10 Largest Cruise Ships In The World

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Full List: The 10 Current Largest Cruise Ships on the Planet, highlights a Cruzely news source.

5,000 cruisers 

If you think cruise ships have gotten bigger, it’s not just your imagination. Whereas a ship built in the 1990s might hold 2,500 passengers and come in at around 75,000 gross tons (a measure of ship size), that’s nowhere near the ships built today.

Today, any new ship from a major line will be at least 140,000 gross tons, with many much larger than that. Passenger counts have also swelled, with many new ships carrying 5,000 cruisers when completely full.

But the largest cruise ships on the planet are in another league altogether. They can measure up to 250,000 gross tons (roughly triple the size of a ship built 30 years ago!) and when at full capacity with crew, have nearly 10,000 people onboard.

Why Are Cruise Ships So Big?

Truth be told, while the size of massive modern ships is staggering, not everyone likes the large ship experience. Some people can find them too crowded and too hard to navigate. But not everyone feels that way, and cruise lines have invested literally billions into building ships that are as large as possible. So what is the appeal of a mega ship?

Amenities/Activities: For passengers, the big advantage of size comes with everything that can be fit onto the ship. Instead of the old days where there was a pool, some loungers, and a buffet, modern mega ships are literal resorts at sea.

There are multiple pools, more than a dozen restaurants, casinos, ziplines, literal parks, ice-skating rinks, rock-climbing walls, spas, and more bars than you can count on your fingers and toes.

All of that combines into an experience that can exceed expectations and keep passengers coming back for more.

Efficiencies of Scale: For cruise lines, one big positive about a larger ship are greater efficiencies. Instead of having the cost of building two smaller ships — and the costs of having two sets of crew to run them both — one larger ship offers the chance for just as many passengers at a lower cost.

Marketing: Finally, one overlooked aspect of why cruise ships are bigger than ever has to do with marketing and publicity. There’s a certain awe and interest that comes with the world’s largest ships. Seeing them in port is essentially a giant billboard for a cruise line. And the largest ships also get significant press due to their size. All of that can translate into more interest, ticket sales, and prices for the newest — and biggest — ships.

With that in mind, here is the current list of the world’s largest cruise ships as of now…

Icon of the Seas

When it comes to the largest ships, Royal Caribbean is the undisputed leader with the six biggest cruise ships in the world. But the king of the fleet — and the largest cruise ship in the world — is Icon of the Seas.

Icon of the Seas doesn’t sail with passengers until 2024, but it’s already made waves. It’s not just the massive size (250,800 gross tons and 7,600 passengers at maximum capacity), but what’s onboard. A full-fledged waterpark, seven different pools, and eight different neighborhoods offer a spot for everyone. This ship looks to change cruising forever.

  • Gross Tonnage: 250,800
  • Length: 1,198 feet
  • Passenger Capacity: 5,610 double occupancy; 7,600 max capacity
  • Year Built: 2023

Wonder of the Seas

Wonder of the Seas is the latest edition of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships (until Utopia of the Seas arrives in 2024), which were the largest class in the world until the new Icon class took the torch. Still, it’s not as if Wonder of the Seas is a slouch.

At 235,600 gross tons, there’s room for 7,084 passengers and an amazing amount to see and do onboard. This includes Central Park, the mid-ship outdoor promenade that winds through lush gardens, and the AquaTheater, where performers put on aquatic shows, including towering high dives at sea.

  • Gross Tonnage: 235,600
  • Length: 1,188 feet
  • Passenger Capacity: 5,734 double occupancy; 7,084 max capacity
  • Year Built: 2022

Symphony of the Seas

Each iteration of Oasis-class ships has arrived just slightly larger than the previous when it comes to gross tonnage. That means they each had their time as the largest in the world before another arrived on the scene. In this case, Symphony of the Seas (228,000 gross tons and the ability to hold 6,680 passengers) took the crown in 2018.

Today, it’s the third-largest cruise ship on the planet, but it’s no slouch. It holds seven different neighborhoods, nearly 3,000 staterooms, three waterslides, and Ultimate Abyss — a 10-story dry slide.

  • Gross Tonnage: 228,081
  • Length: 1,188 feet
  • Passenger Capacity: 5,518 double occupancy; 6,680 max capacity
  • Year Built: 2018

Harmony of the Seas

Built in 2016, Harmony of the Seas features 18 decks, more than 225,000 gross tons (about 10% smaller than Icon of the Seas) and can carry nearly 6,700 passengers when completely full. That’s good enough to make it the fourth-largest cruise ship in the world.

It features many of the same components of other ships in the class, like the adults-only Solarium, Central Park, and the AquaTheater. That’s not to mention 17 different spots to grab a bite to eat.

  • Gross Tonnage: 226,963
  • Length: 1,188 feet
  • Passenger Capacity: 5,479 double occupancy; 6,687 max capacity
  • Year Built: 2016

Oasis of the Seas

The ship that started the trend of truly mega ships is also the namesake of the Oasis class — Oasis of the Seas. If you notice, most of the largest ships on our list were built recently. This ship first began sailing in 2009 and set off the “arms race” of larger ships that continues today.

Following a refurbishment, it now features three waterslides, a dozen lounges, 2,801 cabins (including one with a panoramic view right above the ship’s bridge), a splash pad for kids, and even an escape room themed like the 1960s NASA mission control. And did we mention 20 different places to find something to eat?

  • Gross Tonnage: 226,838
  • Length: 1,187 feet
  • Passenger Capacity: 5,602 double occupancy; 6,771 max capacity
  • Year Built: 2009

Allure of the Seas

Following a refurbishment of Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas — which was the second ship in the class and built in 2010 — is actually now the smallest of the group based on tonnage. Still, that’s good enough for sixth largest in the world at “just” 225,000 gross tons.

On the ship, you’ll find 18 decks, 2,748 staterooms and more than 6,800 passengers when completely full. That’s definitely a lot of people, but remember that you also have a lot more space to spread out, giving plenty of elbow room.

  • Gross Tonnage: 225,282
  • Length: 1,187 feet
  • Passenger Capacity: 5,496 double occupancy; 6,826 max capacity
  • Year Built: 2010

MSC World Europa

While Royal Caribbean has a lock on the largest ships, the title of largest cruise ship from outside that cruise line goes to MSC World Europa.

Coming in at almost 216,000 gross tons, it’s roughly 14% smaller than Icon of the Seas. But don’t think it’s some slouch. From bumper cars to seven pools to an 11-story slide, there’s no shortage of things for kids to do. Adults will love the 13 different dining options and an indoor promenade or Panorama Lounge for shopping, having a drink, or just relaxing.

This ship will be joined in 2025 by sister-ship MSC World America, set to sail stateside.

  • Gross Tonnage: 215,863
  • Length: 1,094 feet
  • Passenger Capacity: 5,231 double occupancy; 6,762 max capacity
  • Year Built: 2022

Costa Smeralda/Costa Toscana (Tie)

These two ships come in at a tie for the eighth-largest cruise ship in the world. Built in 2019 and 2021, respectively, they both belong to Costa Cruises. And if the shape of the ship looks familiar, that’s because Costa is a sister line to Carnival. A similar design is used for Carnival’s largest ships, Mardi Gras, Celebration, and Jubilee. However, those ships come in just under the 185,000 gross tons seen with Smeralda and Toscana.

Both ships offer 13 pools and hot tubs, nearly a dozen restaurants and just under 20 bars and lounges. And if you like balcony views? There are 1,550 balcony rooms on each, providing plenty of options for the roughly 6,500 passengers that can sail at full capacity.

  • Gross Tonnage: 185,010
  • Length: 1,106 feet
  • Passenger Capacity: 5,224 double occupancy; 6,554 max capacity
  • Year Built: 2019/2021

P&O Arvia

Taking the crown as the 10th-largest cruise ship in the world is Arvia from P&O Cruises. Measuring just under 185,000 gross tons, it offer a similar design to ships like Costa Smeralda and Carnival Celebration, but don’t think these ships are all the same.

For instance, Arvia features a unique Skydome area that is a pool area with retractable roof by day and an entertainment venue by night. It also features its own rum distillery onboard, meaning you can take home rum literally made on the ship. Kids will love the Altitude zone that features a ropes course, mini-golf, and more. There’s also Mission Control, a submarine-themed escape room.

All told, a reported 6,685 passengers can enjoy the ship at one time.

  • Gross Tonnage: 184,700
  • Length: 1,130 feet
  • Passenger Capacity: 5,200 double occupancy; 6,685 max capacity
  • Year Built: 2022


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