Our cruising experts have listed the 30 largest cruise ships to show that when it comes to size, in cruising terms, bigger is not so much better but it does enable more stuff to do on these mega structures of the sea. The following list details ships in decreasing order of size, it looks at maximum occupancy and also highlights each ship's own special offering.
1. Allure of The Seas, built by Royal Caribbean International in the world in 2010 measures 225,282 GT and carries 5,412 passengers at double occupancy. Less than two inches longer than sister ship Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas is the largest ship in the world. In summer 2015, Allure of the Sea will sail European waters, departing on a round trip from either Barcelona or Civitavecchia near Rome. With a crew of 2,384 to serve guests, this is European cruising on the biggest of scales.
2. Oasis of The Seas, built by Royal Caribbean International in 2009, measures 225,282 GT and carries 5,412 passengers at double occupancy. The size of the Oasis enables its innovative design with seven distinct neighbourhoods built to provide a broad range of tailored entertainment.
3. Quantum of the Seas, built by Royal Caribbean International in 2014, measures 168,666 GT and carries 4,180 passengers at double occupancy. Newly built the Quantum of the Seas has brand new designed staterooms, the latest in technology, and the most flexible dining ever. Quantum gives you more distinct dining options plus total flexibility to create your own culinary experience at sea. There are no set dining times, no assigned seats, no required formal nights.
5. Freedom of the Seas, built by Royal Caribbean International in 2006, measures 154,407 GT and carries 3,634 passengers at double occupancy. You can catch a first-run movie in the 3D theatre or poolside under the stars on the outdoor movie screen. On offer on board is the BRITTO Gallery where you can take in an extensive array of artworks or indulge in the frosted confections of the Cupcake Cupboard. The wining and dining options are extensive in conjunction with the adventure which includes the Flowrider–surf simulator, rock climbing wall, ice skating rink, cantilevered whirlpools, mini golf-course, H2O Zone water-park and much more.
9. Norwegian Breakaway, built by Norwegian Cruise Line in 2013, measures 146,600 GT and carries 3,988 passengers at double occupancy. The Norwegian Breakaway offers a huge array of impressive bars and nightclubs all whilst cruising the Bahamas.
10. Norwegian Getaway, built by Norwegian Cruise Line in 2014, measures 145,655 GT and carries 3,910 passengers at double occupancy. With 28 dining options, five water slides, and three levels of action-packed activities in the sports complex, Norwegian Getaway keeps the entertainment coming on its year-round cruises from Miami.
11. Royal Princess, built by Princess Cruises in 2013, measures 142,714 GT and carries 3,560 passengers at double occupancy. The Royal Princess provides a more traditional style of cruising with some new inclusions like the SeaWalk, a walkway that hangs off one side of the ship 16 decks up and offers vertigo-inducing views through strengthened glass. On the pool deck, there is a fountain situated between the main pool and the upgraded Movies Under the Stars screen which does a Vegas-like water and light show at night.
13. Navigator of the Seas, built by Royal Caribbean International in 2002, measures 139,570 GT and carries 3,276 passengers at double occupancy. The fourth ship in Royal Caribbean's Voyager Class underwent a huge refurbishment in January 2014. The "revitalization" of Navigator of the Seas added cabins, specialty restaurants and the FlowRider surf simulator.
Navigator is the first Royal Caribbean ship to offer the "Virtual Balcony." Now many of the ship's existing standard interior cabins now have floor-to-ceiling HD screens that allow passengers to get a view of the ocean without paying the premium for balcony rooms. The high-tech system also brings in the sounds of the ocean waves to provide some white noise to block out less desirable ship sounds.
15. MSC Preziosa, built by MSC Cruises in 2013, measures 139,400 GT and carries 3,478 passengers at double occupancy. MSC Preziosa has plenty to offer the experienced cruiser and lots for families, younger couples and the young-at-heart, and for all these cruisers, the ship provides a fun, relaxed and affordable way to cruise the Med.
It's important to note that, while English is the main onboard language, MSC predominantly attracts passengers from mainland Europe. This means announcements are made in five languages, and entertainment is geared to appeal to multinational audiences, so you will find dancers, bilingual singers and acrobats instead of comedians and similar acts that require a lot of speaking.
16. Mariner of the Seas, built by Royal Caribbean International in 2003, measures 138,279 GT and carries 3,114 passengers at double occupancy. This ship was designed to provide adventure, relaxation, and everything in between. New inclusions now are a huge range of shopping experiences and an opportunity to reach into your inner James Bond at the revitalised Casino Royale.
A butler service will offer assistance at check-in, transport luggage, unpack, serve traditional English afternoon tea as well as arranging cigars and beverages, booking tables at restaurants, treatments in the MSC AUREA SPA, ad hoc excursions and even arranging a private party!
18. MSC Splendida, built by MSC Cruises in 2009, measures 137,936 GT and carries 3,274 passengers at double occupancy. The MSC Splendida, is a luxury cruise liner where there is a blend of technology and exceptional comfort that is also futuristic, yet retaining ultimate elegance.
For their well-being, guests may partake in the MSC AUREA Spa. Here, the magic of Balinese massage meets holistic water treatments, a legacy of Roman times. Guests can enjoy a number of facilities in relaxing, luxurious surrounding. Facilities include saunas, a Turkish bath, a solarium, a relaxation room, Thalassotherapy treatments and a whirlpool.
19. Explorer of the Seas, built by Royal Caribbean International in 2000, measures 137,308 GT and carries 3,114 passengers at double occupancy. Explorer of the Seas provides an opportunity to combine activities like climbing a rock wall overlooking the sea, or scooting around an ice-skating rink with more zen-like relaxation at the VitalitySM Spa.
20. Voyager of the Seas, built by Royal Caribbean International in 1999, measures 137,276 GT and carries 3,114 passengers at double occupancy. The Voyager of the Seas combines plenty of adventure and relaxation activities with lots of lively night-time action of parades, dancing, and duty-free shopping deals.
21. Adventure of the Seas, built by Royal Caribbean International in 2001, measures 137,276 GT and carries 3,114 passengers at double occupancy. This is a ship packed full of adventure activities with new features as of 2014 like the rock wall climb and mini-golf course. The adventure can be balanced with plenty of time for relaxation, fine dining, and beautiful ocean views while aboard.
22. Costa Diadema, built by Costa Cruises in 2014, measures 132,500 GT and carries 3,700 passengers at double occupancy. Costa Diadema is a Dream-class cruise ship was delivered to Costa Crociere very recently on October 25, 2014. The ship is the newest and largest ship flying an Italian flag and currently Costa Crociere's flagship.
23. Carnival Dream, built by Carnival Cruise Lines in 2009, measures 130,000 GT and carries 3,690 passengers at double occupancy. Carnival Dream is the place to indulge in wining and dining extravaganza with two dual-level dining rooms, a gourmet steakhouse and the Lido Restaurant.
Entertainment options are all up and down the ship, as is water-based fun, from the heart-racing waterside action at WaterWorks, to the more relaxation focused activities at the Cloud 9 Spa.
24. Carnival Magic, built by Carnival Cruise Lines in 2011, measures 130,000 GT and carries 3,690 passengers at double occupancy. Carnival Magic has different offerings from its sibling Carnival Dream. The ship has some new features, including Cucina del Capitano, an Italian restaurant serving handmade pastas and singing waiters for a $10 fee; Cherry on Top, a quirky shop where you buy from a huge range of confectionery or hire a tuxedo; and the industry's first water "dump bucket," which complements the ship's waterslides.
25. Carnival Breeze, built by Carnival Cruise Lines in 2012, measures 130,000 GT and carries 3,690 passengers at double occupancy. Carnival Breeze is all about the water, with a 320-foot-long Twister Waterslide at Carnival WaterWorks, there are hours of fun for the family. And just for the kids there’s supervised youth programs like Camp Ocean and Club O2. And for the bigger people, there is plenty of relaxation opportunities at Serenity Adult Only Retreat.
26. Disney Dream, built by Disney Cruise Line in 2011, measures 130,000 GT and carries 2,500 passengers at double occupancy. The cruise liner was designed with families in mind, combining style and convenient facilities with splashes of magic and cruise-industry firsts—like the splashtacular AquaDuck, the very first water coaster at sea.
27. Disney Fantasy, built by Disney Cruise Line in 2012, measures 130,000 GT and carries 2,500 passengers at double occupancy. Although Disney Fantasy shares a lot of the activities of its sibling Disney Dream, rather than doing three-four night trips it is geared toward seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.
28. Celebrity Reflection, built by Celebrity Cruises in 2012, measures 125,366 GT and carries 3,046 passengers at double occupancy. Celebrity Reflection the newest addition to the Celebrity fleet is all about the art. Big, bold and “out there” art is everywhere with the most notable piece in the Grand Foyer where a live tree that grows with a lighted aluminum tree hanging from the base.
29. Celebrity Silhouette, built by Celebrity Cruises in 2011, measures 122,210 GT and carries 2,886 passengers at double occupancy. Celebrity Silhouette’s big boast is the Lawn Club, which is a half-acre of springy grass on the stern sun deck area. At the Lawn Club Grill, cruisers can pay for a combination meat-fest and an alfresco cooking class.
30. Celebrity Solstice, built by Celebrity Cruises in 2008, measures 121,878 GT and carries 2,852 passengers at double occupancy. With Celebrity Solstice the art of glassblowing with intimate live demonstrations allows cruisers to watch and learn from the experts and create your own art. This all takes place at the Hot Glass ShowSM, a custom-designed, outdoor glassblowing studio created in collaboration with The Corning Museum of Glass.