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List of largest cruise ships


List of largest cruise ships


Cruise ships are large passenger ships used mainly for vacationing. Unlike ocean liners, they typically embark on round-trip voyages to various ports of call, where passengers may go on tours known as "shore excursions". They may carry thousands of passengers in a single trip, and are some of the largest ships in the world by gross tonnage (GT), bigger than many cargo ships. Cruise ships started to exceed ocean liners in size and capacity in the mid-1990s; before then, few were more than 50,000 GT. In the decades since the size of the largest vessels has more than doubled. There have been nine or more new cruise ships added every year since 2001, most of which are 100,000 GT or greater. In the two decades between 1988 and 2009, the largest cruise ships grew a third longer (268 m to 360 m), almost doubled their widths (32.2 m to 60.5 m), doubled the total passengers (2,744 to 5,400), and tripled in volume (73,000 GT to 225,000 GT). As of December 2023, the largest cruise ship, Icon of the Seas, has a gross tonnage of 248,336, is 365 metres (1,198 ft) long and holds up to 7,600 passengers.

Cruise ships are organized much like floating hotels, with a complete hospitality staff in addition to the usual ship's crew. They cater to nautical tourists, with recent vessels being described as "balcony-laden floating condominiums". The "megaships" went from a single deck with verandas to all decks with verandas, and feature ameneties such as theaters, fine-dining and chain restaurants, spas, fitness centers, casinos, sports facilities, and even amusement park attractions.

Cruise ships require electricity for powering both hotel services and for propulsion. Cruise ships are designed with all the heavy machinery at the bottom of the ship and lightweight materials at the top, making them inherently stable even as ship designs are getting taller and taller, and most passenger ships utilize stabilizer fins to further reduce rolling of tall ships in heavy weather. While some cruise ships use traditional fixed propellers and rudders to steer, most larger ships use propellers that can swivel left and right to steer the ship, known as azimuth thrusters, which allow even the largest ship designs to have adequate maneuverability.

Cruise ships are operated by cruise lines, which are companies that market cruises to the public. In the 1990s, many cruise lines were bought by much larger holding companies and continue to operate as brands or subsidiaries of the holding company. For instance, Carnival Corporation & plc owns both the mass-market Carnival Cruise Line, focused on larger party ships for younger travelers, and Holland America Line, whose smaller ships cultivate an image of classic elegance. The common practice in the cruise industry in ship sales and orders is to list the smaller operating company, not the larger holding corporation, as the recipient cruise line of the ship.

As of July 2024, there are 69 passenger ships with over 135,000 GT in service. The first ships over that size were the Voyager-class ships from Royal Caribbean Group's Royal Caribbean International (RCI). These ships, which debuted in 1998 at over 137,000 GT, were almost 30,000 GT larger than the next-largest cruise ships, and were some of the first ships designed to appeal to "non-cruisers", with features like a four-deck-high, 400-foot-long (120 m) atrium down the center of the ship, an ice rink, and a climbing wall. In 2004, the five Voyager-class ships were overtaken by the 148,528 GT Queen Mary 2 (QM2), the first non-RCI passenger ship over 135,000 GT and the only passenger ship currently in service that classifies itself as an ocean liner. The QM2 was surpassed by RCI's 155,889 GT Freedom-class vessels in 2006, which were in turn overtaken by RCI's first of six planned Oasis-class vessels in 2009. The Oasis-class ships, at over 225,000 GT, are at least 154 feet (47 m) wide, 240 feet (73 m) high, and accommodate over 5,400 passengers. Oasis-class ships were surpassed by the first Icon-class ship, Icon of the Seas at 248,663 GT in 2023.

Since 2008, other cruise lines have been ordering 135,000+ GT ships. MSC Cruises introduced the first of four 137,936–139,072 GT Fantasia-class cruise ships in 2008, followed in 2017 by both the 153,516 GT Seaside-class and the 171,598–181,541 GT Meraviglia class. Norwegian Cruise Line debuted the 155,873 GT Norwegian Epic in 2010, the first ship outside of the Oasis class with a double-occupancy capacity of over 4,000, Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises, debuted the first of seven 142,714 GT+ Royal-class ships in 2013, and the corporation's Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, and AIDA Cruises debuted the first of seven planned 133,596–135,225 GT Vista-class ships in 2016. AIDAnova, the first of Carnival Corporation's nine planned Excellence-class ships, debuted in 2018 at 183,858 GT, with future ships in the class planned for Costa, P&O, Carnival, and AIDA. In 2016 and 2017, Genting Hong Kong's Dream Cruises introduced the 150,695 GT Genting Dream and World Dream, the first large ships from an Asian-owned cruise line.

As of April 2024, 26 passenger ships were on order or under construction with a publicly announced size of over 135,000 GT. RCI has two Icon-class cruise ships on order, with expected delivery in 2025 and 2026. RCI also has two Oasis-class ship on order for 2024 and 2028. First of them, Utopia of the Seas is on order for 2024, and while its exact size is not published, RCI has previously stated that each new Oasis-class ship will be a little larger than the last. Celebrity Cruises, which is owned by RCI's parent company Royal Caribbean Group, will introduce a 140,600 GT Edge-class ships in 2025, and TUI Cruises, a joint venture between Royal Caribbean Group and TUI Group, are introducing a new class of 161,000 GT cruise ships in 2024 and 2026.

Asia-based Dream Cruises, which went bankrupt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, had been planning to take delivery of two 208,000 GT Global-class ships in 2021 and 2022, which would have been the first ships over 200,000 GT not built for RCI, with the largest maximum passenger capacity, 9,500, of any ship. One unfinished ship, formerly the Global Dream, was sold to Disney Cruise Line and is expected to debut in 2025, while the other was sent for scrapping.

MSC Cruises has three additional World-class ships planned for 2024, 2025, and 2027, and at 215,800 GT and a capacity of 6,762 passengers; they will have the highest passengers capacities and will be the largest ships operated by a cruise line other than Royal Caribbean.

Carnival Corporation has two more 183,200–183,900 GT Excellence-class cruise ships planned to debut in 2027 and 2028.

Each year from 2023 to 2027, the Norwegian Cruise Line will debut additional ships from the Prima class. The Prima-class ships are expected to be 142,500 GT and carry 3,215 to 3,550 passengers. Additionally, Norwegian Cruise Line is expected to take delivery of four approximately 200,000-gross-ton ships, each with a capacity of nearly 5,000 guests, in 2030, 2032, 2034 and 2036, which are subject to financing.

Disney Cruise Line will launch two more 144,000 GT Triton-class ships in 2024, and 2025. These ships will have 1,250 staterooms, like the line's previous two ships, but will be 14,000 GT larger than those ships and powered by liquified natural gas fuel.

  • List of cruise lines
  • List of largest cruise lines
  • List of cruise ships
  • List of largest passenger ships
  • List of largest ships by gross tonnage
  • List of longest ships
  • List of largest container ships
  • Timeline of largest passenger ships


Text submitted to CC-BY-SA license. Source: List of largest cruise ships by Wikipedia (Historical)