Cruise ships are well-known for their comfort and size. In fact, cruisers sometimes get lost on board or even forget they are on a boat because the space feels so extensive. So, how big is a cruise ship?
An average cruise ship is around 1,000 feet long and can hold approximately 3000 guests.
Read on to learn more about how big this really is, the different types of ships by size, and how to choose the best one for your next cruise.
- How Big Is the Average Cruise Ship?
- Are All Cruise Ships the Same Size?
- Types of Cruise Ships by Size
- How Big Is the World’s Biggest Cruise Ship?
- Will Cruise Ships Keep Getting Bigger?
- Why Do Cruise Companies Want to Build Bigger Ships?
- Which Cruise Ship Size Is Best For Me?
- Frequently Asked Questions About Cruise Ship Size
- Wrapping Up
How Big Is the Average Cruise Ship?
The average cruise ship is around 1,000 feet long. This is just as long as 10 average blue whales, the largest animal in the world! If you are having trouble picturing the size of a blue whale, imagine three football fields in a row. That’s a big ship!
The average cruise ship described above weighs approximately 200,000 gross tons. However, the more popular way to measure a cruise ship is to look at its Gross Tonnage, which uses its height, width, and length to determine how much space is within the entire boat.
Gross tonnage (GT) refers to the ship’s internal volume, or how much space is within the cruise ship. The average cruise ship measures approximately 120,000 GT.
A 1000-foot cruise ship has around 15 decks for visitors to enjoy during their stay. These decks are a popular place to lounge, spend time with other travelers, and even enjoy meals.
Are All Cruise Ships the Same Size?
There are various types of cruise ships ranging in size and functions. With nearly 30 million cruise passengers yearly (pre-COVID), companies want to provide vessels that have something for everyone.
Cruise ship size can impact many aspects of a cruiser’s vacation. The boat’s size will determine the trip’s price, the destinations you can travel to, and the amenities you will have on board. The overall size also impacts your sleeping quarters and how many others will be on board with you.
Older cruise ships tend to be smaller than newer ships, especially those built after 2015. Eventually, most cruise companies will probably replace their older, smaller boats with larger ones. However, COVID-related lulls in the cruise industry will likely delay this by at least a few years.
Types of Cruise Ships by Size
The size of a cruise ship varies based on the ship’s type and the ship’s age. Most cruise companies allow you to search on their website by ship size so you can find the one that best fits your needs.
Carnival Cruise Ships by Size (Biggest to Smallest)
Carnival’s fleet includes 23 ships, with more launching soon. The oldest ships still on the water are from the early and mid-1990s, with the oldest (Carnival Ecstasy, 1991) set to retire in 2022.
Carnival Cruise Ships with Over 5000 Passengers
The largest ship in the Carnival fleet is the Mardi Gras, which is 1128 feet long and holds nearly 5,300 passengers. It is the only Carnival cruise ship that carries over 5000 passengers.
This ship has 19 decks for passengers to enjoy. It weighs 181,808 tons.
Carnival Cruise Ships with 4000-5000 Passengers
The Carnival Panorama is the only Carnival ship that holds between 4000 and 5000 passengers. It is just over 1053 feet long and weighs 133,500 tons.
Carnival Cruise Ships with 3000-4000 Passengers
Six ships in the Carnival fleet hold 3000-4000 passengers. They are between 892 and 1053 feet long and range in weight from 102,853 to 133,500 tons.
The Carnival ships in this category are:
- Carnival Horizon
- Carnival Vista
- Carnival Breeze
- Carnival Magic
- Carnival Dream
- Carnival Splendor
- Carnival Sunshine
Carnival Cruise Ships with Under 3000 Passengers
Most of Carnival’s cruise ships host under 3000 passengers per voyage. These ships range from 853 to 980 feet long and weigh between 70,367 and 110,000 tons. Most of Carnival’s older ships fall into the smaller size category.
The Carnival ships in this category are:
- Carnival Freedom
- Carnival Liberty
- Carnival Valor
- Carnival Glory
- Carnival Conquest
- Carnival Radiance
- Carnival Sunrise
- Carnival Miracle
- Carnival Legend
- Carnival Pride
- Carnival Spirit
- Carnival Paradise
- Carnival Elation
- Carnival Ecstasy (retiring 2022)
Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships by Size (Biggest to Smallest)
Royal Caribbean separates its cruise ships into different classes. The vessels in each Royal Caribbean class will be of similar size and offer passengers a similar experience.
Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class (5,500 Passengers)
The Oasis Class ships are the largest cruise ships in the world, each weighing over 225,000 tons. The Oasis Class ships provide an all-inclusive experience because they have enough space to fit everything from lodgings to restaurants to zip lines – all right on board.
The Wonder of the Seas is the largest cruise ship in the world and belongs to this class of Royal Caribbean’s fleet.
The Oasis Class ships include the following:
- Oasis of the Seas
- Allure of the Seas
- Harmony of the Seas
- Symphony of the Seas
- Wonder of the Seas (the world’s largest cruise ship)
Royal Caribbean’s Quantum Class (4,900-5600 Passengers)
Royal Caribbean’s Quantum Class prides itself on its large size and modern designs. These ships range from 1138 feet-1141 feet long. Each ship in the class weighs 168,000-169,000 tons.
The following ships are part of the Quantum Class:
- Quantum of the Seas
- Anthem of the Seas
- Ovation of the Seas
- Spectrum of the Seas
- Odyssey of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Freedom Class (3600-3700 passengers)
Royal Caribbean’s Freedom Class ships are still huge but tend to be older and less modern than the Quantum and Oasis lines. They weigh between 154,000 and 156,000 tons and are all 1,112 feet long.
The following ships are part of the Freedom Class:
- Freedom of the Seas
- Liberty of the Seas
- Independence of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Voyager Class (3100-3300 passengers)
Royal Caribbean’s Voyager Class is slightly smaller than the Freedom Class but still has plenty of room on board for amenities and comfortable lodgings. These ships are 1020 feet long and range from 137,00-138,000 tons.
The following ships are part of the Voyager Class:
- Voyager of the Seas
- Explorer of the Seas
- Adventure of the Seas
- Navigator of the Seas
- Mariner of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Radiance Class (2100-2200 passengers)
Royal Caribbean’s Radiance Class includes stylish boats that are small enough to fit into many smaller ports that larger ships cannot dock in. These ships are 962 feet in length and weigh approximately 90,000 tons and
The following ships are part of the Radiance Class:
- Radiance of the Seas
- Brilliance of the Seas
- Serenade of the Seas
- Jewel of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Vision Class (2000-2200 passengers)
Royal Caribbean’s Vision Class ships are smaller than most others in their fleet. These smaller cruise boats offer a varied itinerary of international ports that are too small to welcome larger cruise ships.
The Vision Class ships are 915-990 feet long and weigh approximately 78,000-83,000 tons. The exception is the Grandeur of the Seas, which only weighs 73,817 tons.
The following ships are part of the Vision Class:
- Grandeur of the Seas
- Rhapsody of the Seas
- Enchantment of the Seas
- Vision of the Seas
Norwegian Cruise Ships by Size (Biggest to Smallest)
Norwegian’s fleet includes 17 ships, with more expected to launch in 2022 and 2023. Norwegian ships are smaller than Carnival and Royal Caribbean but still popular amongst cruise-lovers. They do not have a fleet boat with over 5000 passengers.
The three ships in this category are the largest in Norwegian’s fleet. They range from 155,000 tons to 165,000 tons. They are from 1,069-1,094 feet long. These ships have 19 and 20 decks and plenty of amenities for passengers.
The following Norwegian cruise ships hold 4000-5000 passengers
- Norwegian Bliss
- Norwegian Escape
- Norwegian Epic
Norwegian has four cruise ships that fall into this category. They range from 1,068 feet to 1,094 feet in length. They weigh between 145,000 and 169,000 tons.
The following Norwegian cruise ships hold 3000-4000 passengers:
- Norwegian Encore
- Norwegian Joy
- Norwegian Breakaway
- Norwegian Getaway
Under 3000 Passengers
Most of the ships in Norwegian’s fleet hold under 3000 passengers. This smaller size means that their vessels can fit into small ports that do not have the capacity for larger ships.
These cruise ships range from 832 feet to 965 feet and weigh from 75,904 tons to 93,558 tons. Most of the older Norwegian ships fall into this category.
The following Norwegian cruise ships hold under 3000 passengers:
- Norwegian Jade
- Norwegian Pearl
- Norwegian Gem
- Norwegian Jewel
- Norwegian Dawn
- Norwegian Star
- Pride of America
- Norwegian Sun
- Norwegian Sky
- Norwegian Spirit
How Big Is the World’s Biggest Cruise Ship?
The largest cruise ship in the world in 2022 is the Wonder of the Seas. The Wonder of the Seas holds nearly 7,000 passengers and 2300 crew members. There are over 2800 staterooms on board. The ship is 1188 feet long and 210 feet wide. It weighs a whopping 236,857 tons!
The Wonder of the Seas is part of the Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class, which includes four other ships that are similar in size. In fact, Royal Caribbean’s fleet includes the top five largest cruise ships in the world. The Wonder of the Seas provides many amenities, such as an outdoor venue, an Aqua Theater, and even a 30-foot diving platform.
One of the most popular attractions on this giant boat is the Ultimate Abyss water slide. This is the tallest waterslide on any cruise ship, providing cruisers with a 13-second ride from 150 feet above sea level. The slide itself contains 216 feet of dark and twisting tunnels that are sure to entertain everyone in the family!
Cruisers on the Wonder of the Seas can take advantage of its significant size by renting larger spaces to stay in, such as a two-story suite. These Ultimate Family Suites come with VIP access to the ship’s many activities and in-suite fun for the family. You’ll find ping pong, air hockey, and even a giant slide in the living space.
Will Cruise Ships Keep Getting Bigger?
Cruise ships are likely to continue increasing in size to a certain extent. The average size of new cruise ships has been growing since 2015 and has only recently stagnated.
The average size of a new cruise ship is more than double that of an average boat built during the 1990s. Some cruise lines, such as Royal Caribbean, continue to develop significantly larger vessels as they update their fleets.
However, eventually, it will no longer be practical for companies to continue expanding the size of their ships. When this happens, we will probably see a plateau in cruise ship size. We’ll discuss this more in the section below.
Why Do Cruise Companies Want to Build Bigger Ships?
Cruise ships will likely continue to grow because they offer more options for passengers and the potential for more profit for cruise ship companies. A larger ship means more amenities and activities to do on board and room to hold more paying customers.
The larger ships are also great marketing tools for cruise ship companies. Media outlets are interested in covering the newest, biggest boats as they hit the travel market. This is especially true for those that can fit seemingly impossible activities, such as go-kart racing, VR activities, and even laser tag – all right on the ship.
Are There Any Limitations to Cruise Ship Size?
No regulations or laws limit cruise ships’ size, but that does not mean they will continue to grow in size forever. There are many reasons why cruise ship companies will likely stop increasing the size of their new ships eventually.
For one thing, larger ships require more upkeep and are more expensive to maintain. They bring in more revenue than their smaller counterparts. Still, they also demand more employees, workers, parts, fuel, and other regular costs to keep running.
Another reason cruise ships may stop increasing in size is the natural limitations of where such large ships can dock.
Many popular ports people want to travel to cannot support such large vessels in their harbor. Some ports have barriers, such as bridges, that stop large ships from entering. Others are simply too small to house a large cruise ship and other boats simultaneously.
Which Cruise Ship Size Is Best For Me?
There are many factors to consider when deciding which size ship to choose for your next vacation. The fact is that the right size for one cruiser might not be suitable for another.
Here are a few essential things to consider when choosing your cruise ship size:
- Price: Larger ships tend to be more expensive to cruise on. This is because they have more amenities and are usually the newer fleet ships.
- Destination: Be sure to choose a ship size appropriate for your desired destinations. Many of the largest ships will be too large to fit into small ports, especially when traveling internationally. Choosing a smaller cruise ship size might be best if you have your heart set on a smaller port destination.
- Amenities: Check the different cruise ship sizes to ensure you choose one that fits all the amenities you want to have on your trip. Larger ships have more decks and usually offer larger sleeping quarters. Some of the largest ships include everything from zip lines to go-carting. In contrast, the smaller vessels are less likely to have these more elaborate amenities.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cruise Ship Size
Learn more by checking out these other frequently asked questions about cruise ships and their sizes.
How long and wide is a cruise ship?
The average cruise ship is 1000 feet long, but they can vary significantly in width and height. The best measurement for this is the ship’s internal volume (GT), which includes all the space within the vessel (factoring in length, height, and width). The average internal volume of a cruise ship is 120,000 GT.
How big is the Titanic compared to a cruise ship?
Modern cruise ships are generally larger than the Titanic (to the surprise of many movie-lovers). Although the Titanic was the largest ship built at the time of its launch, modern ships have surpassed it in size.
The Titanic was 883 feet long, 117 feet shorter than the average modern cruise ship (1000 feet long). While it is below the average cruise ship size, modern cruise ships are still around this size or even smaller.
What is the capacity of a cruise ship?
The capacity of a cruise ship varies with the type and size of the specific ship. The average cruise ship (1000 feet in length) can hold approximately 3000 passengers for the duration of its journey.
Cruise ships come in all shapes and sizes, but you can expect them to be significantly large.
The average cruise boat is 1000 feet long and holds approximately 3000 passengers. Different cruise lines offer various types and classes of ships that can vary in size. The most critical aspect of choosing a cruise ship size is deciding what you want out of your cruise and selecting the most appropriate size for your trip.