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What are the largest cruise ships in the world?

May 03, 2022
3 min read
What are the largest cruise ships in the world?
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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.

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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 by ©2022 Michel Verdure Studio, In
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
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  • Intro Offer
    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 150,000 points
    120,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.