The Largest Cruise Ships in the World

largest biggest cruise ships world
Harmony, Allure, and Oasis of the Seas have all held the title of "World's Largest Cruise Ship." - Photo by Royal Caribbean

While some seasoned cruisers may refuse to set foot on them, extra-large cruise ships are starting to dominate the industry. In a way, these new megaships really are small floating cities; Royal’s Oasis and Quantum-class ships are even divided into distinct “neighborhoods,” as is Carnival's upcoming Mardi Gras. We’ve broken down the world’s largest cruise ships by class for those of you looking to hop aboard one of these modern marvels of engineering.

1. Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class

Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, and Symphony of the Seas

harmony of the seas largest ship

Harmony of the Seas - Photo by Royal Caribbean

Gross Tonnage: 225,282 - 226,000

Passenger Capacity: 5,400 to 5,479 based on double occupancy

Years Launched: Oasis of the Seas - 2009, Allure of the Seas - 2010, Harmony of the Seas - 2016, Symphony of the Seas - 2018

Highlights: Over 20 dining options, zipline, AquaTheater high-diving shows, ice skating rink, water park, and 3D movie theater.

Fun Fact: Each new ship in the Oasis class is slightly bigger than the previous ship, and thus has become the largest cruise ship in the world when it debuts.

2. MSC's World Class

msc world class megaship cruise ship cruises

MSC World Class ship - Rendering by MSC Cruises

Gross Tonnage: 205,700 

Passenger Capacity: 6,850 based on double occupancy

Years Launching: The first ship of four will be launched in 2022

Highlights: Water park, glass pool lounge, and a split aft with interior-facing balcony cabins; powered by liquefied natural gas

3. Excellence Class

AIDA Cruises - AIDAnova, Costa Cruises - Costa Smeralda

costa smeralda cruise ship excellence class

Costa Smeralda - Rendering by Costa Cruises

Gross Tonnage: 183,900 

Passenger Capacity: 5,200 based on double occupancy

Year Launched: AIDAnova - 2018, Costa Smeralda - 2019

AIDAnova Highlights: Jungle-themed water park with three waterslides and a lazy river, a 40,000 square foot organic spa, a ropes course, live TV studio, and the steampunk-themed Time Machine Restaurant

Costa Smeralda Highlights: Panoramic walkway at the top of the ship, an onboard design museum, a Nutella Cafe, a teppanyaki restaurant, and a piazza-like space called the Colosseo lined with lounges and bars

Both ships are powered by liquefied natural gas.

4. XL Class

Carnival - Mardi Gras, P&O Cruises - Iona

carnival mardi gras xl class cruise roller coaster

Mardi Gras - Rendering by Carnival Cruise Line

Gross Tonnage: 183,900 

Passenger Capacity: 5,200 based on double occupancy

Year Launched: 2020

Mardi Gras Highlights: A roller coaster, a New Orleans-inspired restaurant created with Emeril Lagasse, a water park, Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse | Brewhouse, and the Havana Bar and Pool

Iona Highlights: The SkyDome, a transitional glass domed space that offers casual poolside dining and beverages by day, and a party and entertainment space at night, the Keel and Cow gastropub, British fare at Brodie’s, The Glass House with charcuterie and cheese plates, and a spa with destination-themed treatments such as a Baltic & Ice Massage in the Baltics 
Both ships will be powered by liquefied natural gas.

5. MSC's Meraviglia Class

MSC Meraviglia and MSC Bellissima

msc meraviglia largest cruise ship bellissima

MSC Meraviglia - Photo by MSC Cruises

Gross Tonnage: 170,000 

Passenger Capacity: 4,500 based on double occupancy

Year Launched: Meraviglia - 2017, Bellissima - 2019

Highlights: Cirque du Soleil at Sea, Formula 1 racecar simulators, a water park, and Italian restaurant Eataly

6. Royal Caribbean’s Quantum Class

Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, and Spectrum of the Seas (Quantum-Ultra Class)

quantum seas largest cruise ship nyc

Quantum of the Seas in New York - Photo by Royal Caribbean

Gross Tonnage: 168,666

Passenger Capacity: 4,180 based on double occupancy

Years Launched: Quantum of the Seas - 2014, Anthem of the Seas - 2015, Ovation of the Seas - 2016, Spectrum of the Seas - 2019

Highlights: North Star observation capsule, RipCord skydiving simulator (Spectrum has the bungee-jumping VR SkyPad instead), bumper cars, a water park, and over a dozen dining venues

7. Norwegian’s Breakaway Plus Class

Norwegian EscapeNorwegian Joy, Norwegian Blissand Norwegian Encore

norwegian escape st thomas largest ship

Norwegian Escape in St. Thomas - Photo by Norwegian Cruise Line

Gross Tonnage: 164,600 to 169,145

Passenger Capacity: 3,883 to 4,266 based on double occupancy

Years Launched: Escape - 2015, Joy - 2017, Bliss - 2018, Encore - 2019

Norwegian Escape Highlights: An enormous water park, over 25 dining experiences, ropes course, The Cellars wine bar, Snow Room, and The Waterfront oceanside promenade

Norwegian Joy Highlights: A go-kart racetrack, laser tag, Q barbecue restaurant, a water park, and the adults-only Spice H2O deck

Norwegian Bliss Highlights: A go-kart racetrack, laser tag, Coco's chocolate shop, Margaritaville at Sea, Q barbecue restaurant, a water park, and a massive observation lounge

8. Royal Caribbean’s Freedom Class

Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, and Independence of the Seas

independence seas largest cruise ship miami

Independence of the Seas sails out of Miami - Photo by Royal Caribbean

Gross Tonnage: 160,000

Passenger Capacity: 3,782 to 4,370 based on double occupancy

Years Launched: Freedom of the Seas - 2006, Liberty of the Seas - 2007, and Independence of the Seas - 2008

Highlights: Water park, ice-skating rink, 10 dining options, 3D movie theater, and FlowRider surfing simulator.

9. Norwegian Epic

norwegian epic

Norwegian EpicPhoto by Royal Caribbean

Gross Tonnage: 155,889

Passenger Capacity: 4,100 based on double occupancy

Year Launched: 2009

Highlights: Aqua Park, studio cabins, massive sports complex, 18 dining venues, Skyy Ice Bar, and The Haven.

10. MSC's Seaside Class

MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview

msc seaside seaview largest cruise ship

MSC Seaside - Photo by MSC Cruises

Gross Tonnage: 154,000

Passenger Capacity: 5,179 based on double occupancy

Year Launched: Seaside - 2017, Seaview - 2018

Highlights: Waterfront boardwalk, zip line, water park, exclusive South Beach-inspired Yacht Club area, and Asian Market Kitchen created with Chef Roy Yamaguchi


Previously included in this list:

Genting Dream and World Dream

Queen Mary 2

Norwegian Cruise Line's Breakaway Class


Article updated in March 2019.

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