List of largest cruise ships

Symphony of the Seas, the current largest cruise ship

Cruise ships are large passenger ships used mainly for vacationing. Unlike ocean liners, which are used for transport, they typically embark on round-trip voyages to various ports-of-call, where passengers may go on tours known as "shore excursions".[1] They can carry thousands of passengers in a single trip, and are some of the largest ships in the world by gross tonnage (GT), bigger than many cargo ships. Cruise ships started to exceed ocean liners in size and capacity in the mid-1990s;[2] before then, few were more than 50,000 GT.[3] In the decades since, the size of the largest vessels has more than doubled.[4] There have been nine or more new cruise ships added every year since 2001, most of which are 100,000 GT or greater.[5] In the two decades between 1988 and 2009, the largest cruise ships grew a third longer (268 m to 360 m), almost doubled their widths (32.2 m to 60.5 m), doubled the total passengers (2,744 to 5,400), and tripled in volume (73,000 GT to 225,000 GT). As of June 2020, the largest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas, has a gross tonnage of 228,081, is 361 metres (1,184 ft) long, 65.7 metres (216 ft) wide, and holds up to 6,680 passengers.[6][7]

Cruise ships are organized much like floating hotels, with a complete hospitality staff in addition to the usual ship's crew.[8] Modern cruise ships, while sacrificing some qualities of seaworthiness, have added amenities to cater to nautical tourists, with recent vessels being described as "balcony-laden floating condominiums".[9] The "megaships" went from a single deck with verandas to all decks with verandas,[10] and feature ameneties such as theaters, fine-dining and chain restaurants, spas, fitness centers, casinos, sports facilities, and even amusement park attractions.[1][11]

Cruise ships require electricity for powering both hotel services and for propulsion.[12] Cruise ships are designed with all the heavy machinery at the bottom of the ship and lightweight materials at the top, making them inherently stable even as ship designs are getting taller and taller,[13] and most passenger ships utilize stabilizer fins to further reduce rolling of tall ships in heavy weather.[14] While some cruise ships use traditional fixed propellers and rudders to steer, most larger ships use propellers that can swivel left and right to steer the ship, known as azimuth thrusters, which allow even the largest ship designs to have adequate maneuverability.[15]

Cruise ships are operated by cruise lines, which are companies that market cruises to the public. In the 1990s, many cruise lines were bought by much larger holding companies and continue to operate as brands or subsidiaries of the holding company. For instance, Carnival Corporation & plc owns both the mass-market Carnival Cruise Line, focused on larger party ships for younger travelers, and Holland America Line, whose smaller ships cultivate an image of classic elegance.[16] The common practice in the cruise industry in ship sales and orders is to list the smaller operating company, not the larger holding corporation, as the recipient cruise line of the ship.[17][18]

  1. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference saunders was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Bleecker, Arline; Bleeker, Sam (26 March 2006). "Cruise ships keep getting bigger and bigger and . . ". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 25 February 2020. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  3. ^ McDowell, Edwin (12 January 1997). "Huge Cruise Ships Are Coming Along". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 25 February 2020. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  4. ^ Jordan, Allan E. (1 August 2018). "Cruise Line "Arms Race" Continues". The Maritime Executive. Archived from the original on 25 February 2020. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  5. ^ Peng, Mike W. (2013). Global strategy (3rd ed.). Cengage Learning. p. 39. ISBN 978-1-13396-461-2.
  6. ^ Cite error: The named reference RCIsymphony was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  7. ^ Cite error: The named reference RCIsymphonyDNV was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  8. ^ Vogel, Michael; Papathanassis, Alexis; Wolber, Ben (2012). The business and management of ocean cruises. CABI. p. 209. ISBN 978-1-84593-846-8.
  9. ^ Klassen, Christopher (6 September 2017). "What's the Difference between a Cruise Ship and an Expedition Vessel in Galapagos?". Santa Cruz Galapagos Cruise. Archived from the original on 27 June 2019. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  10. ^ Saunders, Aaron (19 December 2013). Giants of the Sea: The Ships that Transformed Modern Cruising. Seaforth Publishing. ChapterSun Princess. ISBN 978-1-84832-172-4.
  11. ^ McCartney, Scott (8 January 2020). "They're Putting a Roller Coaster on a Cruise Ship". Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 26 March 2020. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  12. ^ Anish (9 October 2017). "How is Power Generated and Supplied on a Ship?". Marine Insight. Archived from the original on 26 September 2018. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  13. ^ "How stable are cruise ships like the Costa Concordia?". New Scientist. 16 January 2012. Archived from the original on 18 June 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
  14. ^ Babicz, Jan (2015). Wärtsilä encyclopedia of ship technology (PDF) (Second ed.). Wärtsilä Corporation. ISBN 978-9-52935-535-8. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 March 2020. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  15. ^ "Marine Propulsion & Auxiliary Machinery: The Journal of Ships' Engineering Systems". Riviera Maritime Media. 2005: 46. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  16. ^ "Our Brands". Carnival Corporation & plc. Archived from the original on 30 March 2020. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  17. ^ "Ship sales and transfers". Cruise Industry News. Archived from the original on 22 August 2016. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  18. ^ "Cruise ship orderbook". Cruise Industry News. Archived from the original on 12 July 2016. Retrieved 26 June 2016.