Posts Tagged ‘Biggest cruise ships’

The World’s Biggest Cruise Ships

January 9, 2018

Allure of the Seas passes under the ‘Great Belt Bridge’ (RCI)

It’s quite amazing how big many of today’s cruise ship are. However most of the  future newbuilds will be even BIGGER.

200,000+ gross tonnes will not be unusual, within five years.  Remember the RMS Titanic was only around 45,000 gross tonnes.  We will see many new ships carry in excess of 6,000 passengers.

The ‘official’ way of comparing a ships sizes is  ‘Gross Tonnage’ which is a measurement of internal volume, not weight.

However occasionally the layman (and the Press) talk about the biggest ship being the one that carries the most passengers. This is a little misleading as the ‘Oasis class’, for example, is the biggest ship in terms of gross tonnage, but there will be slightly smaller ships in the future, which will cram more passengers on-board.

(Please note that some of the figures below are  based on rather sketchy details about some newbuilds).

Malcolm

Little and Large

By Gross Tonnage

230,000 GT (estimate): Symphony of the Seas, 2018, unnamed Oasis class ship, 2021.
226,963 GT: Harmony of the Seas (In service)
226,963 GT: Oasis of The Seas and Allure of the Seas (In service)
204,000 GT (estimate): “Global Class”: 2 Genting/Star Cruises ships, 2020 & 21.
200,000 GT (estimate).  4 MSC “World Class” ships, 2022 & 26
185,000 GT: Carnival brands, 6x ships, 2019-21.
171,598 GT: MSC Meraviglia
168,666 GT: RCI’s Quantum Class Ships .

 

MSC’s World Class (Courtesy MSC)

By passenger capacity

6,870 passengers: Symphony of the Seas, due in 2018.
6,850 passengers (estimate): 4 MSC “World Class” ships, 2022 & 26..
6,780 passengers: Harmony of the Seas (In service).
6,600 passengers (estimated): Carnival brands, 6 ships, 2019-21.
6,360 passengers: An unnamed RCI Oasis class ship, 2021.
6,296 passengers: Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas (In service).

(“Global Class”: 2 Genting/Star Cruises ships, 5,000 lower berths, upper berths unknown.)

A total of 17 ships which will accommodate at least 5,000 passengers are currently under construction.

(Source: The Times)

(Genting’s Global Class)

Oasis of the Seas Review: HERE

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XXL – Is The New Standard

December 30, 2017
(Genting's Global Class)

Genting’s Global Class (201,00 gt)

Have you ever noticed how the major cruise lines tend to build similar sized ships?

O.K, there are exceptions where a luxury line will build a smaller ship. There are also exceptions when a cruise line will build a ship bigger than anybody else’s (normally Royal Caribbean). However in general, the big players are influenced by each other.

I can remember in the mid to late nineties, when many mega-ships were around the 75,000 gross tons, in size. For example, RCI’s five ‘Vision’ class ships and NCL’s ‘Sun’ and ‘Spirt’ classes. Although Carnival (Destiny, 1995) and Princess (Grand Princess, 1998) pushed the boundaries with vessels over 100,000 gt.

Around  2005, many megaships, such as those of NCL, RCI, P&O and Cunard we’re around 90,000 gt. Although Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 had pushed the boundaries in 2002, to 148,000 gt .

However Royal Caribbean’s 225,000 gt ‘Oasis of the Seas’, which entered service in 2008, was the world’s largest cruise ship. She was considerably larger than anything else. The ‘Oasis’ class (Oasis, Allure and Harmony, Symphony and one as yet unnamed) continues to dominate in size and probably will for some years to come.

The 180,000gt Costa LNG ship

The 184,000gt Costa LNG ship

However the goal-posts have moved once again. We are now seeing a new wave of ships, in the order book for 2019 onward, which are around 180-200,000 gt in size.

  • Carnival has ordered seven 184,000gt mega-ships: two for Costa, two for Carnival, two for AIDA and one for P&O to be delivered between 2019 and 2022.
  • Genting has ordered two new “Global” class ships for Star Cruises in 2019 and 2020. These ships will be around 201,000 gross tons.
  • MSC Cruises will be ordering up to four new class cruise ships, called the “World Class”. These will be around 200,000 gt and carry up to 7,000 passengers. They will be  delivered between 2022 and 2026.
  •  Royal Caribbean will have a new class of ship called project Icon, to be delivered in 2022.  The project is so secretive,  all we really know is that the ship will be 200,000 gt and carry around 5,000 passengers.

Carnival, Genting and MSC are clearly catching up to Royal Caribbean’s ‘Oasis’ class, although still not superseding it.

However this constant race for size, is not without its issues.

Most cruise lines fleet have ships which are growing in size. Economies of scale make bigger ships more profitable to operate. What was once called a mega-ship (say 70,000gt) looks like a ‘medium’ sized vessel now, maybe even a ‘small’ one.

Megaships are packed with facilities, including multiple dining rooms, multiple entertainment venues and even a few gimmicks throw in like a Park or Go-Kart track. However bigger is not always best. These floating theme parks often lack intimacy and a ‘connection’ with the sea. Arguably the world’s best cruise experiences, in terms of fine-dining and attentive service, are not to be found on-board such big ships.

Megaships are also limited to which ports they can visit. They need long berths, deep water and extensive shore-side terminal facilities to deal with the thousands of passengers that they carry.

There is also much debate about the impact thousands of passengers arriving at a Caribbean island (for example) will have on the local environment.

Irrespective of  the negative aspects, the big ships are still coming thick and fast. The ‘masses’ love them. They almost generate their own publicity. A new “Giant Ship” makes a great news headline.  A new “Small Ship” does not.

As a result of the introduction of so many big ships, the existing smaller/older ships will face extinction within the next ten years. However there will always be some intimate ships on offer, but these are likely to get rarer and will become an increasingly expensive option to cruise on.

Malcolm