[Updated February 2021] The international cruise industry has expanded rapidly in the last few years, and it showed no signs of slowing down till the coronavirus pandemic hit the world.
The world witnessed what was never thought of, i.e. complete halt of the cruise business. However, the cruise shipping companies are doing everything in their power to sustain these tough times, and the industry is expected to come back at the earliest with some of the largest and most technologically advanced cruise ships in the year 2021.
As more new ships enter the scene, the industry is more equipped to offer the best vacation experiences to its guests across the world.
In order to meet the various preferences of travellers, the new technologically advanced cruise ships come in bigger sizes, with better amenities, and indeed, as luxurious, they can be.
Here we have a list of the world’s largest cruise ships, ranked in terms of their gross tonnage and passenger capacity, among others in 2021.
Related Read: How Are Cruise Ships Powered?
1. Symphony Of the Seas
The 25th ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, Symphony of the Seas, is currently the world’s largest cruise ship. The giant cruise ship has 228,081 gross registered tons, measures 238 feet tall and spans 1,188 feet long.
Symphony of the seas is termed as the ultimate family’s vacation destination with a bold lineup of energy-filled, heart-pumping experiences.
The largest cruise ship in the world offers the chance to go head-to-head in a glow-in-the-dark laser tag adventure, take the plunge down the Ultimate Abyss – the tallest slide at sea towering 10 stories high – or soak up some sun after getting drenched on epic waterslides and FlowRider surf simulators. The biggest cruise ship was delivered in April 2018.
2. Harmony of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-Class vessel, Harmony of the Seas, is currently the world’s second-biggest cruise ship. Built by STX France at its Saint-Nazaire shipyard, the third vessel in the series, Harmony of the Seas, was delivered in May 2016.
Offering seven-night Western Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona and Civitavecchia, the ship made her maiden voyage in June last year.
With a gross tonnage of 226,963 GT, Harmony of the Seas has a length of 362.12m and a maximum beam of 66m. Featuring 2,747 staterooms with virtual balconies, this biggest vessel can accommodate 5,479 guests at double occupancy.
Similar to its sister vessels, Harmony of the Seas offers all Royal Caribbean’s exclusive features, including Central Park, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Centre, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade and Entertainment Place, among others.
3. Allure of the Seas
Another 362m-long Oasis-class cruise ship, Allure of the Seas, stands third after her sister vessel on the list.
Built at the STX Europe shipyards in Turku, Finland, Allure of the Seas is the second Royal Caribbean cruise ship in the Oasis-class series. Before the arrival of Harmony of the Seas, this was the largest passenger ship in service.
The vessel has a gross tonnage of 225,282GT, a height of 72m and a maximum beam of 60.5m.
Delivered in October 2010, Allure of the Seas has the capacity to house 5,400 passengers at double occupancy. Features of the luxurious cruise ship include a two-deck dance hall, a theatre with 1,380 seats, an ice skating rink, a concierge club and spa, and fitness facilities, among others.
The vessel also has 25 dining options that include the first Starbucks coffee shop at sea. A state-of-the-art Fitness Center that offers classes like yoga and tai chi, and several whirlpools, including those overlooking the ocean, enrich the vacation experience of Allure of the Seas. The vessel recently underwent extensive drydock revitalisation.
4. Oasis of the Seas
The first vessel in the Oasis-class cruise ships of Royal Caribbean, Oasis of the Seas, was the largest cruise ship when it entered the service in 2009.
Ordered in February 2006, the vessel was launched from STX Europe’s Turku Shipyard in 2008, marking the entry of new class vessels in the fleet of Royal Caribbean International.
Oasis of the Seas measures 361.6m in overall length, 72m in height above the waterline and 22.55m in depth, while it has a gross tonnage of 225,282.
With 16 passenger decks, the vessel has the capacity to accommodate 5,400 passengers at double occupancy and serve a maximum of 6,296 passengers. Oasis of the Seas offers options from two-story loft suites and luxury suites with balconies for its guests.
Introduced many amenities for the first time in the industry, Oasis of the Seas features an outdoor Aqua Theater, an open-air corridor carved out along the length of the vessel and an eatery-filled Central Park.
In addition, Glass-covered Solarium with pool, surf simulators, Zipline and rock-climbing walls are the other best entertainment options available on the cruise ship, while the lists of sports amenities include five swimming pools, volleyball and basketball courts.
5. Costa Smeralda
Named after the Emerald Coast of Sardinia, the Costa Smeralda is a technologically advanced LNG powered Cruise ship operated by Italian Cruise line Costa Cruises.
It is the largest cruise ship commissioned by Costa Cruises with 185,100GT measuring 337 m in length and 42 m in width. It can carry a maximum of 6554 passengers and 1646 crew members.
The ship is designed keeping in mind different sustainable technologies, making it a “Smart floating City” that provides luxury to its passengers and helps the environment reduce carbon footprint. This is one of the ships, which was delivered just before the outbreak of the COVID 19 Pandemic.
Costa Smeralda has started serving passengers and currently sailing in the Mediterranean sea.
6. P&O Iona
Another LNG powered cruise ship from the house of P&O Cruises, Iona, was supposed to start its operation in May 2020. However, its delivery got delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and the P&O cruise finally received it only in October 2020.
Iona is the largest cruise ship built to sail for any U.K based cruise line. It measures 345 meters in length and has 17 passenger decks. At 185,000 Gross tonnage, Iona can accommodate 5,200 passengers and 1,800 crew members for a high-end hospitality experience.
7. AIDA Nova
AIDAnova by AIDA Cruises is the world’s first cruise ship that can be powered at sea and in port by liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The AIDAnova has over 2,600 passenger cabins, with a gross tonnage of about 183,900 GT, a length of 337 metres and a width of 42 metres. AIDAnova is the first ship of the so-called Helios class that MEYER WERFT builds for the cruise line AIDA CRUISES.
Following AIDAnova, Carnival Corporation has an additional 10 next-generation “green” cruise ships on order that will be powered by LNG in port and at sea, with expected delivery dates between 2019 and 2025, leading the cruise industry’s use of LNG to power cruise ships.
8. MSC Grandiosa
MSC Grandiosa, launched in November 2019, is a Meraviglia Plus – Class cruise ship, i.e. it is bigger than MSC Meraviglia, which was launched in 2017.
It is operated by MSC cruises, and this new flagship is 331 meters long (16 meters longer than MSC Meraviglia). With 181, 541 GT, it can carry a maximum of 6334 passengers in its 2421 cabins. In addition, it has the largest capacity shopping area inside the cruise ship.
MSC Grandiosa resumed its operation on 24th Jan 2021 from Genova in the Mediterranean route.
9. Carnival Mardi Grass
Mardi Grass is a 180,000 Gross Tonnage LNG powered cruise ship operated by the world’s largest cruise ship operator – Carnival Cruise Lines.
Built by Meuer Turku Shipyard amid the pandemic, it was delivered in December 2020.
The ship incorporates a pandemic proofing plan with a state of the art medical centre for testing and taking care of passengers in need. It will carry a total of 1745 officers and crew which can serve a maximum of 6630 passengers on board.
Mardi Grass is a tribute to the first-ever cruise ship of the company, TSS Mardi Gras, which was launched in 1972. Carnival Mardi Grass is scheduled to start the operation from April 2021.
10. MSC Meraviglia
MSC Meraviglia is 315 metres long, 43 metres wide and 65 metres high, measuring 171,598 GRT. She can travel up to 22.7 knots and has been designed to operate in all seasons and be able to call in most of the world’s international cruise ports.
Since she came into service in June 2017, MSC Meraviglia has been making waves in the cruise and tourism industry and collecting prestigious awards for her superior product.
The ship has been recognised for bringing to the sea some of the latest advances in customer-centric technology, digital innovations and new guest experiences.
In addition to this industry-wide recognition, the ship is also awarded for its state-of-the-art Quality, Health, Safety and Environmental (QHSE) management.
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