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, cruise shipping companies are doing everything possible to sustain these challenging times. The industry is expected to return soon with some of the largest and most technologically advanced cruise ships in 2023 as well.
As more new ships enter the scene, the industry is more equipped to offer the best vacation experiences to its guests worldwide.
To meet the various preferences of travellers, the new technologically advanced cruise ships come in bigger sizes, with better amenities, and indeed, as luxurious as they can be.
Here we have a list of the world’s largest cruise ships, ranked in their gross tonnage and passenger capacity in 2023.
Related Read: How Are Cruise Ships Powered?
Table of Contents
1. Wonder of the Seas
The Wonder of the Seas is the world’s largest cruise ship and weighs 236,857 Gross tonnes. It is owned by Royal Caribbean International and was delivered in January 2022. The 1,188 feet long vessel will start operations in March 2022.
It is the fifth vessel in Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class of cruise ships. This floating civilization can accommodate 6,988 passengers in addition to 2,300 crew members. The wonder of the seas is equipped with four bow thrusters, with 7500 Horsepower each. This ship can reach cruising speeds up to 22 knots.
The Wonder of the Seas is built differently than her sister vessels boasting brand few amenities such as a suite-neighbourhood, fully redesigned pool decks, and even an all-new Aquatheatre.
2. Symphony Of the Seas
The Symphony of the Seas is the second-largest cruise ship in the world. She held the top spot until she was beaten by her sister ship, “Wonder of the Sea”. The giant cruise ship has 228,081 gross registered tons, measures 238 feet tall and spans 361.011 meters long.
Symphony of the Seas is the ultimate family vacation destination with a bold lineup of energy-filled, heart-pumping experiences.
This cruise ship 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 ten stories high – or soak up some sun after getting drenched on epic waterslides and FlowRider surf simulators.
The second biggest cruise ship was delivered in April 2018.
3. Harmony of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-Class vessel, Harmony of the Seas, follows closely behind her sister ship. STX France built it at its Saint-Nazaire shipyard. The third vessel in the “Oasis-Class” series, Harmony of the Seas, was delivered in May 2016.
With a gross tonnage of 226,963 GT, Harmony of the Seas has a maximum beam of 66m. Featuring 2,747 staterooms with virtual balconies, this biggest vessel can accommodate 5,479 guests at double occupancy.
Like its sister vessels, Harmony of the Seas offers all of Royal Caribbean’s exclusive features, including Central Park, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Centre, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade and Entertainment Place, among others.
4. Allure of the Seas
Another 362m-long Oasis-class cruise ship, Allure of the Seas, stands fourth 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. At one point, she was the largest passenger ship in service.
The vessel has a gross tonnage of 225,282 GT, a height of 72m and a maximum beam of 60.5m.
Delivered in October 2010, Allure of the Seas can 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, including 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 also underwent extensive drydock revitalisation.
5. Oasis of the Seas
Oasis of the Seas, the first vessel in the Oasis-class cruise ships of Royal Caribbean, was the largest cruise ship when it entered service in 2009. It is the fifth-largest cruise ship in the world. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines hold all top 5 spots.
Ordered in February 2006, the vessel was launched from STX Europe’s Turku Shipyard in 2008, marking the entry of new-class vessels into 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 can 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 in the industry, Oasis of the Seas features an outdoor Aqua Theater. An open-air corridor carved out along the vessel’s length and an eatery-filled Central Park.
In addition, the other best entertainment options on the cruise ship are the glass-covered Solarium with pool, surf simulators, Zipline and rock-climbing walls. At the same time, the lists of sports amenities include five swimming pools and volleyball and basketball courts.
6. Costa Smeralda
Named after the Emerald Coast of Sardinia, the Costa Smeralda is a technologically advanced LNG-powered Cruise ship operated by the Italian Cruise line Costa Cruises.
It is the largest cruise ship commissioned by Costa Cruises, with 185,100 GT measuring 337 m in length and 42 m in width. It can carry a maximum of 6554 passengers and 1646 crew members.
She set out on her maiden voyage in December 2019 and currently operates in the Mediterranean Sea.
The ship is designed with different sustainable technologies, making it a “Smart floating City” that provides luxury to its passengers and helps the environment reduce its carbon footprint.
It is powered by Liquified Natural Gas (LNG). This is one of the ships delivered just before the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
7. 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 was delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and the P&O cruise received it only in October 2020.
Iona is the largest cruise ship built to sail for any U.K based cruise line and is the seventh largest in the world. 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.
8. AIDA Nova
AIDA Nova by AIDA Cruises is the world’s first cruise ship that can be powered at sea and in port by liquefied natural gas (LNG). It is currently the 8th largest ship in the world.
The AIDA Nova has over 2,600 passenger cabins, with a gross tonnage of about 183,900 GT, a length of 337 meters, and a width of 42 meters. AIDA Nova is the first ship of the so-called Helios class that MEYER WERFT builds for the cruise line AIDA CRUISES.
Following AIDA Nova, 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.
9. MSC Grandiosa
MSC Grandiosa, launched in November 2019, is a Meraviglia Plus – A class cruise ship, i.e. it is bigger than its predecessor MSC Meraviglia, which was launched in 2017.
MSC Cruises operate it, and this new flagship is 331 meters long (16 meters longer than MSC Meraviglia). With 181, 541 GT, it can carry 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.
10. 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, and is currently the 10th largest cruise ship in the world.
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 caring for passengers in need. It will carry 1745 officers and crew, serving 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.
11. 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 joining the 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.
12. MS Freedom of the Seas
MS Freedom of the Seas of the Royal Caribbean International belongs to the Freedom Class of cruise ships. It can accommodate 3634 guests and 1300 crew members. It has 15 passenger decks and 4 crew decks.
It was the biggest passenger ship by gross tonnage when it was constructed in 2006, until its sister ship, the Liberty of the Seas, was built in 2007.
Freedom of the Sea was constructed in Finland. It measures 338.74 m lengthwise and 38.60 m breadthwise.
It has 4 bow thrusters and can attain a speed of 21.6 knots. It utilises 12,800 kg of fuel in 60 minutes.
It has an inner promenade and three swimming areas. It also has a water park, a pool solely for adults, a sports area situated on deck 13 with a climbing wall, a golf course, a basketball court and much more. One can enjoy ice skating on the cruise ship. It also has a casino and a Broadway-style theatre.
13. Liberty of the Seas
Liberty of the Seas entered service just a year after its sister ship MS Freedom of the Seas, in 2007. It was to be named Endeavour of the Seas, but this name was changed later.
It has a gross tonnage of 155,889 tonnes and is 338.91 m long and 57 m wide with a 9 m draught. It has 18 decks, 15 for accommodating 3634 passengers and 3 for 1360 crew members.
The ship has many attractions, including a FlowRider wave generator on which guests can enjoy surfing, an interactive water park for children, play areas, a fitness centre and 2 whirlpools. It has many dining areas with stunning views too.
A water slide complex was added in 2016 with 2 racing slides. Most of the cruise ship’s interiors are done by muralist Clarissa Parish.
14. MSC Virtuosa
MSC Virtuosa is a Meraviglia-Plus-Class Cruise Ship, operated by MSC Cruises. It was constructed by Chantiers de l’Atlantique in Saint-Nazaire, France, and is the sister ship of MSC Grandiosa.
She was scheduled to enter service in 2020. However, it got delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Hence, it was delivered to its owner o 1st February 2021 and entered service two months later, in May.
She is 331 m long, 43 m wide and 64.9 m high. She has 16 decks and can accommodate around 6000 people and 1700 crew.
The cruise ship boasts the longest LED Dome at sea. Its indoor promenade is known for speciality restaurants, serving cuisines from all over the world. It also has many shops and boutiques featuring top brands.
The children’s area has been designed by the LEGO Group to be fun and interactive. There is a health and wellness spa onboard which offers professional massages, beauty treatments and all types of facials. There is a panoramic gym, 5 swimming pools and much more on this amazing cruise ship.
Additionally, the vessel is eco-friendly as it is equipped with a catalytic reduction system that decreases nitrogen oxide emissions by 80%. The closed-loop exhaust gas cleaning system decreases sulphur emissions by 97%.
15. Carnival Celebration
Carnival Celebration is the second ship of the Carnival fleet’s Excel Class. She has a gross tonnage of 183,521 tonnes, making it the largest ship in Carnival’s fleet. The cruise ship was ordered in 2016 and was completed in 2022.
She is 344.5 m long and 42 m broad. She has 19 decks capable of accommodating 6500 guests and 1735 crew. The ship can attain a speed of 23 knots.
Carnival Celebration has six zones with themed elements for guests to enjoy and relax. The top decks have the ‘Ultimate Playground’ zone, famous for its roller coaster called Bolt. Close to it are the water park and the sports centre. Another zone called the Gateway has a bar and a lounge.
The cruise ship offers many wellness facilities. For instance, fitness enthusiasts can spend time in the gym, the jogging track or the mini golf area. Those wanting to relax can go to the Cloud 9 Spa. Refreshing drinks can be enjoyed at the RedFrog Tiki Bar or the Havana Bar, or Seuss of Sea.
16. MSC Bellissima
MSC Bellissima is a cruise ship operated by MSC Cruises. She was built at Chantiers de l’Atlantique in Saint-Nazaire, France. She has a gross tonnage of 171,598 tonnes and can accommodate 4500 guests.
She debuted in 2019 and gained a lot of popularity. The cruise ship has 2,244 cabins and 1418 balconies. She measures 315.83 m lengthwise and has a width of 43 m.
The central attraction of the ship is Galleria Bellissima, a 96 m-long promenade with boutiques, shopping areas, dining spaces, restaurants etc. At night, it becomes lively with music, parties and entertainment. The ship’s London Theatre invites guests to see international artists performing top-notch shows. The ship has an imperial casino, a bowling alley and an arcade too.
Among the cruise ship’s many amazing features is the virtual assistant ‘Zoe’, a voice-enabled AI Device fitted in all cabins for assisting the guests. Also, this is the first virtual assistant featured on a cruise ship.
17. MSC Seashore
MSC Seashore is an EVO-class cruise ship of MSC Cruises. It was built at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. In 2021, she emerged as the lead ship of her class, which is a sub-class of Seaside-class ships having larger dimensions.
MSC Seashore is bigger than her sister ships. She is 74 m tall, 339 m long and 41 m wide. She has a gross tonnage of 170,412 tonnes and has 10,000 square metres of extra deck space.
She can accommodate 4540 guests at double occupancy and 5877 at its maximum capacity. The huge decks have more space for restaurants and lounges.
The vessel has been designed in such a way that it reduces atmospheric emissions and has anti-fouling paint for decreasing wave resistance on the hull.
She is also the first cruise ship to have advanced air sanitation technology, which decreases the risk of catching viruses.
18. The Spectrum of the Seas
Operated by Royal Caribbean International, the Spectrum of the Seas was built at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany. Mainly operating in the East Asian region, the ship has a gross tonnage of 169,379 tonnes and became one of the biggest ships in the fleet when it was delivered.
The ship is 347 m long and 41 m broad with an 8.8 m draught. It has 2137 staterooms and a wide range of amenities for guests. Some of these include an ultimate family suite with a slide from the kids’ bedroom to the living room, a private cinema, a karaoke hall and a balcony with a whirlpool.
It has a sky pad, which offers a virtual experience that allows guests to explore planets, stars and space.
The ship has a glass capsule called the North Star, which takes people 300 ft above sea level. The ship has 2 swimming pools, 4 hot tubs and a movie screen. There are several dining options available as well.
19. NCL Encore
Operated by the Norwegian Cruise Line, the NCL Encore is a part of the Breakaway Plus Class and made its debut in 2019. She is one of the largest ships in the company’s fleet, measuring 333.5 m lengthwise and 41.5 m breadthwise with a maximum draft of 9 m.
She can accommodate 4004 people at double occupancy. The ship has 2043 staterooms and 20 decks. She has a gross tonnage of 169,116 tonnes and a deadweight of 11,700 DWT.
There is a wide range of activities and entertainment options available such as the Galaxy Pavilion and the Aqua Park with its amazing water slides and a river. The ship also has a two-level race track for guests looking for an adventurous experience onboard.
The ship has many dining options, and Onda by Scarpetta is quite well-known. The Observation Lounge is a favourite of most guests since it offers panoramic views of the sea.
20. Anthem of the Seas
Owned and operated by Royal Caribbean International, the Anthem of the Seas is a part of the Quantum class of ships and was launched in 2015.
She measures 347 m lengthwise and 49 m breadthwise with an 8.8 m draught. She can accommodate 4180 passengers and has 18 decks.
Her gross tonnage is 168,666 tonnes, and she can easily attain a speed of 22 knots. She has 18 decks and can accommodate 4905 passengers at maximum occupancy.
The cruise ship has many dining options, including the most popular Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver and Wonderland, which offers an amazing culinary experience. Other attractions include a FlowRider surf simulator, a skydiving simulator, a solarium, a spa and a fitness centre.
The ship has many pools and hot tubs. It has a theatre where you can enjoy Broadway-style shows and also has a casino.
To conclude, the world’s largest cruise ships are true marvels of engineering. They are stylish, modern and built to provide a comfortable experience to the passengers at sea.
Their size is impressive, and they offer state-of-the-art amenities and endless entertainment options. These vessels have revolutionised the cruise ship sector and brought dreams to life.
They have something or the other for all age groups, making them perfect for a family holiday. Each cruise ship is built differently and offers a unique cruising experience. As technological innovations continue at a rapid pace, we can expect even larger cruise ships in future.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the largest cruise ship in the world?
The oasis-class Wonder of the Seas is the world’s biggest cruise ship. It is owned by Royal Caribbean International. Delivered in January 2022, it is 1,188 feet long and started operations in March 2022. It can accommodate 6,988 passengers and 2,300 crew members. It has four bow thrusters, with 7500 Horsepower each. It can attain a cruising speed of up to 22 knots.
2. How much does it cost to stay on the symphony of the seas?
The price depends on the season and also demand. However, it costs about 45,000 to 80,000 US Dollars a week. It can vary depending on the suite you choose and the additional facilities you avail.
3. What is the carrying capacity of the Allure of the Seas?
The passenger cruise can carry around 6780 passengers and 2100 crew members and staff. It has 2703 cabins, divided into 43 category types.
4. Is the Oasis of the Seas sailing?
After undergoing repairs, the cruise ship returned to service on 5th September 2021. It sailed several itineraries from Cape Liberty, New Jersey, before returning to its home port from port Miami. In 2022, it is plying on many western and eastern Caribbean routes.
5. What happened to the Harmony of the Seas?
In May 2022, the cruise ship crashed into a dock in Jamaica and suffered damages. It had left Port Canaveral and went to the Bahamas before leaving for Jamaica, where it hit a dock.
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An ardent sailor and a techie, Anish Wankhede has voyaged on a number of ships as a marine engineer officer. He loves multitasking, networking, and troubleshooting. He is the one behind the unique creativity and aesthetics at Marine Insight.
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