What are the largest cruise ships in the world?

May 3, 2022

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Does size really matter? The cruise industry thinks so. For more than a century, cruise lines have competed to claim the title of world’s largest cruise ship.

When it set sail in 1912, the ill-fated Titanic was the largest and grandest passenger vessel of its time. But, as of 2009, when Royal Caribbean debuted its first Oasis-class ship, the superlative applies to vessels more than five times Titanic’s size.

So, what is the biggest cruise ship in the world? At the time of publication, it’s Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas. At nearly 237,000 gross registered tons and carrying up to 6,988 passengers (plus 2,300 crew members), it’s a true behemoth. It boasts eight neighborhoods that feature everything from water slides, a zip line and a carousel to lavish suites, retail shops, thousands of live plants and more than two dozen bars and restaurants.

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A rendering of the Wonder of the Seas. (Image courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

But where do other cruise ships fall? Here’s a quick rundown of the world’s biggest cruise ships by gross registered tons and maximum passenger capacity. Unsurprisingly, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class dominates the top five in both categories. Perhaps more surprisingly, only two other lines join it on the winner’s podium.

Note: I have excluded ships from lines like Costa Cruises, P&O Cruises and AIDA, which do not cater to the North American market.

Biggest cruise ships by tonnage

  • Wonder of the Seas: 236,857 GRT.
  • Symphony of the Seas: 228,081 GRT.
  • Harmony of the Seas: 226,963 GRT.
  • Oasis of the Seas: 226,838 GRT.
  • Allure of the Seas: 225,282 GRT.
  • MSC World Europa: 205,700 GRT.
  • MSC Grandiosa: 181,541 GRT.
  • MSC Virtuosa: 181,541 GRT.
  • Carnival’s Mardi Gras: 180,000 GRT.
  • MSC Bellissima: 171,598 GRT.
  • MSC Meraviglia: 171,598 GRT.

Biggest cruise ships by passenger capacity

  • Wonder of the Seas: 6,988 passengers.
  • Allure of the Seas: 6,780 passengers.
  • Oasis of the Seas: 6,771 passengers.
  • MSC World Europa: 6,762 passengers.
  • Harmony of the Seas: 6,687 passengers.
  • Symphony of the Seas: 6,680 passengers.
  • Carnival’s Mardi Gras: 6,465 passengers.
  • MSC Grandiosa: 6,334 passengers.
  • MSC Virtuosa: 6,334 passengers.
  • MSC Bellissima: 5,686 passengers.
  • MSC Meraviglia: 5,655 passengers.

Got more cruise questions? TPG has answers:

Featured image courtesy of Royal Caribbean.

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