What is the largest cruise ship?
Above: Royal Caribbean's Oasis class cruise ships remain the largest cruise ships. However, the largest of these now is Wonder of the Seas, entering service in March 2022 (above right). In the second position is Symphony of the Seas (above) with sister Harmony of the Seas (below) in the third position.
Oasis of the Seas (above) is currently the fourth largest cruise ship with sister Allure of the Seas (below) in fifth place.
Costa Smeralda (above), along with sister Costa Toscana (below), are the largest of the new LNG-powered ships delivered to Carnival Corporation's lines. (Photo courtesy of Costa Cruises).
Iona of P&O Cruises is the largest passenger ship built for the British market. (Photo courtesy of P&O Cruises).
Serving the German-speaking market are AIDAnova (above) and AIDAcosma (below). They are tied for eighth and ninth. (Photos courtesy of AIDA Cruises).
Below: Carnival Mardi Gras (Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line).
The top ten largest cruise ships are now belong to Royal Caribbean Holdings and to Carnival Corporation. While the top five positions now belong to RCH's primary operating subsidiary Royal Caribbean International, Carnival has grabbed the next five positions with a series of ships powered by LNG (Liquified Natural Gas). These ships are distributed among several of Carnival's operating cruise lines.
Absent from the list is Norwegian Cruise Line, a traditional member of the club. Although NCL has some very big ships, they are not big enough to keep NCL in the top ten. Furthermore, it is unlikely that NCL will re-enter the list in the near future as the ships it has on order are smaller than the largest ships in its current fleet.
Also out of the top 10 is MSC Cruises. However, this will not be for long as MSC is building the MSC World Europa which is planned to be over 200,00 gross tons.
In past updates of this page, we have only considered ships that were actually in service with the cruise lines. However, due to the pandemic, there are now ships that have been delivered to the cruise lines that have never had a passenger aboard. Therefore, our standard will be ships that have been delivered to the cruise lines.
As in the past, we will use the standard for measuring the size of cruise ships (and ocean liners) gross tonnage.*
The highest gross tonnage is Wonder of the Seas, an Oasis class cruise ship, at 236,857 gross tons. Her sisters Symphony of the Seas, 228.081 gross tons; Harmony of the Seas (227,000 gross tons); Oasis of the Seas (226,858 gross tons), and Allure of the Seas (225,282 gross tons) occupy the next four positions. (Note that although Oasis was the lead ship in the class, she is now larger than the younger Allure of the Seas due to a refit in which her tonnage was increased. It is not all that unusual for ships of the same class not to have the same gross tonnage).
The next largest cruise ship in terms of gross tonnage is one of Carnival Corporation's new LNG-powered ships. Part of Costa Cruises' Excellence class, Costa Smeralda and Costa Toscana are 185,000 gross tons and can accommodate more than 6,500 passengers at full capacity.
Approximately, the same size is P&O Cruises' Iona. She was built by Meyer Werft in Germany and is another of Carnival Corporation's LNG ships.
The first of the Carnival Corporation LNG-powered ships to be completed was AIDAnova (183,900 gross tons). She was built by Meyer Werft and sails for the German-speaking brand AIDA Cruises. Her similarly-sized sister AIDAcosma was delivered to AIDA at the end of 2021.
Bearing the name of its first ship is Carnival Cruise Line's Mardi Gras. An LNG-powered ship, she is 180,000 gross tons and was built by Meyer Turku.
The largest ocean liner - - as opposed to cruise ship - - remains Queen Mary 2 at 151,000 gross tons.
To give a sense of how this compares to the great ocean liners of the past, Titanic was 46,000 gross tons, Normandie was 79,280 gross tons, the first Queen Mary was 81,237 gross tons, the first Queen Elizabeth was 83,673 gross tons, the France was 66,343 gross tons (subsequently 76,049 as Norway) and the Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) was 70,327 gross tons.
*Note: Creating some confusion, the size of warships and cargo ships are measured in tons. However, gross tonnage is different than the measures (i.e., displacement and dead weight) used for those other types of ships. (see separate article).
Queen Mary 2 is the largest ocean liner but no longer in the top ten largest passenger ship.
Top Ten Biggest Passenger Ships
1. Wonder of the Seas
2. Symphony of the Seas
3. Harmony of the Seas
4. Oasis of the Seas
5. Allure of the Seas
6.7. (tie) Costa Smeralda; Costa Toscana
8.9. (tie) AIDAnova, AIDAcosma
10. Mardi Gras
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