and have many exciting family-friendly facilities on-board. But which Royal Caribbean ship is best for kids? The answer to this question depends on a lot on the age of your children, as the best ship for teenagers will not necessarily be the best ship for toddlers.

Most activities on Royal Caribbean ships have height, weight or age requirements. It’s important to choose the best Royal Caribbean ship for your kids carefully, to avoid any disappointment that would come with finding out that your children aren’t old enough to join in the fun.

Note: Royal Caribbean is extremely strict on their requirements and will weigh and measure children to make sure they’re tall or heavy enough. Staff will also check a list of children’s names and ages at the entrance to each attraction.

How to choose the best Royal Caribbean ship for your family

Royal Caribbean has 26 ships with more soon to be launched. Each ship has different facilities on-board. The ships are grouped into nine different ‘classes’. Each ship in a class will be fairly similar, with some variation in the on-board activities available.

To choose the best Royal Caribbean ship for your kids, you’ll need to make sure that they’re old enough to take part in the activities that they’ll want to. If your younger child has to spend a lot of time watching their older sibling have all the fun, it might not be the best experience for them.

There are some facilities which are available on every ship across the Royal Caribbean fleet. Thes are…

Family facilities which are on every Royal Caribbean ship:

  • Adventure Ocean kids’ club
  • Swimming pools
  • Whirlpools
  • Arcade
  • Rock climbing wall
  • Table tennis

Other facilities like waterslides, ziplines and mini golf are only available on certain ships.

In this guide to the best Royal Caribbean ships for kids of all ages, I’ve suggested what I believe to be the best ship for each age group, based on the on-board facilities. I also give details about age requirements for each activity and list the Royal Caribbean ships which have that activity.

Let’s start with the little ones…


The best Royal Caribbean ships for babies and toddlers

There are a few important things to think about when cruising with a child under three on Royal Caribbean, such as whether they can use the swimming pools and the kids’ club facilities.

Taking a baby on a cruise? Read this first!

The best ship: Anthem of the Seas

Anthem of the Seas - the best Royal Caribbean ship for babies and toddlers
Photo credit: Royal Caribbean

The best Royal Caribbean ship for babies and toddlers is Anthem of the Seas. This ship has the Baby Splash Zone where tots can splash around in the water whilst wearing a swimming nappy/diaper and it also has the Royal Babies & Tots program where you can drop off your little one to play.

For UK cruisers, Anthem of the Seas sails from Southampton during the summer season, making it the perfect choice for those who prefer not to fly. In the winter, she cruises from New York to the Bahamas and Caribbean.

Anthem of the Seas is a Quantum Class ship. Other ships in this class are Quantum of the Seas (for Asia), Ovation of the Seas (for Australia and Alaska) and Spectrum of the Seas (for Chinese guests).

Things that babies and toddlers can do on a Royal Caribbean cruise

Baby Splash Zones

Swim diapers are not allowed in any swimming pool or whirlpool on Royal Caribbean ships. This is to prevent the spread of diseases on board.

However, selected ships have Baby Splash Zones which have a few inches of water and features like water fountains and spray jets. Here, babies are welcome to cool off in the water.

Baby Splash Zone on Anthem of the Seas
Photo credit: Royal Caribbean

Baby Splash Zones are part of Splashaway Bay or the H2O Zone.

Royal Caribbean ships with Baby Splash Zones:

  • Adventure of the Seas
  • Allure of the Seas
  • Anthem of the Seas
  • Freedom of the Seas
  • Harmony of the Seas
  • Independence of the Seas
  • Liberty of the Seas
  • Majesty of the Seas
  • Oasis of the Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas
  • Quantum of the Seas
  • Spectrum of the Seas
  • Symphony of the Seas

Royal Babies & Tots Nursery

Royal Caribbean’s kids’ club, Adventure Ocean, is available on all ships for children aged three years and older. Selected ships also have the Royal Babies and Royal Tots programs for children aged 6 to 36 months.

With the Royal Babies and Royal Tots clubs, you can drop off your little ones and leave them in the care of highly-qualified childcare professionals while you go and enjoy yourselves.

The fee for this service is $6 per hour between 9 am and 6 pm and $8 per hour from 6 pm until midnight.

Royal Babies and Tots
Photo credit: Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean ships with Royal Babies & Tots Nursery:

  • Allure of the Seas
  • Anthem of the Seas
  • Brilliance of the Seas
  • Enchantment of the Seas
  • Freedom of the Seas
  • Grandeur of the Seas
  • Harmony of the Seas
  • Independence of the Seas
  • Liberty of the Seas
  • Mariner of the Seas
  • Navigator of the Seas
  • Oasis of the Seas
  • Quantum of the Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas
  • Radiance of the Seas
  • Rhapsody of the Seas
  • Serenade of the Seas
  • Symphony of the Seas
  • Vision of the Seas

The best Royal Caribbean ships for kids aged 3 to 5

Once children are out of nappies, they’re allowed to use the swimming pools and whirlpools. Royal Caribbean’s kids’ clubs are open for those aged three and up. Children of this age can also begin to use some of the more exciting facilities like water slides or even the sky-diving simulator!

The best ships: Quantum Class ships

Anthem of the Seas - the best Royal Caribbean ship for kids under 5
Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean

Quantum Class ships like Anthem of the Seas are packed full of activities which kids of all ages will love and many of these are suitable for pre-school kids.

Royal Caribbean has four Quantum Class ships:

  • Anthem of the Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas
  • Quantum of the Seas
  • Spectrum of the Seas

Things that 3- to 5-year-olds can do on a Royal Caribbean cruise

Swimming pools

Each Royal Caribbean ship will have several swimming pools and Jacuzzis, These are available for all toilet trained children to use. Life jackets are provided free of charge for kids aged four and up.

Swimming pool on Navigator of the Seas
Photo credit: Royal Caribbean

Skydiving simulator

Royal Caribbean’s skydiving simulator, RipCord by iFLY, is suitable for children as young as three years old. Floating weightlessly in the air with the wind in your face is an incredible feeling and even young kids will love it!

Child on Skydiving simulator on Anthem of the Seas
Photo credit: Royal Caribbean

RipCord by iFly only available on Quantum Class ships:

  • Anthem of the Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas
  • Quantum of the Seas
  • Spectrum of the Seas

North Star observation pod

Royal Caribbean’s North Star is a glass observation capsule which is elevated up to 100 metres above sea level, giving incredible 360-degree views of the world.

To ride in the North Star, kids must be at least 42 inches (107cm) tall. Most kids reach this height at four or five years old.

Observation pod on Anthem of the Seas
Photo credit: Royal Caribbean

North Star is only available Quantum Class ships:

  • Anthem of the Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas
  • Quantum of the Seas
  • Spectrum of the Seas

Bumper cars

Quantum Class ships also feature bumper cars (dodgems). Kids who are five years old and over can enjoy riding the bumper cars when accompanied by an adult. Once kids are eight years old and at least 42 inches (107cm) tall, they can drive the car alone.

Royal Caribbean bumper cars
Photo credit: Royal Caribbean

Bumper cars are only available Quantum Class ships:

  • Anthem of the Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas
  • Quantum of the Seas
  • Spectrum of the Seas

Aquanauts kids club

Three-, four- and five-years-olds are able to join the Aquanauts group in the Adventure Ocean kids’ club, which is available on every Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

Activities include things like finger painting, building blocks, music activities, bingo and space night.


The best Royal Caribbean ships for kids aged 6 to 8

Kids of this age should be big enough and old enough to take part in most of the on-board activities like roller skating, ice skating and whizzing down water slides.

The best ships: Freedom Class ships

Indepenence of the Seas is one of the best Royal Caribbean ships for kids
Photo credit: Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean has three Freedom Class ships:

  • Freedom of the Seas
  • Independence of the Seas
  • Liberty of the Seas

Freedom Class ships are packed full of things that six, seven and eight years olds will love. The Splashaway Bay waterpark, Perfect Storm waterslides, mini-golf, laser tag, rock climbing wall and virtual reality trampolines are all huge hits with this age group.

If Freedom Class ships don’t offer the itineraries you would like, you should also check out Oasis Class ships and Quantum Class ships.

Things that 6- to 8-year-olds can do on a Royal Caribbean cruise

Splashaway Bay

Royal Caribbean’s waterpark is the perfect place for kids to cool off with waterslides, water cannons, fountains and a giant tipping bucket.

Splashaway Bay is suitable for all toilet-trained kids but there is a height requirement of 42 inches (107cm) to use the slides. This equates to about five years old for an average-height child.

Splashaway Bay on Independence of the Seas
Photo credit: Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean ships with Splashaway Bay:

  • Adventure of the Seas
  • Allure of the Seas
  • Freedom of the Seas
  • Harmony of the Seas
  • Independence of the Seas
  • Liberty of the Seas
  • Majesty of the Seas
  • Oasis of the Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas
  • Spectrum of the Seas
  • Symphony of the Seas

Perfect Storm water slides

The Perfect Storm waterslides are fairly tame and are suitable for adults and kids who are 48 inches (122 cm) tall, which is approximately seven years old. Taller than average six-year-olds will be fine too.

The slides vary by ship but are all quite similar. They are called the Typhoon, Cyclone and Supercell.

I tested out the Perfect Storm waterslides on Mariner of the Seas. Take a look at my GoPro footage to see how fast they go and decide if your kid would like them…

Royal Caribbean ships with Perfect Storm waterslides:

  • Adventure of the Seas
  • Allure of the Seas
  • Explorer of the Seas
  • Freedom of the Seas
  • Harmony of the Seas
  • Independence of the Seas
  • Liberty of the Seas
  • Mariner of the Seas
  • Navigator of the Seas
  • Oasis of the Seas
  • Symphony of the Seas
  • Voyager of the Seas

Mini golf

Mini golf is a fun game for families to enjoy together on Royal Caribbean ships. There’s no age requirement, and kids as young as four or five years old can enjoy hitting the balls and practising maths while they keep score.

Royal Caribbean mini golf
Photo credit: Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean ships with mini golf courses:

  • Adventure of the Seas
  • Allure of the Seas
  • Brilliance of the Seas
  • Explorer of the Seas
  • Freedom of the Seas
  • Harmony of the Seas
  • Independence of the Seas
  • Jewel of the Seas
  • Liberty of the Seas
  • Mariner of the Seas
  • Navigator of the Seas
  • Oasis of the Seas
  • Radiance of the Seas
  • Serenade of the Seas
  • Symphony of the Seas
  • Voyager of the Seas

Laser tag

Laser tag involves moving around a glow-in-the-dark course, equipped with a laser gun, whilst shooting members of the opposite team. It’s suitable for children aged five years old and over who are also at least 40 inches (102 cm) tall, as most kids of this age are.

Click here to read more about Royal Caribbean laser tag.

This is the video I made of the laser tag on-board Mariner of the Seas using my GoPro head camera.

Royal Caribbean ships with Laser Tag:

  • Allure of the Seas
  • Explorer of the Seas
  • Freedomof the Seas
  • Independenceof the Seas
  • Mariner of the Seas
  • Oasis of the Seas
  • Spectrum of the Seas
  • Symphony of the Seas
  • Quantum of the Seas
  • Voyager of the Seas

SkyPad virtual reality trampolines

Royal Caribbean’s trampolines have optional virtual reality headsets so that you can smash sweeties or see lightyears into the future as you jump up to twenty feet in the air. Kids must be at least five years old to jump and at least seven years old to jump with the headset.

SkyPad on Mariner of the Seas
My five-year-old on the SkyPad

Royal Caribbean ships with the SkyPad trampolines:

  • Independence of the Seas
  • Mariner of the Seas
  • Spectrum of the Seas

Ice skating

Ice skating can be a fun activity for all the family to enjoy together. There’s no age limit for ice skating on Royal Caribbean ships. Ice skates are available to hire in sizes as small as toddler size 9 or 10.

There are no skating aids or supports for kids, so young children (and adults) who haven’t skated before are likely to find this activity a little tricky.

Royal Caribbean ice skating
Photo credit: Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean ships with ice skating:

  • Adventure of the Seas
  • Allure of the Seas
  • Explorer of the Seas
  • Freedom of the Seas
  • Harmony of the Seas
  • Independence of the Seas
  • Liberty of the Seas
  • Mariner of the Seas
  • Navigator of the Seas
  • Oasis of the Seas
  • Symphony of the Seas
  • Voyager of the Seas

Roller skating

Roller skating is available in the SeaPlex on Quantum Class ships. There’s no age limit for roller skating and skates are available to hire for very young kids.

Roller skating on Anthem of the Seas
Photo credit: Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean ships with roller skating:

  • Anthem of the Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas
  • Spectrum of the Seas
  • Quantum of the Seas

Rock climbing wall

The climbing walls on Royal Caribbean ships are 12 metres tall and offer a great workout with incredible views at the summit. Children must be six years old and over to climb.

Take a look at this video for a closer look at Royal Carribean’s rock climbing walls…

Rock climbing walls are present on every ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet.

Explorers kids club

Six-, seven- and eight-years-olds can join the Explorers group in the Adventure Ocean kids’ club which is available on every Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

Activities include things like sports, carnival games, talent shows, pajama night and pirate night.


The best Royal Caribbean ships for kids aged 9 and up

Pick one of Royal Caribbean’s newest, biggest ships and you won’t see your teens for dust! Or, pick a small, older ship with no facilities, if you have the kind of teens who will be happy sunbathing and reading a book (do they exist?)

The best ships: Oasis Class ships

Allure of the Seas is one of the best Royal Caribbean ships for teenagers
Photo credit: Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean has four Oasis Class ships:

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

The best Royal Caribbean ships for older kids and teenagers are the Oasis Class ships. These are the largest ships in the fleet and are packed with adrenaline-pumping activities like zip lines, slides and surfing machines.

Things that older kids and teenagers can do on a Royal Caribbean cruise

Zip lines

One of the best features on the Oasis Class ships is the zip line. These ships have a hollow middle which enables you to zip along a wire, ten decks above the Central Park area in the middle of the ship.

Royal Caribbean’s zip line has a height requirement of 52 inches (132 cm) and a weight requirement of 75 lbs (34 KG). This makes this activity suitable for kids who are approximately ten years old and up, depending on their height and weight.

Royal Caribbean zip line
Photo credit: Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean ships with zip lines:

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

FlowRider surfing simulators

The FlowRider is a 12-metre long surfing machine where you can do stand-up surfing or boogie boarding on your knees.

Kids must be at least 52 inches (132 cm) to boogie board and 58 inches (147 cm) to stand-up surf. This makes the FlowRider suitable for children aged approximately nine years old and above, depending on their height.

Take a look at this video for more information on the FlowRider…

Royal Caribbean ships with FlowRiders:

  • Adventure of the Seas
  • Allure of the Seas
  • Anthem of the Seas
  • Explorer of the Seas
  • Freedom of the Seas
  • Harmony of the Seas
  • Independence of the Seas
  • Liberty of the Seas
  • Mariner of the Seas
  • Navigator of the Seas
  • Oasis of the Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas
  • Quantum of the Seas
  • Spectrum of the Seas
  • Symphony of the Seas
  • Voyager of the Seas

The Oasis Class ships have two FlowRiders on each ship for double the fun (and half the queue time).

Ultimate Abyss slide

A jaw-dropping feature on the back of each Oasis Class ship is the Ultimate Abyss slide. This dry slide is ten decks high and offers an exhilarating ride for those brave enough to try it.

Incredibly, the height restriction on the Ultimate Abyss slide is only 44 inches (112 cm). This makes it suitable for children aged approximately five years old and up.

Children cannot sit on parents laps as only one rider is allowed on the slide at once. In reality, most younger kids would probably be too scared to ride this slide, but thrill-seeking teenagers are sure to love it.

Ultimate Abyss Slide
Photo credit: Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean ships with the Ultimate Abyss slide:

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

Sports court

If your teenagers love playing basketball, volleyball or soccer, pick a ship with a sports court and they’ll be entertained for hours. Organised tournaments take place throughout the day and at other times kids can just play one-on-one or with their new friends.

sports court on Mariner of the Seas
Photo credit: Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean ships with sports courts:

  • Adventure of the Seas
  • Allure of the Seas
  • Anthem of the Seas
  • Brilliance of the Seas
  • Explorer of the Seas
  • Freedom of the Seas
  • Harmony of the Seas
  • Independence of the Seas
  • Jewel of the Seas
  • Liberty of the Seas
  • Majesty of the Seas
  • Mariner of the Seas
  • Navigator of the Seas
  • Oasis of the Seas
  • Radiance of the Seas
  • Serenade of the Seas
  • Symphony of the Seas
  • Voyager of the Seas

Trapeze school

Royal Caribbean’s circus school offers trapeze lessons for adults and kids aged six years old and above. You’ll find this activity in the SeaPlex on-board Quantum Class ships.

trapeze school
Photo credit: Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean ships with trapeze school:

  • Anthem of the Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas
  • Quantum of the Seas
  • Spectrum of the Seas

Escape room game

The escape rooms are different on each of the ships that have them, with names such as ‘Escape from the Future’, Escape the Rubicon’ and ‘The Observatorium’. The concept is always the same though, to solve various brainteasers in an attempt to locate the key and get out of there.

Children must be 12 years old or over to play the escape room game.

Royal Caribbean escape room
Photo credit: Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean ships with an escape room:

  • Anthem of the Seas
  • Harmony of the Seas
  • Mariner of the Seas
  • Navigator of the Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas
  • Symphony of the Seas
  • Quantum of the Seas

Voyagers kids club

Nine-, ten- and eleven-years-olds can join the Voyagers group in the Adventure Ocean kids’ club which is available on every Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

Activities include things like karaoke, sports tournaments, boys vs girls games, scavenger hunts and crazy tag.

Teens club

On Royal Caribbean ships, teens are divided into two age groups – 12 to 14 and 15 to 17. Teens have the option to come and go as they please and can take part in organised activities like karaoke, sports tournaments, casino nights, pool parties and themed dance parties. Or, they can just do their own thing, play video games, watch movies and hang out with friends.

To summarise

The best Royal Caribbean ship for babies and toddlers is Anthem of the Seas. It’s also the one ship with sails from the UK, which is a huge bonus for UK cruisers.

The best Royal Caribbean ships for kids aged three to five are the Quantum Class ships, which are Anthem, Ovation, Spectrum and Quantum of the Seas.

The best Royal Caribbean ships for kids aged six to eight are the Freedom Class ships, which are Freedom, Independence and Liberty of the Seas.

The best Royal Caribbean ships for kids aged nine and over are the Oasis Class ships, which are Allure, Harmony, Oasis and Symphony of the Seas.

What about the other ships?

The other ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, such as the Radiance Class, Vision Class, Sovereign Class and Empress Class ships, are older and smaller ships with fewer facilities. Whilst these may not have as much to do on-board as there is on the new megaships, there are still some fun activities for families to enjoy, including as swimming pools, whirlpools, table tennis, rock climbing and arcades.

Read more: Royal Caribbean ships by age

Cruising on an older ship is usually much cheaper than a cruise on a new ship, making them the perfect choice for budget-conscious cruisers and those looking for port-intensive itineraries.

Royal Caribbean are continually renovating their ships and the Royal Amplified program is seeing features like water slides and trampolines being added to some of the older ships in the fleet. This means that Voyager Class ships which are around 20 years old, now have lots of cool new facilities.

As the facilities featured on ships change when ships are refurbished, Please check directly with Royal Caribbean to see what facilities there will be on your ship.

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