When it comes to vacation getaways, the concept of the sea cruise is a fairly new phenomenon. It was well into the 19th century before the idea took hold of travelling the seas for leisure and comfort in large vessels accommodating hundreds, and later thousands, of passengers.
Mark Twain popularized the concept in the late 1800s with his travel books, “The Innocents Abroad” and “Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World.” The sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912 still captures popular interest. At 882 feet long, 92 feet wide and 175 feet tall, with a volume of 46,328 gross tons, the Titanic was at the time the largest ship ever built.
Today’s largest cruise ships can be more than 1,100 feet long, more than 200 feet wide and tall enough to require elevators. The largest cruise ships in operation have gross tonnages well over 200,000. While the Titanic could accommodate up to about 2,500 non-crew passengers, the largest cruise ships can handle well over twice that number. And they do a lot more than just get people from one destination to another — these are the cruises that are better than most vacations.
Royal Caribbean, the cruise line that boasts some of the largest cruise ships afloat, announced in May it was building the biggest of all and plans for it to sail in 2021. Little is known about the ship under construction. It is the fifth in its Oasis class — the largest class of vessels in the Royal Caribbean fleet — and is being built at a shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. A sixth Oasis-class ship is to be launched in 2023.
The following is a list of the top 20 largest cruise ships based on the number of non-crew passengers they can accommodate.