What are the Largest Cruise Ships in the World?


Cruise ships seem to be getting larger and larger all the time with new ships seeming to be breaking previous records with reassuring regularity. The trend for larger ships has grown so much in recent years that only one ship of the 50 largest cruise vessels in the world took to the seas before the year 2000 (1999’s Voyager of the Seas). Here we have a look at the 10 largest cruise ships in the world and look forward to upcoming record breakers.

Allure of the Seas & Oasis of the Seas

The two current ships (there’s two more to come, but more about those later) of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class have kept the title of the world’s largest cruise ships since they first took to the seas in 2009 and 2010. Although officially the same size and built to the same plans – reports suggest that the Allure of the Seas actually measures a few inches longer than her sister. The shipbuilders claim that this size difference is not intentional and could be the result of steel stretching slightly in high temperatures.

Like all the ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet, the two Oasis Class vessels have been designed to offer family-friendly cruises – splitting the public areas into seven distinct districts similar to theme park planning: Central Park, The Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Boardwalk, Royal Promenade, Youth Zone, and Entertainment Place.

These two behemoth ships are still quite far ahead of the competition in terms of size and structure.

Oasis of the Seas - kees torn

Vital Statistics

Gross Tonnage: 225,282

Length: 1,187ft

Staterooms: 2,706

Double Capacity: 5,412

Maximum Capacity: 6,296

Quantum of the Seas & Anthem of the Seas

The newest members of the Royal Caribbean fleet are the most technologically-advanced cruise ships in operation. Offering the quickest internet speeds and a selection of unique features including the first skydiving experience at sea and robotic bartenders; the Quantum Class ships are aimed at the modern cruise audience.

Despite both ships only taking to the seas in the last 12 months, two new Quantum Class ships built to the same measurements have been ordered. Ovation of the Seas will be added to the class next year before an as-yet-unnamed will enter into service in 2019.

Although the two ships did not measure up to the Oasis Class ships – they still tower above all non-Royal Caribbean vessels.

Anthem of the Seas - El Coleccionista de Instantes

Vital Statistics

Gross Tonnage: 168,666

Length: 1,139 and 1,141ft

Staterooms: 2,090

Double Capacity: 4,180

Maximum Capacity: 4,905

Norwegian Epic

The first non-Royal Caribbean entry on the list is Norwegian Cruise Line’s flagship: the Norwegian Epic. As well as packing in more cabins and beds than any other ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet – the Norwegian Epic was painstakingly designed to ensure that this did not compromise personal space or create an overcrowded experience. Norwegian Cruise Line ensured the Epic offered 60% more passenger space than their next largest vessels.

Currently the largest ship to homeport all year round in Europe, sailing out of Barcelona, the Epic is a popular sight for cruise fans visiting port cities on the Mediterranean.

Original plans from Norwegian Cruise Line included the development of a second ship the same size as the Epic, with an option for a third. However a dispute between NCL and the shipyard led to the cancellation of the second ship and the refusal of a third. So the Epic marches on alone as the world’s largest non-Royal Caribbean ship (for now).

Norwegian Epic - Johann Visagie

Vital Statistics

Gross Tonnage: 155,873

Length: 1,081ft

Staterooms: 2,114

Double Capacity: 4,100

Maximum Capacity: 5,183

Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas & Independence of the Seas

The three sisters of the Freedom Class of ships from Royal Caribbean were the largest cruise ships in the world from 2006-2009 – ruling the waves until the Oasis of the Seas took their collective crown. Not to be trumped by the Oasis and Quantum Class of ships – the three Freedom Class vessels have undergone refurbishments during dry docks over the past few years to update their offerings in line with newer members of the fleet.

With two of the ships homeporting in Florida and the other in Texas, all three ships offer itineraries around the Caribbean and Bahamas – becoming regular sights circumnavigating the paradise islands. Despite the upgrades and refurbishments, the three sisters have remained similar to each other in design and amenities.

Oasis and Freedom - Pat Hawks

Vital Statistics

Gross Tonnage: 154,407

Length: 1,112ft

Staterooms: 1,817

Double Capacity: 3,634

Maximum Capacity: 4,375

Queen Mary 2

One of the most iconic cruise ships in operation and the oldest member of the top 10 – Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 is the classic old girl of the cruise industry’s super ships (despite being barely over a decade old). The flagship of the Cunard fleet is considerably larger than her two sister ships – and was built to replace the aging but legendary Queen Elizabeth 2.

Instantly recognisable by her dark blue hull wrap – the Queen Mary 2 is the world’s only transatlantic cruise liner in line service between Southampton and New York, operating for part of every year. Additionally, her full title, RMS Queen Mary 2, signifies that she is the largest cruise vessel in operation to have the Royal Mail Ship title conferred upon her.

As one of the oldest names in the cruise industry, it’s always reassuring to have a Cunard ship in this list.

Queen Mary 2 - Trondheim Havn

Vital Statistics

Gross Tonnage: 148,528

Length: 1,132ft

Staterooms: 1,296

Double Capacity: 2,592

Maximum Capacity: 3,090

Norwegian Breakaway

Just edging out her sister ship, Norwegian Getaway, for a place on this coveted list – the Norwegian Breakaway will not be in the top 10 for much longer. Over the next five years, at least 15 larger ships are planned to enter into service.

The first member of the Breakaway Class from Norwegian Cruise Line, the ship will soon be joined by four Breakaway Plus ships. But for now, the ship does still hold some records and titles – including the honour of being the largest ship to be based year-round in New York City.

Norwegian Breakaway - Wessel Blokzijl

Vital Statistics

Gross Tonnage: 146,600

Length: 1,068ft

Staterooms: 1,994

Double Capacity: 3,988

New Entries

As mentioned above – this list will probably be unrecognisable in just a couple of years as a number of cruise lines are planning to significantly increase their capacities. Here we take a look at some of the ships set to shake up the largest cruise ships in the world list.

Oasis Class 3 and 4

The current largest cruise ships in the world will be joined by two new sisters over the next three years. The Harmony of the Seas is planned to enter into service in 2016 and the still-unnamed fourth sister is due for 2018 sailings.

Despite being members of the same class – the two new ships are set to outstrip their older sisters with slightly increased statistics.

Royal Caribbean are also planning two new Quantum Class ships – Ovation of the Seas to launch in 2016 and an unnamed fourth ship in 2019.

Harmony 7

Vital Statistics

Gross Tonnage: 227,000

Length: 1,188ft

Staterooms: 2,747

Double Capacity: 5,479

Maximum Capacity: 6,360

Carnival Corporation’s Big Four

The Carnival Corporation have announced that two of their cruise brands will receive record-breaking fleet additions in 2019 and 2020. AIDA Cruises and Costa Crociere will be the recipients of the super ships which will offer the largest maximum capacities of any cruise ships in the world. This is despite measuring up short on other statistics compared to Oasis Class ships – so we imagine they’ll employ liberal implementation of bunk beds.

None of the ships have been named as of yet.

Vital Statistics

Gross Tonnage: 183,200

Length: 1,105ft

Staterooms: 2,605

Double Capacity: 5,176

Maximum Capacity: 6,600

MSC Cruises’ Fleet Expansion

With four new ships planned over the next four years – MSC Cruises are planning on increasing their fleet significantly. Two of the ships, the MSC Meraviglia and her as-yet-unnamed sister, are set to become the fleet’s largest vessels when they enter into service in 2017 and 2019 respectively.

Vital Statistics

Gross Tonnage: 167,600

Length: 1,033ft

Staterooms: 2,250

Double Capacity: 4,500

Maximum Capacity: 5,700


Whether you’re looking to experience the largest ships on the seas or want to enjoy a more intimate cruise holiday, Cruise1st have a fantastic selection of deals to meet all tastes and budgets. Visit our homepage, here, or call our dedicated sales team on 0808 2746 777 for our full selection of deals.

Images sourced via Royal Caribbean Press Center and Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Boris Kasimov, Kees torn, El Coleccionista des Instantes, Johann Visagies, Pat Hawks, Tronghem Havn, Wessel Blokzijl

What are the Largest Cruise Ships in the World?
Article Name
What are the Largest Cruise Ships in the World?
Cruise ships seem to be getting larger and larger all the time with new ships seeming to be breaking previous records with reassuring regularity. The trend for larger ships has grown so much in recent years that only one ship of the 50 largest cruise vessels in the world took to the seas before the year 2000 (1999’s Voyager of the Seas). Here we have a look at the 10 largest cruise ships in the world and look forward to upcoming record breakers.

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Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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