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As the sun sets, painting the horizon with hues of orange and purple, the scene is dominated by the monolithic silhouettes of what could easily be mistaken for floating cities. Yet, these awe-inspiring behemoths are not bound to the earth’s surface, they are the largest cruise ships in the world, the true giants of the seas.
Unparalleled in size and grandeur, these floating palaces offer a world of luxury and entertainment, able to accommodate thousands of guests in a setting that stretches the imagination. Welcome aboard our journey as we explore the majesty and the wonder of the world’s largest cruise ships, where opulence meets innovation, and dreams set sail on the vast, blue oceans.
1. Wonder of the Seas
Topping the list is the current champion of the seas, the Wonder of the Seas. Launched in 2022, this behemoth is the flagship of Royal Caribbean International and the latest addition to its Oasis class. With an impressive gross tonnage of 236,857, the Wonder of the Seas is indeed a wonder to behold. Measuring 1,188 feet (362 m) in length and featuring 18 decks, the ship can comfortably accommodate 5,734 passengers at double occupancy and a maximum of 6,988 passengers, serviced by a 2,300-strong crew.
The Wonder of the Seas houses 20 restaurants, 4 pools, and 2,867 cabins across its 16 guest decks. Among the numerous standout facilities are a children’s water park, a full-size basketball court, an ice-skating rink, and a surf simulator. Thrill-seekers can enjoy a zip line soaring ten decks high, while the 1,400-seat theater and the outdoor aquatic theater featuring 30-foot high platforms promise entertainment galore. Rock-climbing enthusiasts can challenge themselves on two 43-foot walls. Central Park, an on-board oasis, features over 10,000 plants and flowers, enhancing the ship’s ambience.
Best Features of Wonder of the Seas:
- An expansive children’s water park
- A full-size basketball court, ice-skating rink, surf simulator, and 10-deck-high zip line
- A 1,400-seat theater and an outdoor aquatic theater with 30-foot high platforms
- Central Park with over 10,000 plants and flowers
2. Symphony of the Seas
The next on our list is the former record holder, the Symphony of the Seas, which is also part of the Royal Caribbean’s fleet. The Symphony has an impressive gross tonnage of 228,081. Measuring 361.011 meters in length, this gargantuan ship accommodates up to 6,680 passengers, alongside a 2,200-person crew. The Symphony of the Seas is an iconic symbol of modern shipbuilding, a testament to how engineering and luxury can create a unique floating experience.
Standout features of the Symphony include the Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea with a breathtaking 10-story drop, and the Bionic Bar, where robotic bartenders mix and serve your favorite cocktails. Food lovers can explore over 20 dining options, including specialty restaurants like Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver. The ship boasts seven distinct neighborhoods, each offering unique experiences including Broadway-style shows, ice-skating, mini-golf, and high diving, acrobatic performances at the Aquatheater.
Best Features of Symphony of the Seas:
- Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea
- Over 20 dining options, including Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver
- Broadway-style shows, ice-skating, mini-golf, and Aquatheater
- Robotic bartenders at the Bionic Bar
3. Harmony of the Seas
The Harmony of the Seas, another massive ship from Royal Caribbean, stands as the world’s third-largest cruise ship with a gross tonnage of 226,963 and a length of 362.12 meters. Constructed in 2016, Harmony can host up to 6,687 passengers, plus 2,100 crew members. Offering a blend of luxury and an assortment of amenities, Harmony of the Seas guarantees a truly memorable cruising experience.
Harmony’s most thrilling features include a ten-story waterslide called the Ultimate Abyss, seven unique neighborhoods filled with exciting activities and attractions, and a Bionic Bar with robotic bartenders. Dining options are plentiful, with over 20 venues including the elegant 150 Central Park, Solarium Bistro, and Izumi Hibachi & Sushi. For entertainment, passengers can enjoy high-energy ice shows at Studio B, the hit Broadway musical Grease, and breath-taking aquatic acrobatics at the Aquatheater.
Best Features of Harmony of the Seas:
- Ultimate Abyss, a thrilling ten-story waterslide
- Over 20 dining venues including 150 Central Park, Solarium Bistro, and Izumi Hibachi & Sushi
- Robotic bartenders at the Bionic Bar
- Broadway musical Grease, ice shows at Studio B, and aquatic acrobatics at the Aquatheater
4. Allure of the Seas
The Allure of the Seas, the fourth largest cruise ship in the world, is another jewel in the Royal Caribbean’s crown. With a gross tonnage of 225,282, this ship spans an impressive 362 meters in length and is capable of accommodating 6,780 passengers and a 2,200-strong crew. Since its debut in 2010, the Allure of the Seas has remained a firm favorite among cruise enthusiasts thanks to its host of onboard facilities.
The ship’s distinctive features include the Rising Tide Bar, the first-ever moving bar at sea, and a thrilling zipline nine decks high. Dining options are plentiful with over 20 restaurants offering an array of world-class cuisines. Among these, the Chops Grille and the Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine stand out for their delightful dishes. When it comes to entertainment, the ship offers the awe-inspiring Aquatheater, a full Broadway production of Mamma Mia!, and the vibrant Casino Royale.
Best Features of Allure of the Seas:
- Rising Tide Bar, the first-ever moving bar at sea
- A thrilling zipline, nine decks high
- Over 20 restaurants, including the Chops Grille and Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine
- A full Broadway production of Mamma Mia! and the Aquatheater
5. Oasis of the Seas
Marking the halfway point of our list is the Oasis of the Seas. Another jewel in the Royal Caribbean’s crown, the Oasis has a gross tonnage of 225,282 and measures 361.6 meters in length. Capable of accommodating 6,780 passengers and a 2,200-member crew, this vessel, launched in 2008, set the tone for the Oasis-class ships that followed.
Among its standout features is the unique neighborhood concept, with seven distinct districts that each offer their own unique experiences. The ship is also home to the first-ever carousel at sea in the Boardwalk neighborhood. Entertainment options include an ice-skating rink, two rock-climbing walls, and the show-stopping Aquatheater that hosts high-diving acrobatic performances. Dining options are equally impressive with 25 dining options that cater to all palates.
Best Features of Oasis of the Seas:
- Unique neighborhood concept with seven distinct districts
- First-ever carousel at sea
- An ice-skating rink, two rock-climbing walls, and the Aquatheater
- 25 dining options
6. AIDA Nova
The AIDA Nova, operated by AIDA Cruises, a German-based cruise line, is the world’s first fully LNG-powered cruise ship. With a gross tonnage of 183,900 and a length of 337 meters, the AIDA Nova can accommodate 6,600 passengers and a crew of 1,500. Launched in 2018, the ship is a testament to the industry’s move towards more sustainable and environmentally-friendly cruising options.
The ship features 20 decks filled with amenities including 17 restaurants, 23 bars, and a theatre. Unique features include the Beach Club, covered by a UV-permeable dome for all-weather enjoyment, and the Four Elements adventure deck with three waterslides and a climbing garden. For relaxation, the AIDA Nova offers a wide range of wellness options, including a large spa area.
Best Features of AIDA Nova:
- World’s first fully LNG-powered cruise ship
- 17 restaurants, 23 bars, and a theatre
- Beach Club with a UV-permeable dome and the Four Elements adventure deck
- Large spa area for relaxation
7. MSC Grandiosa
The MSC Grandiosa, owned by MSC Cruises, is another impressive vessel with a gross tonnage of 181,541 and a length of 331 meters. Launched in 2019, the MSC Grandiosa can accommodate 6,334 passengers and a 1,704-member crew, making it one of the most significant players in the cruise industry.
The ship’s standout features include the Mediterranean-style promenade, featuring a stunning LED sky that creates an awe-inspiring visual experience day and night. The ship boasts two brand new shows from Cirque du Soleil, an extensive range of dining options including the French specialty restaurant L’Atelier Bistrot, and the longest LED dome at sea. The MSC Grandiosa also offers a state-of-the-art fitness center and a luxurious spa for those seeking wellness and relaxation on their journey.
Best Features of MSC Grandiosa:
- Mediterranean-style promenade with a stunning LED sky
- Two new shows from Cirque du Soleil
- French specialty restaurant L’Atelier Bistrot and the longest LED dome at sea
- State-of-the-art fitness center and a luxurious spa
8. Costa Smeralda
Costa Smeralda, operated by Costa Cruises, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation, ranks as the world’s eighth-largest cruise ship. With a gross tonnage of 185,010 and a length of 337 meters, the ship has the capacity to host 6,554 passengers and a 1,646-member crew. Launched in 2019, the Costa Smeralda is designed to showcase the best of Italian style and hospitality.
The Costa Smeralda features the CoDe – Costa Design Museum, the first museum at sea. It also features the unique Solemio Spa and an onboard water park. Food lovers will be delighted by the variety of dining options, including 11 restaurants and 19 bars. Not to forget the four swimming pools, the multipurpose sports arena, and the outdoor facilities on the ship’s upper deck.
Best Features of Costa Smeralda:
- CoDe – Costa Design Museum, the first museum at sea
- Solemio Spa and an onboard water park
- 11 restaurants and 19 bars
- Four swimming pools and a multipurpose sports arena
9. Spectrum of the Seas
The Spectrum of the Seas, operated by Royal Caribbean International, comes in at number nine. This Quantum-class ship has a gross tonnage of 169,379 and measures 347.1 meters in length. Capable of carrying 4,246 passengers at double occupancy and 1,551 crew members, the Spectrum of the Seas was launched in 2019 and primarily serves the Asian market.
The Spectrum of the Seas is known for its extraordinary entertainment options, including the Sky Pad, a virtual reality bungee trampoline experience, and the North Star, an observation capsule that lifts guests over 300 feet above sea level. The ship offers 27 dining options and also features the first private enclave for suite guests on a Royal Caribbean ship, an exclusive area offering private dining, a private sun deck, and a dedicated concierge.
Best Features of Spectrum of the Seas:
- Sky Pad, a virtual reality bungee trampoline experience
- North Star, an observation capsule lifting guests over 300 feet above sea level
- 27 dining options
- The first private enclave for suite guests on a Royal Caribbean ship
10. Norwegian Bliss
The Norwegian Bliss, owned by Norwegian Cruise Line, rounds out our list of the top ten largest cruise ships in the world. Launched in 2018, this Breakaway Plus-class vessel has a gross tonnage of 168,028 and measures 333.46 meters in length. The ship has a passenger capacity of 4,004 at double occupancy and a 1,716-member crew.
Standout features of the Norwegian Bliss include the largest race track at sea, an open-air laser tag course, and a heart-racing waterslide that extends over the edge of the ship. The ship offers a wide range of dining options, from casual fare at the Garden Cafe to upscale dining at Le Bistro. The ship also boasts the exclusive Haven area, a private enclave with luxurious suites and a dedicated concierge.
Best Features of Norwegian Bliss:
- Largest race track at sea
- Open-air laser tag course and a waterslide extending over the edge of the ship
- Variety of dining options, including the Garden Cafe and Le Bistro
- Exclusive Haven area with luxurious suites and a dedicated concierge