Cruise ships are getting bigger and better! And that’s why we at Maritime Manual have to constantly update our list of the top 15 largest cruise ships every year.
Increasing popularity among travelers and fast-changing technology has spurred the shipping industry to come up with more luxurious and larger cruise ships with every conceivable amenities and facilities.
Tourists can now enjoy endless thrills for every kind of adventure on board any of these cruise ships. When you choose any of the latest “hotels on boats”, you are cruising on the most innovative, most accommodating, and the largest cruise ships on the high seas.
All that you’ve to do is to choose the destination, and you’re sure to get an experience of a lifetime.
List of Largest Cruise Ships in the world
Here is the definitive list of the biggest cruise ships in the world.
1. Symphony of the Seas
The Symphony of the Seas is a cruise ship operated by Royal Caribbean International. It is regarded as the largest cruise ship in the world. It was ordered on 9 May 2014 and was completed on23 March 2018. It set out on its maiden voyage on 7 April 2018. It took more than 1.3 billion dollars to be constructed.
At a weight of, 230,000 tons the Symphony of the Seas weighs 3000 tonnes more than Harmony of the Seas, which is the second-largest cruise ship and its sister ship in the world. It can accommodate more than 5,518 passengers and over 2200 personal crew members. It has 18 decks. The length and breadth of the cruise ship are 1200 ft and 215 ft respectively.
Symphony of the Seas has three 20,000 kilowatt azipod main engines which have some of the biggest propellers in the world. Symphony of the Seas is also Royal Caribbean’s biggest ship (obviously)
The prime features of the ship include a two-level luxury family suiting and a slide that connecting the kid’s room to the living room and a LEGO wall. It also sports a 212 sq. ft long wraparound balcony and a 3D film theatre. Live sports can be watched from all over the world in the sports bar. Apart from the fastest internet connection and it also features 30 large-screen TV sets.
Symphony of the Seas has all the adventures to keep even an adrenaline junkie occupied which makes it the best cruise ship. There is a glow-in-the-dark laser tag faceoff in Battle for Planet Z℠. Or you can catch a wave on the FlowRider surf simulator or race down The Perfect Storm℠ triple threat waterslides.
For foodies, the selection is endless. There are 22 restaurants to choose from! You can have any kind of food you can imagine and you won’t be disappointed!
The cruise Symphony of the Seas also has a mobile app that enables the people to check-in directly.
2. MS Harmony of the Seas
Harmony of the Seas is an Oasis-class cruise ship that was built by STX France for the Royal Caribbean International which is one of the biggest and best cruise lines in the world. It has a gross tonnage of 226,963 and was built after the success of her older sisters – Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. Until 2018, it was the largest cruise ship in the world.
It was ordered on 12 December 2012 and was completed nearly four years later. On March 10, 2016, it began its first sea trials and was delivered to Royal Caribbean on May 12 of the same year. The construction took a solid 32 months. 70,000 people attended its first sail that took place three days later from STX France docks in Saint-Nazaire.
It has a length of 362.12 m or 1,188 ft and a depth of 74 ft.
Harmony of the Seas has various types of staterooms totaling to 2,747 and can accommodate 5,479 guests. Some of these rooms and suites have 80-inch screens that cover almost the entire floor and ceiling and act as virtual balconies as they show the surroundings of the ship as if through a massive window.
As expected, the Harmony of the seas has various amenities, the most notable of which are a dry slide by the name ‘Ultimate Abyss’ and a water slide called ‘Perfect Storm’.
3. The Allure of the Seas
The Allure of the Seas is an Oasis-class cruise ship that was built by STX Europe for Royal Caribbean International. It was ordered in February 2006. The construction began at the STX Europe shipyards in Turku, Finland. It was launched in 2009 but was declared as complete and delivered on 28 October 2010. At the time of its launch in November 2009, it was the largest passenger ship surpassing the Oasis of the Seas.
The ship is equipped with telescoping funnels so that it can pass under bridges like Storebælt Bridge. It is 1,187 ft tall and has a gross tonnage of 225,282. The famous Anglo-Italian muralist Clarissa Parish decorated vast parts of its interiors.
The Allure of the Seas was fitted with 80 kW solar energy by the Miami based photovoltaic system installer BAM Energy Group. The total installation cost amounted to $600,000. The 2000 m2 area is laminated by Uni-Solar BIVP to hold strong against the 5,400 pair of feet.
4. MS Oasis of the Seas
Oasis of the Seas is a large cruise ship owned and operated by Royal Caribbean International. It belongs to the Oasis class of cruise ships.
The ship was named during a charity sailing for the Make-A-Wish Foundation on the 30th of November in 2009.
It has a length of 360 m and a height of 72 meters above the waterline. It has 16 decks that are accessible to passengers. It has a maximum capacity to accommodate 6,296 passengers and more than 2000 crew members.
It literally had a ‘rocky’ start. The ship hit the dock when the tugboats that were controlling her failed. This caused some minor damage to the hull. Fortunately, it did not affect the final delivery of the product. Two days after being handed over to the Royal Caribbean, it left Finland for the US.
The gross tonnage of Oasis of the Sea is marginally less than that of an American Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. Just like the previous one, it also had BAM Energy Group to install the solar panels which cost it $750,000.
It has two-story loft suites and luxury suites. The ship features a casino, a mini-golf course, multiple nightclubs and lounges, a comedy club, five swimming pools, and many other amenities. All these are organized into separate areas called “neighborhood”. They are Central Park, The Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Centre, Boardwalk, Royal Promenade, Youth Zone, and lastly Entertainment Place. This is quite like a theme park.
5. MSC Meraviglia
MSC Meraviglia is a cruise ship. It is owned by MSC Cruises. It was built at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique in St. Nazaire, France by a company named STX France.
It is the lead ship of MSC’s “Vista Project” Vessels. They are also planning to add MSC Bellissima to the family next year. This MSC Cruises owned ship is currently operating on the Mediterranean and will be repositioned in Miami in the fall of 2019. The ship was also shown in the series Building Giants which was aired on Science Channel.
It has a length of 315.83 m and a tonnage of 171,598 ST. It has 15 passenger decks. It has the capacity to hold 4,500 passengers and 1,536 crew members.
The ship has more than ten restaurants and alongside that a Balinese spa named MSC Aurea spa. For entertaining the guests, she has a theatre along with a Cirque du Soleil show, at the back of the ship.
6. Quantum of the Seas
Quantum of the seas is a large cruise ship. Quantum belongs to the Royal Caribbean International Ltd. and is the lead ship of the Quantum Class cruise ships.
The cruise ship has employed many special features and amenities. Half of the 16 passenger-accessible decks of Quantum feature a balcony stateroom that presents an amazing view of the seas. There are 2090 staterooms 1,570 balcony staterooms, 147 ocean view ones, and 373 inside staterooms. 34 of these are wheelchair accessible. This too features “virtual balconies”.
On deck 14 you can find an exclusive suite “Solarium” which has a cascading pool and two hot tubs. In addition to that, there is an outdoor pool, a large screen, an indoor pool, and a retractable roof. It also happens to have the first wave-pool on a cruise ship. These are just some of the activities and entertainment available on this cruise ship.
One of the special features of the ship is the “RipCord by iFLY”. It is a skydiving simulator that is set in a recirculating indoor recreational vertical wind tunnel. It also features a glass-walled observation tower named “NorthStar”.
Quantum of the Seas betters Royal Caribbean International’s previous Freedom-class ships by 1400 GT.
7. Anthem of the Seas
Anthem of the Seas is a cruise ship owned by the Royal Caribbean International or the RCI. It belongs to the Quantum class of cruise ships which is the third-largest class of cruises.
The ship has a total length of 348 meters. It has a maximum occupancy capacity of 4,905 and 4,180 passengers can be accommodated in double occupancy. It has a speed of 41 km/h. It has 18 decks out of which 16 are accessible to passengers. Some of its many facilities include a Wave Loch Flowrider surf simulator, a skydiving simulator, a rock-climbing wall, a spa, a fitness centre, a theatre, a casino, a solarium, and several swimming pools.
The ship underwent a minor mishap on the 7th February 2016. The ship was caught in 30 ft long waves and a 201 km/h apparent wind while sailing south of Bayonne, New Jersey to Port Canaveral, Florida.
According to the official statement, only four passengers suffered some minor injuries. However, the passengers had some different stories to tell. One who was quoted described the storm as “The scariest, most horrible experience of my life.” The good thing was that the passengers were refunded their full cruise fair and were given a credit of 50% of their fare on their next cruise that could be availed within a year. But how many of those passengers availed of that offer is questionable.
8. Ovation of the Seas
Ovation of the seas is another majestic cruise ship. It is the third of the Quantum Class cruise ships owned by Royal Caribbean International (RCI).
RCI announced on 11th February 2011 that it had ordered a new class of ships from Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. The project was named “Project Sunshine”. The first one was scheduled to be delivered by the fall of 2014. The second ship was ordered on 29th February 2012 and was to be delivered by Spring 2015. Finally, on January 31, 2013, RCI announced the name of this class to be Quantum. The third member of Quantum, Ovation of the Seas entered service on April 14, 2016.
On May 3, 2016, the Ovation of the Seas departed on a Global Odyssey cruise from the port of South Hampton in the UK on May 3, 2016. The last stop was to be Tianjin in China. Here it homeported and carried out a series of cruises to places in Asia.
The vessel was homeported in Sydney in the lower summer hemisphere of 2016-17. She returned to the region for the 2017-2018 season and 2018-19 season too. The ship was repositioned to Seattle during the summer season. Here she sailed 7-night cruises to Alaska.
Ovation measures at 1,142 ft with a 168,666 GT tonnage. It has 18 decks out of which 16 are passenger-accessible. With a maximum occupancy of 4,905, it moves at 22 knots (41 km/h).
On 1 December 2016, two Americans were found dead. Authorities said that they had died from natural causes and that their body showed no sign of violence.
9. Norwegian Bliss
Norwegian Bliss is a large cruise ship that was built by Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany for a company called the Norwegian Cruise Line.
It was ordered in July 2014 and completed on 21 April 2018. It entered service on the same day.
The Norwegian Bliss has an overall length of 1082 ft and a gross tonnage of 168,028 GT. It sports 20 decks, 2038 staterooms, and 4000 passengers. It can also accommodate 1,700 crew members. The vast majority of the rooms have a sea view with a few having their own balconies.
It became the largest cruise ship in the world to pass through the Panama Canal while on its way to Seattle, its summer homeport.
The hull of the ship was designed by a famous marine wildlife artist named Wyland.
This is the first cruise ship ever to have a multi-level racing track as part of its design. Its two-storied go-karts are thus one of its most distinguished features. It also has various themed dining areas and bars.
It was designed in such a way that its energy efficiency is improved in order to meet the environmental regulations of Alaska where it had a schedule of debuting.
10. Norwegian Joy
Norwegian Joy is a large cruise ship owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. It has been inactive service since April 2017. It was built in Papenburg, Germany by Meyer Werft. It is considered as one of the most expensive and the largest cruise ships ever made by mankind. It cost a full 1.4 billion dollars for its construction.
It has a length of 333.46 meters and consists of as many as 20 decks. It has the capacity to accommodate 3,883 passengers and 1,700 crew members.
The Norwegian Joy is a sister to the Norwegian Escape which got completed in October 2015. Actually, this is the one that was originally supposed to have been named the Norwegian Bliss. The ship has been redesigned and reintroduced specifically to cater to the Chinese market. The fact that the ship would be rebuilt and given a new name was announced on 12 October 2015. The ship’s new name along with her new homeports Shanghai and Tianjin was introduced.
One strange fact about the Norwegian Joy is that unlike most of the other ships, it was given a godfather Wang Leehom, a Chinese singer, instead of a godmother. The vessel was christened on June 27th. There have been reports that she would visit Dubai on her repositioning to China. There have been two instances of fire breakout: on 28th September 2016 and another one on October 8, 2016.
11. Norwegian Escape
Norwegian Escape is a cruise ship owned by the Norwegian Cruise Line. It was built in Papenburg, Germany by Meyer Werft in less than a year and a half. It has been in service since its launch in 2015 and is proudly sits at the 11th position in the list of the largest cruise ships on earth today. It took around 1.4 billion dollars to build. It was named through a contest on USA Today.
The ship has a length of 325.9 m and a draft of 8.622m. It is known to have 20 decks.
A remarkable thing about this cruise ship is that it is the first NCL ship that was delivered with an EGC or an Exhaust Gas Cleaning System. This is a system that can scrub off noxious particles like sulfur dioxide.
After the Norwegian Escape, several other ships also installed this system in order to meet the strict environmental regulations in places such as Alaska.
Norwegian Escape is now based in Miami. The main cruises that it offers are those to the Caribbean and the Bahamas. Some sister ships of the cruise include Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy.
12. Liberty of the Seas
Liberty of the Seas is a cruise ship owned by Royal Caribbean International which has many cruise ships in the enviable list of largest cruise ships in the world. It belongs to the Freedom-class of cruise ships. It has been in service since 2007. It was initially named as Endeavor of the Seas.
The ship has a length of 338.92 m. It has 18 decks in total out of which 15 are accessible to passengers.
The ship took 18 months to be completed. It was built in Finland at the Aker Finnyards Turku Shipyard.
The cruise ship holds a lot of facilities which include a volleyball court, a basketball court, a water play area for children, a fitness center, an ice-skating rink, a three-level formal dining room, a water slide complex among many others.
Its sister ships include Freedom of the Seas and Independence of the Seas.
13. Norwegian Epic
Norwegian Epic is a cruise ship owned by the Norwegian Cruise Line. It was built in Saint-Nazaire, France. It has been in service since 2010 and is considered one of the largest cruise ships in the world. At the time of its construction, it was the third-largest cruise ship in the world.
It has a length of 329.45 m and a draft of 8.7 m. It has a total of 19 decks and a capacity of 4,100 and a crew of 1,724.
It has many facilities on board which include several 24-hour restaurants and cafes, six swimming pools, a gym, a spa, a basketball court, a rock-climbing wall, a thermal suite, a theatre, a casino, a bowling alley, a video arcade, internet café, a studio lounge, etc. to name a few.
14. Freedom of the Seas
Freedom of the Seas is a cruise ship that is owned and operated by Royal Caribbean International. It has been in service since 2006 and is considered one of the biggest cruise ships in the world. It cost about 800 million dollars to construct. The ship is registered in Nassau, The Bahamas, and homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
It has a length of 338.7 m and a height of 63.7 m. It has 18 decks in total out of which 15 are accessible to passengers. It has a maximum capacity of 4,515 passengers and a crew of 1,360 people.
Some of the onboard facilities of the ship include three swimming pools, a rock-climbing wall, a miniature golf course, a basketball court, an ice skating rink, a casino, a broadway-style theatre, etc.
15. Independence of the Seas
Independence of the Seas is a cruise ship owned and operated by Royal Caribbean International. It belongs to the Freedom-class of cruise ships. It has been in service since 2008 and is considered one of the largest cruise ships in the world. It was built in Finland. The cost of construction of the ship was more than 800 million dollars.
It has a length of 339 m. It can accommodate 4,370 passengers. The crew of the ship is as large as 1,360 people.
Some of the many facilities available on the ship are a water park, a two-story theatre, an ice-skating rink, a rock-climbing wall, a miniature golf course, a trampoline park, laser tag, water slides, a puzzle break escape room, etc.