Ahoy: The 30 Biggest Cruise Ships For You To Set Sail On

Large cruise ship lit up on the water during sunset

4.98min read

Published 18 October 2018


When it comes to ocean cruises, size does matter. The bigger the ship, the more there is to do on board! Where you cruise to is important of course, but when it comes to the biggest hotels at sea, it’s the activities and facilities we really book a stateroom for. So which ships are the biggest?

1. Symphony of the Seas


RCI symphony of the seas ultimate abyss

Gross tonnage: 228,081 gross tonnes

Capacity: 6,680 pax, 2,200 crew

Size: 362m, 18 decks

The largest ship in the world, Symphony of the Seas is one mega vessel. With 18 decks, 24 guest elevators, a 10-story slide and not one, not two, but three waterslides. Taking its maiden voyage in April of 2018, the ship is also home to RCI’s seven neighbourhoods set up on board, an array of dining options and of course myriad activities including ziplining, glow-in-the-dark laser tag, a surfing simulator, an escape room and mini golf, just to name a few!

2. Harmony of the Seas

Gross tonnage: 228,000 gross tonnes

Capacity: 6,360 pax, 2394 crew

Size: 362m, 18 decks

Taking her maiden voyage in 2016, Harmony of the Seas, like Symphony, boasts 18 decks and 24 guest elevators. The Seven Neighbourhoods set up, which includes Central Park, Boardwalk, Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, and Youth Zone ensure there is something to entertain all types of cruisers.

3. Allure of the Seas


allure of the seas aquatheatre royal caribbean international

Gross tonnage: 227,000 tonnes

Capacity: 6,318 pax, 2,300 crew

Size: 361m, 18 decks

Built by Royal Caribbean International in 2010, Allure of the Seas is less than two inches longer than sister ship Oasis of the Seas. Allure of the Seas cruise will also introduce you to the captivating Central Park, a unique green-space at sea with a mix of more than 12,000 coastal and sub-tropical plant species from around the world. Allure of the Seas doesn’t stop there, with more highlights to wow you such as two rock-climbing walls, two FlowRider surf simulators, the 25-metre zip line above the Boardwalk, stage shows straight off Broadway, jaw-dropping entertainment in the AquaTheater and so much more.

4. Oasis of the Seas


RCI Oasis of the seas huge central plaza

Gross tonnage: 227,000 tonnes

Capacity: 6,300 pax, 2,394 crew

Size: 361m, 18 decks

Oasis of the Seas, which took her maiden voyage in 2009, is like a  floating mini-city, complete with its very own green space. And, like any city, Oasis of the Seas even comes with neighbourhoods – one of its most unique features. On an Oasis of the Seas cruise, you’ll find seven different themed areas, including the revolutionary Central Park – a unique outdoor space containing more than 12,000 live plants. Like sister ship Allure of the Seas, Oasis comes with two FlowRider surf simulators, rocking climbing walls, a zipline, the first beach pool at sea, and the awesome Rising Tide bar - an engineering marvel that enables you to enjoy a cocktail and you slowly ascend and descent the height of three decks!

5. Costa Smeralda

Gross tonnage: 183,900 tonnes

Capacity: 6,334 pax, 2,444 crew

Size: 331m

Debuting in November 2019, the Costa Smeralda will be the epitome of Italian quality, style, warm hospitality, entertainment and gastronomy. Capturing the essence of Italy’s love of art and culture, the ship will boast four pools, 11 restaurants, 20 bridges and an array of entertainment and activities.

6. MSC Meraviglia

Gross tonnage: 171,598 tonnes

Capacity: 5,714 pax, 1,540 crew

Size: 315m

The MSC Meraviglia is a beautiful vessel designed for cruising in all seasons. Be entertained by the world’s favourite circus, Cirque du Soleil, feast in any of the 12 distinct dining venues, and explore the longest LED dome at sea. Guests can make the most of 10sqm of public space per guest, lazing poolside, relaxing at the spa, or kicking back in  the exclusive Yacht Club.

7. Norwegian Bliss

Gross tonnage: 168,028 tonnes

Capacity: 4,004 pax, 1,716 crew

NCL’s newest ship, Norwegian Bliss entered service in April 2018. Designed to make the most of spectacular environments, like Alaska and the Caribbean, it has a revolutionary Observation Lounge, excellent entertainment, dining and amenities.

8. Quantum of the Seas

Gross tonnage: 168,666 tonnes

Capacity: 4,905 pax, 1,500 crew

Another RCI ship, Quantum of the Seas was built in 2014. Quantum has all of the latest technology onbard and more flexibility than many ships in the same league. There are no set dining times, no assigned seats, no required formal nights and complete flexibility to create your own culinary experience at sea.

9. Anthem of the Seas

Gross tonnage: 168,666 tonnes

Capacity: 4,905 pax, 1,500 crew

The ultimate thrill-seekers cruise, Anthem of the Seas has a huge number of cutting edge experiences for adrenaline junkies. Simulate a skydive at Ripcord by iFLY, bump up the jam with dodgem cars, take in the view from the highest viewing deck on a cruise ship at North Star, and so much more!

10. Ovation of the Seas


Ovation of the seas north star observation deck at sea

Gross tonnage: 168,666 tonnes

Capacity: 4,905 pax, 1,500 crew

Adventure, innovation, sheer edge-of-your-seat adrenaline… Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas is so much more than a cruise ship – it is an experience of mega fun at sea. This is the third ship to join Royal Caribbean’s Quantum Class, and an Ovation of the Seas cruise promises highlights such as breathtaking 360-degree views from the 90-metre high North Star observation capsule; Ripcord by iFLY, the first-ever skydiving simulator at sea; captivating martini-mixing robots in the Bionic Bar; and 18 incredible restaurants including Jamie’s Italian by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. This is in addition to Royal Caribbean’s Vitality Spa & Fitness Centre, well appointed staterooms and exceptional service. Below you’ll find our guide to what you can expect on Ovation of the Seas cruises.

11. Norwegian Joy

Gross tonnage: 167,725 tonnes

Capacity: 3,883 pax, 1,821 crew

Custom built for the Chinese market, Norwegian Joy was designed with an artwork by artist Tan Ping painted across its hull. Cruising between Australia and China, the official language on board is Mandarin.

12. Norwegian Escape

Gross tonnage: 164,600 tonnes

Capacity: 4,266 pax, 1733 crew

Norwegian Escape, which took her maiden voyage in 2015, was the first NCL ship delivered with an Exhaust Gas Cleaning (EGC) system, which cleans out sulfur oxide and other noxious particles, making the ship run greener.

13. Norwegian Epic

Gross tonnage:155,873 tonnes

Built by Norwegian Cruise Line in 2010, Epic specialises in Mediterranean and Caribbean cruises and strongly promotes its cruise line entertainment. The world-class performers, along with new wave accommodation, including studios designed for solo travellers, and exclusive private havens, are key offerings on Norwegian Epic.

14. Freedom of the Seas

Gross tonnage: 154,407 tonnes

Capacity: 4,515 pax, 1,360 crew

Built in 2006, you can catch a first-run film in the 3D theatre, or poolside under the stars on the outdoor movie screen onboard Freedom of the Seas. On offer on board if 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 too, in conjunction with adventure, which includes the Flowrider surf simulator, a rock climbing wall, ice skating rink, catilevered whirlpools, mini golf, H20 Zone water park and much more.

15. Liberty of the Seas

Gross tonnage: 154,407 tonnes

Capacity: 4,960 pax, 1,360 crew

Inaugurated in 2007, Liberty of the Seas has a huge range of options in the areas of fitness, recreation and entertainment. In conjunction with the size of the ship and the number of options onboard, it is easy to forget that you are actually on a massive floating object, slipping through the Caribbean Sea.

16. Independence of the Seas

Gross tonnage: 154,407 tonnes

Capacity: 4,560 pax, 1,440 crew

In addition to the FlowRider surf simulator, a rock climbing wall, ice-skating rink, cantilevered whirlpools, Royal Promenade, mini golf course, the Independence of the Seas offers over 100 spa treatments to ensure your cruise has the right amount of pampering.

17. Queen Mary 2


Cunard's Queen Mary 2 afternoon tea on the deck

Gross tonnage: 151,400 tonnes

Capacity: 2,691 pax, 1,292 crew

Queen Mary 2 is the flagship of Cunard Line and epitomises the golden age of travel. After undergoing a significant transformation in 2016, the Queen Mary 2 is more elegant and sophisticated than ever before, promising a cruise that feels like you’re staying in a five-star hotel at sea. One of the ship’s most notable features is the collection of kennels for cats and dogs – Queen Mary 2 is the only cruise liner permitting owners to cruise with their beloved pets. This classic ship also honours the very British tradition of afternoon tea, during which white-gloved waiters serve delicious scones with cream, finger sandwiches and tea in the Queens Room.

18. Norwegian Breakaway


norwegian breakaway cruise ship

Gross tonnage: 146,600 tonnes

Capacity: 3,963 pax, 1,657 crew

Find out more about Norwegian Breakaway here.

19. Norwegian Getaway

Gross tonnage: 145,655 tonnes

Capacity: 3,910 pax

Find out more about Norwegian Gateway here.

20. Royal Princess


royal princess top deck of ship at night

Gross tonnage: 142,714 tonnes

Capacity: 3,560 pax

Find out more about Royal Princess here.

21. Regal Princess


regal princess ship light show at night

Gross tonnage: 142,229 tonnes

Capacity: 3,560 pax

Find out more about Regal Princess here.

22. Navigator of the Seas

Gross tonnage: 139,570 tonnes

Capacity: 3,276 pax,

Find out more about Navigator of the Seas here.

23. MSC Divina


MSC Divina top deck and pools

Gross tonnage: 139,400 tonnes

Capacity: 3,502 pax, 1,539 crew

Find out more about MSC Divina here.

24. MSC Preziosa

Gross tonnage: 139,400

Capacity: 3,959 pax, 1,388 crew

Find out more about MSC Preziosa here.

25. Mariner of the Seas


RCI Mariner of the Seas mini golf

Gross tonnage: 138,279

Capacity: 3,114 pax, 1,185 crew

Find out more about Mariner of the Seas here.

26. Voyager of the Seas


RCI voyager of the seas rockclimbing wall

Gross tonnage: 138,194 tonnes

Capacity: 3,840 pax, 1,180 crew

Find out more about Voyager of the Seas here.

27. Explorer of the Seas


RCI's explorer of the seas

Gross tonnage: 138,000 tonnes

Capacity: 3,114 pax, 1,180 crew

Find out more about Explorer of the Seas here.

28. MSC Fantasia

Gross tonnage: 137,936 tonnes

Capacity: 3,900 pax, 1,313 crew

Find out more about MSC Fantasia here.

29. MSC Splendida

Gross tonnage: 127,936 tonnes

Capacity: 3,274 pax, 1,332 crew

Find out more about MSC Splendida here.

30. Adventure of the Seas

Gross tonnage: 137,276 tonnes

Capacity: 3,114 pax, 1,180 crew

Find out more about Adventure of the Seas here.


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