World's Biggest Cruise Ships
Sure, there are still plenty of intimate cruises out there. But more and more, cruise lines are introducing mega-vessels with larger-than-life designs and an almost dizzying array of bars, restaurants and next-level attractions.
With some cruises accommodating nearly 7,000 guests these days (!), we wanted to find out more about what’s onboard the biggest cruise ships in the world.
50. Celebrity Edge
Built in 2018, Celebrity Edge stands out for several reasons. This new state-of-the-art ship touts the Magic Carpet venue, which features a cantilevered, floating platform that transports guests 13 stories above sea level.
Even cooler? Its godmother — an industry title given to the person who blesses a new ship before launch — is Malala Yousafzai, the 19-year-old Nobel Laureate and U.N. Messenger of Peace. The cruise line has also formed a two-year partnership with the Malala Fund, which seeks to secure 12 years of safe, free, quality education for every girl in the world.
The Edge is currently cruising to the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.
*Cruise ships are ranked by gross tonnage, with length and then passenger count breaking ties.
49. Disney Dream
Disney magic abounds aboard the Disney Dream, which began sailing in January 2011. You’ll be wowed by the live “Beauty and the Beast” stage show, as well as the “Animator’s Palate” dinner show starring beloved Disney characters. There’s even a beauty salon that specializes in magical makeovers for kids, turning them into pirates, princesses or (best yet) “Star Wars” characters.
The ship cruises to the Bahamas, departing from Port Canaveral, Florida.
48. Disney Fantasy
Disney, not one to think small, lands on the list again with its Fantasy ship, which departs from Port Canaveral, Florida, to cruise to Caribbean destinations like St. Thomas, St. John’s and Cozumel.
The ship, which set out on her maiden voyage in March 2012, is (not surprisingly) focused on family fun. Little ones love the onboard musical rendition of the hit movie “Aladdin,” as well as the AquaDuck water ride and special “Star Wars” Day at Sea.
But don’t worry — there’s plenty for parents to enjoy here, too, including adult-exclusive dining venues and a luxurious spa. (For when the kids get to be a little bit much.)
47. Costa Diadema
The Diadema first set sail in 2014 for Costa Cruises, the Italian arm of Carnival. This family-friendly ship boasts an entire deck dedicated to children, complete with a pirate ship.
Diadema is currently offering itineraries in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha and Oman. Fun fact: Diadema was the first in the world to produce fresh mozzarella at sea!
46. Carnival Vista
Built in 2016, Carnival Vista sails from Galveston, Texas, to tropical ports like Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Montego Bay. This ship promises a good time for cruisers of all ages, with its dedicated comedy club and IMAX theatre, as well as a suspended ropes course and an exciting waterpark.
There’s also an adults-only area onboard called Serenity for parents who want (nay, need) a little alone time to reconnect.
45. Carnival Horizon
There are some big names onboard the Carnival Horizon, built in 2016. Ever heard of Dr. Seuss? How about Guy Fieri?
OK, while the actual celebrities won’t be on your next cruise, you will find a Dr. Seuss-themed waterpark, complete with Thing 1 and Thing 2 waterslides. You’ll also be able to try Food Network star Fieri’s delicious dishes at Guy’s Burger Joint or at Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse and Brewhouse.
This ship offers itineraries throughout the Caribbean, departing from Miami.
44. Carnival Panorama
The brand-new Carnival Panorama is setting sail on her maiden voyage in December 2019. This impressive ship will depart from Los Angeles, with initial itineraries to Baja Mexico and the Mexican Riviera in late 2019 and early 2020.
Two must-try activities onboard the ship? The Sky Zone, an indoor trampoline park and challenge zone, and SkyRide, a suspended two-lane bike course high above the deck. Neither is for the faint of heart.
43. Costa Venezia
Designed specifically for Chinese travelers, Costa Venezia hit the open water in May 2019. The ship, which is part of the Costa Group, the Italian arm of the Carnival Corporation, offers Chinese cruisers a little taste of Italy.
For example, Venezia’s theater was modeled after the La Fenice theater in Venice and the main atrium is designed to look like St. Mark’s Square. There are even gondolas on board!
42. Adventure of the Seas
Built in 2001, Adventure of the Seas has a pretty amazing set of godparents, the people selected to bless and name the ship. Adventure was one of the first major passenger ships to return to New York City after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Fittingly, the cruise line asked representatives of the New York Police and Fire departments to bless the ship, as a tribute to all emergency-service personnel who risked their lives that tragic day.
Today, the ship takes cruisers to the Caribbean, Canada and New England.
41. Voyager of the Seas
Looking to travel to Singapore, Australia and New Zealand? Look no further than Voyager of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean vessel built in 1999 and renovated in 2019.
Upgrades include new waterslides, a new laser-tag experience, a renovated spa and fitness center, and updated staterooms.
40. Explorer of the Seas
Built nearly 20 years ago, this Royal Caribbean ship is in the throes of a full-on, $110 million makeover. New restaurants are coming online, as well as new waterslides, a redesigned pool area, and several new areas for kids and teens.
Once the work is completed in the spring of 2020, Explorer will cruise around Italy and the Greek isles.
39. MSC Splendida
MSC Splendida impresses with multi-week cruises to China, Japan, Singapore, Egypt, Greece, Oman, United Arab Emirates and beyond. These “MSC Grand Voyages” can range from 16 nights to 54 nights, and there’s plenty to do and see, both on the ship and off.
For a more exclusive experience, consider booking one of the 71 roomy suites in the MSC Yacht Club, which the cruise line describes as a “ship within a ship.” Here you’ll find a private lounge, a pool deck and a bar — plus, best yet, 24-hour butler service for maximum pampering.
There’s plenty for kids to do aboard the MSC Splendida as well, including a teen disco area, a candy shop and not one, but two video-game rooms.
38. MSC Fantasia
Built in 2008 and refurbished in 2017, MSC Fantasia continues to impress cruisers traveling to an array of destinations in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.
When you’re not exploring the ports of call or participating in excursions, the ship offers plenty of amenities and entertainment, such as a piano bar, a casino, a Formula 1 simulator and a 4-D cinema.
37. MSC Preziosa
Designed to showcase the Mediterranean way of life, MSC Preziosa joined the cruise line’s fleet in the spring of 2013. True to its design inspiration, the ship cruises to ports like Genoa, Italy, and Barcelona, Spain, with itineraries from one to 16 nights.
But just because Preziosa features sophisticated design elements doesn’t mean it excludes kids. A kids water park, a 4-D theater, kids clubs, a video-game arcade and a bowling alley are all available to curb youth boredom.
36. MSC Divina
MSC Divina had a unique muse: Italian actress and singer Sophia Loren.
With Loren as their inspiration, builders created a glamorous, elegant ship that set sail on its maiden voyage in 2012. This impressive vessel can transport you to Jamaica, Aruba, San Juan and Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, the cruise line’s private Bahamian island.
Onboard, you’ll find luxurious touches like Swarovski crystal staircases, an infinity pool and the relaxing MSC Aurea Spa.
Loren would surely approve.
35. Mariner of the Seas
After a $120 million renovation in 2018, this 16-year-old Royal Caribbean ship doesn’t show her age one bit. Mariner of the Seas first set sail in 2003 and has been showing cruisers a good time ever since. Today, she sails primarily to the Bahamas from Orlando on quick three-day and four-day trips.
Thanks to the refurbishment project, Mariner has all the latest amenities and activities, including a bungee trampoline, an escape room, a laser-tag experience, and several new bars and restaurants.
34. Navigator of the Seas
Though technically speaking Navigator isn’t even close to being one of Royal Caribbean’s largest ships, this vessel still packs a pretty big punch. Built in 2002, Navigator recently underwent a $115 million renovation that added tons of new features, like a head-first waterslide, a water coaster, a blow-dry bar, a three-level poolside bar and several new restaurants.
These days, the ship is mostly making quick trips to the Bahamas from Miami.
At 141,000 gross tons, Britannia is Great Britain’s largest cruise ship. But she also has another honor: She was officially named by Her Majesty The Queen before setting sail for the first time in 2015.
In the spring of 2019, Britannia underwent a thorough refurbishment, complete with a renovated atrium, a refreshed java cafe, an updated photo gallery and an expanded spa. The ship, part of P&O Cruises, currently offers a diverse collection of itineraries ranging from stops in the Caribbean to journeys through the Mediterranean.
32. Regal Princess
In May 2014, Regal Princess set off on her maiden voyage through the Mediterranean. Today, the ship takes cruisers all over the world, with itineraries ranging from the Caribbean to Western Europe to Australia and New Zealand.
Regal Princess offers guests many eye-catching amenities, like the Princess WaterColor Fantasy, featuring daily and nightly performances of dancing fountains, live performers and music.
31. Royal Princess
It’s only fitting that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge (aka Kate Middleton)
christened the Royal Princess ship, given its lofty name. This vessel took to the seas for the first time in June 2013 and today offers cruises along the Pacific Coast. Current itineraries include stops in Mexico, San Francisco and Alaska.
If you’re an art lover, you’ll be happy to know that Royal Princess has an extensive art gallery and even offers art-history lectures and art auctions onboard.
30. Majestic Princess
Designed specifically for Chinese cruises, Majestic Princess took to the open waters in April 2017. The ship has a large atrium with restaurants, shops and lounges, as well as two specialty restaurants featuring Michelin-starred chefs. In addition to top-notch performances and entertainment options, guests can get in on the action with the ship’s “Sing on the Sea” karaoke suites.
Today, the ship offers itineraries in New Zealand, Australia, Asia and beyond.
29. Sky Princess
Sky Princess is the newest member of the Princess family, setting sail on her inaugural journey in October 2019. Though similar to other ships in her class, the vessel touts a few upgrades, including a larger adults-only space and more hot tubs.
Want to experience Sky Princess for yourself? You can travel aboard the ship through the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Northern Europe and even Russia.
28. Norwegian Getaway
After undergoing a renovation in 2019, Norwegian Getaway is practically a brand-new ship. Built in 2014, this colorful vessel offers itineraries in the Caribbean, the Bahamas, the Greek Isles and Italy, just to name a few.
For an ultra-luxurious cruise, consider booking a suite in The Haven, a hidden area at the top of the ship with a private sundeck, 24-hour butler service and spacious accommodations. There are also plenty of other stateroom options, including 1,000 cabins with balconies.
27. Norwegian Breakaway
Built in 2013 and refurbished in 2018, Norwegian Breakaway is your ticket to the Caribbean, Europe or a transatlantic trip.
Norwegian was built with both adults and kids in mind, with amenities like a multi-level sports complex, a casino at sea and a relaxing spa offering more than 50 specialty treatments. Like all Norwegian ships, Breakaway’s hull features colorful, original art by Peter Max.
26. Queen Mary 2
When she set out on her maiden voyage in January 2004, Queen Mary 2 was the world’s largest ocean liner. Though she’s been surpassed in size by dozens of other ships since, this luxurious Cunard vessel, which was refurbished in 2016, is still mighty impressive.
Today, you can cruise aboard the Queen Mary 2 on one of Cunard’s grand transatlantic journeys, which range from one to three weeks in duration.
25. World Dream
Built in 2017, World Dream is part of the Dream Cruises fleet, which primarily serves cruisers in Hong Kong, Singapore, China and other Asian countries. This ship has a number of unique amenities, including the Esc Experience Lab, where guests can experience a virtual-reality roller coaster or travel into space in “Star Wars” battle pods. There’s also a waterslide park, a ropes course, a rock-climbing wall and adjoining rooms for families traveling together.
Like Norwegian ships, Dream liners are also marked by their colorful hull art.
24. Genting Dream
Genting Dream is one of three ships cruising for Dream Cruises, the luxury Asian cruise line. Built in 2016, the ship has plenty of amenities to keep passengers busy, like a nightclub, a large Asian reflexology spa and a waterslide park. The ship offers cruises in Southeast Asia, with itineraries ranging from two to five days.
23. MSC Seaview
Launching in June 2018, MSC Seaview is a relative newcomer to the world of cruise ships. The vessel, which is currently cruising to ports in the Mediterranean and South America, has an ocean-level promenade with 360-degree views, panoramic glass elevators and a top-deck solarium so you can take in all the epic views of your surroundings. It’s also home to an interactive waterpark with four slides and 394-foot-long zip lines.
22. Freedom of the Seas
Launching on its maiden voyage in May 2006, Freedom of the Seas is undergoing a massive $116 million overhaul. The ship is getting some serious upgrades, including the addition of the Perfect Storm pair of racing waterslides, a three-level poolside bar and a waterpark built for toddlers. Crews will also be adding new dining venues to Freedom, as well as a glow-in-the-dark laser-tag experience.
The new-and-improved Freedom will take to the seas in March 2020, setting sail across the Southern Caribbean.
21. Independence of the Seas
Short on PTO? No problem. Independence of the Seas specializes in quick, fun getaways to the Bahamas and the Caribbean, departing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida — there are even two-day itineraries!
Launched in 2008, Independence is practically a brand-new ship these days, thanks to a multi-million-dollar renovation project that included adding new amenities and activities. Whether you prefer an action-packed afternoon at the surf simulator or you just want to relax in one of the seven whirlpools, Independence has a little something for everyone.
20. Liberty of the Seas
For convenient U.S. departures from Galveston, Texas, to the Caribbean, look no further than Liberty of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean ship that’s been cruising since May 2007. Liberty’s cruises are affordable, too (there are 7-day itineraries starting at just $429).
Ice skate under the blue Caribbean skies before checking out the rock-climbing wall or the surf simulator on this ship that does a nice job serving families in particular.
19. Norwegian Epic
Built in 2010 and refurbished in 2015, the Norwegian Epic is an awesome ship to select if you’re planning to cruise by yourself. Why? The vessel has solo studios featuring a full-size bed, bath area and private studio lounge.
Even if you’re not traveling alone, this ship is seriously impressive (or should we say, epic), with tons of restaurants and bars, a dueling piano bar, a dinner theater, a comedy club and a water park.
18. MSC Seaside
MSC calls Seaside “the ship that follows the sun” and it’s easy to understand why. Offering itineraries in the Caribbean and the Antilles, MSC Seaside was designed specifically for warm-seas cruising and has one of the highest ratios of outdoor space per guest among all cruise ships.
Built in 2017, Seaside offers amenities like two zip lines, a full-sized bowling alley, a comedy club and a Lego play area for kids.
17. Norwegian Escape
Built in 2015, the Norwegian Escape marked a new era for Norwegian as it launched its Breakaway Plus class of ships. While you’re cruising to the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Bermuda, Florida or Europe aboard the Escape, you can visit the first-ever Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar at sea.
Fun fact: The musical artist Pitbull is the Escape’s godfather, and hosted a lively concert to christen the ship.
16. Norwegian Joy
Norwegian Joy began sailing in the spring of 2017 and was originally designed with Chinese passengers in mind. Today, the ship — which recently wrapped up a $50 million renovation — serves primarily North American cruises, with journeys to Alaska, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Mexico and more.
Onboard, you’ll find a two-level race track, an open-air laser tag course and world-class entertainment, including toe-tapping live performances of the hit movie “Footloose.”
Launching in November 2019 with trips to the Caribbean, Canada and New England, the Norwegian Encore is one of the newest big ships to hit the water. Onboard the Encore, guests will have the chance to experience some amazing performances, including six-time Tony Award winner “Kinky Boots.” It’s only fitting that the ship has a powerhouse singer as its godmother: Kelly Clarkson.
Also on tap? The longest race track at sea — 1,110 feet, with four high-speed curves that extend 13 feet over the side of the ship — and the largest outdoor laser-tag arena.
14. Norwegian Bliss
The majestic Norwegian Bliss set sail on its maiden voyage in the spring of 2018. This new vessel offers itineraries in Alaska, the Caribbean, the Pacific Coast, the Panama Canal and the Mexican Riviera, and offers plenty to do between ports of call; amenities include two multi-story waterslides, an observation deck providing 180-degree views and an electric-car race track that lets guests drive at 30 miles per hour.
Do you tend to get lost on big ships? Just look for the fish! The fish on the carpet always swim forward, toward the front of the boat.
The ship's playful hull mural was painted by famed marine artist, Wyland.
13. Ovation of the Seas
Launching in April 2016, Ovation of the Seas joined her sister vessels Anthem, Quantum and Spectrum on the job for Royal Caribbean. You’ll have plenty of room to explore onboard the Ovation, which is nine times wider than the Great Wall of China.
The cruise line currently offers Ovation itineraries in Alaska, Hawaii, Singapore and Australia.
12. Anthem of the Seas
In April 2015, Anthem of the Seas set off on her inaugural journey. This state-of-the-art Royal Caribbean ship is enormous — so large that it’s twice as wide as the Great Sphinx. And it offers some pretty cool amenities, like the Bionic Bar, where you can have your cocktail made by a robot bartender.
If you’re planning to book a vacation soon, you can sail through the Bahamas, the southern Caribbean and ports in Florida on Anthem of the Seas.
11. Quantum of the Seas
When she made her maiden voyage in November 2014, Quantum of the Seas marked a new era for Royal Caribbean by launching the new Quantum class of ships. This vessel was designed with Chinese guests in mind, since it primarily cruises in China, Vietnam, Singapore and the Philippines.
Because of that, the ship’s crew members speak Mandarin and the onboard chefs prepare local cuisines. Of course, Quantum of the Seas still has all the adventurous amenities of any Royal Caribbean cruise, including laser tag, a surf simulator, a rocking-climbing wall, a skydiving experience and an outdoor movie theater, just to name a few.
10. Spectrum of the Seas
One of the newest Royal Caribbean ships, Spectrum of the Seas takes travelers to ports in China, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore and other Asian destinations. This impressive ship, which set sail in April 2019, is perfect for family reunions or group travel, with its two-level, 2,809-square-foot family suite that can accommodate up to 11 passengers (there’s even a slide from one level to the next!).
One of the most unusual attractions is the Sky Pad, where guests can strap on a virtual-reality headset and bungee jump on a trampoline.
9. MSC Bellissima
With an inaugural voyage in March 2019, the MSC Bellissima is a brand-new ship with tons of bells and whistles. This high-tech ship is home to the world’s first digital cruise assistant, a voice-enabled artificial intelligence device named Zoe that’s in every cabin.
Plus, there’s a full-sized bowling alley, an F1 simulator, a virtual reality maze, a waterpark with three slides and a massive Balinese spa. Oh, and for good measure, two new Cirque du Soleil shows and a desert-themed water park.
8. MSC Meraviglia
The impressive MSC Meraviglia set sail for the first time in 2017 and has been wowing cruisers with trips in New England and the Caribbean ever since. The vessel is home to the longest LED dome at sea, a 262-foot sky screen towering above the ship’s three-story interior promenade.
There’s also a fine-arts museum, an amusement park and a custom-built Cirque du Soleil theater onboard.
7. MSC Grandiosa
This massive ship is brand new, having set sail for its maiden voyage in November 2019. Operated by MSC, the Swiss cruise line, Grandiosa is home to an authentic Balinese spa, a cruise digital assistant named Zoe, a full-sized bowling alley and an F1 simulator. Two new shows from Cirque du Soleil at Sea are also being performed onboard the vessel.
If you’re an art lover, you’ll want to book a trip on the Grandiosa ASAP so you can see “Degas Danse Dessin,” an exclusive exhibit featuring the works of impressionist Edgar Degas.
6. Costa Smeralda
Named after the beautiful Emerald Coast of Sardinia, Costa Smeralda launched in November 2019. As it travels through the Western Mediterranean, the ship is powered by liquified natural petrol, a more environmentally friendly fuel option.
Onboard the Costa Smeralda, you can visit ports in France, Spain, Italy and the Balearic Islands. In between your off-board exploration, enjoy four swimming pools, 19 bars and a museum dedicated to Italian design.
Though delays initially plagued the new AIDAnova, a ship used by Carnival Corporation’s German cruise brand AIDA Cruises, it made a successful maiden voyage in December 2018. What sets this vessel apart is that it can be powered by low-emission liquefied natural gas, making it one of the more eco-friendly cruise ships around.
4. Allure of the Seas
This Royal Caribbean vessel launched in 2010 and continues to take cruisers to destinations in the Caribbean and Europe. Allure, which is divided into seven different neighborhoods (like its fellow Oasis Class ships), can accommodate guests in 2,700 staterooms and features a number of eco-friendly design elements, ranging from energy-efficient lighting and engines to a state-of-the-art recycling facility.
Allure of the Seas is undergoing $165 million in renovations and upgrades ahead of the 2020 cruising season.
3. Oasis of the Seas
Oasis made a definite splash when it first set sail in 2009 — pun intended. And after a $165 million transformation in 2019, it’s back and better than ever, with amazing amenities for cruisers of all ages.
This gigantic ship is home to a 17.9-foot-deep multi-level pool called the AquaTheater, a park featuring 12,175 plants, a handcrafted carousel, and a bar that ascends and descends between three decks. Throughout the ship, you’ll find 7,000 pieces of specially commissioned works of art.
This Royal Caribbean vessel, part of the Oasis Class of ships, was also the first to feature a zipline at sea.
2. Harmony of the Seas
When it made its maiden voyage in May 2016, Harmony of the Seas made history as the largest cruise ship in the world (though it’s since been dethroned by its sister ship).
This massive Royal Caribbean ship is part of the Oasis family of vessels; onboard, you’ll find tons of heart-pumping activities like a zip line, rock-climbing walls and surf simulators. You’ll also find the Ultimate Abyss slide, which rockets cruisers down 10 decks (at 150 feet above sea level, the slide is taller than Mount Rushmore!).
Need more to do? There are also 23 pools, waterslides and flowriders, and a whopping 21 restaurants with more than 300 individual menu options.
1. Symphony of the Seas
Symphony of the Seas is part of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class of ships, which are all incredibly large. But Symphony takes the cake, which means it can accommodate even more passengers and provide even more awesome amenities to cruisers.
The ship, which set sail on its maiden voyage in 2018, is divided into seven distinct neighborhoods and has some totally epic amenities, including glow-in-the-dark laser tag, two surf simulators and performances of the hit Broadway musical “Hairspray.” It also features 24 pools and 22 restaurants, so you’ll never be out of things to do — or go hungry.
The biggest cruise ship on Earth is basically a small city at sea.