Your guide to the world’s biggest cruise ships

Today’s cruise ships are more like luxury hotels than ships. With multiple restaurants, theatres, swimming pools, spas and more fun facilities, these floating pleasure palaces have reached new heights of entertainment and relaxation.

And with so much to do and so many people to accommodate, it may come as no surprise that some of these ships are enormous. Here’s our guide to the world’s biggest cruise ships.

The world’s top three biggest cruise ships

The biggest cruise ship in the world is Allure of the Seas, run by Royal Caribbean. It’s 362m long and carries 6230 passengers and 2380 crew members. And with 21 heated pools, 24 lifts and 16 decks, it certainly has enough space to put them all. In addition, there are 22,000 species of plants and trees on board the Allure, as well as a zip wire, an outdoor AquaTheatre, designer shops and over 20 different eateries.

Just 5cm shorter than the Allure is its sister ship, Oasis of the Seas. With the same capacity and facilities, the Oasis is one of the best family cruise ships out there and, like the Allure, counts DreamWorks characters – including Shrek and Kung Fu Panda – among its passengers. If you’re keen to get on board the Oasis, your chance is coming soon: in October 2014, it stops at Southampton. And from summer 2015, the Allure will be based in Barcelona from where it will make a series of one-week Mediterranean cruises – so book fast if you want to secure a once in a lifetime fly cruise deal on this exquisite liner.

Rounding out the top three is the Norwegian Epic, run by Norwegian Cruise Line. Voted Best Cruise Ship for 2011 and 2012 by Travel Weekly, it holds 4100 passengers and 1750 crew members, and is 329m in length. With 20 different restaurants, an aqua park, fitness centre, climbing and rappelling wall, and plenty of family entertainment, this is the ultimate in luxury for European and Caribbean cruises.

More large cruise ships

Next on the list are Royal Caribbean’s Freedom Class ships – Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Independence of the Seas. Each of these ships are equal in size at 339m long and carry 3630 passengers.

Longer in length at 344m but smaller in tonnage is Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, a beautiful liner with a 3D cinema, planetarium, theatre, spa and several restaurants. The best way to enjoy the luxurious QM2 is on its signature voyage between Southampton and New York; the ship makes its 10th anniversary Westbound Transatlantic Crossing in May 2014.

Also of note are the Norwegian Breakaway, Royal Princess and MSC Divina, but there are loads more large cruise ships to discover too. For more details on the world’s biggest cruise ships, has a list of the top 25 ordered by tonnage and you can find cruise packages for many of these liners throughout the year.

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Mother of three grown-up daughters I am the ultimate multi-tasker and am passionate about my role as Silversurfers Website Editor and Social Media Manager. Always on the lookout for all things that will interest and entertain our community. Fueling fun for the young at heart!

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Airey Fairy
15th Nov 2014
Thanks for voting!
These ships look a bit too big for my liking ; I served in an aircraft carrier (HMS Eagle) with a complement of 2,750, and that was bad enough, so include me out when it comes to behemoths like QM2 and Allure Of The Seas ( " Allure Sailor" more like !).No, I prefer the smaller ships with around 500 or so passengers ; inSeptember we cruised aboard MV Discovery , sadly now on her way to broken up, and in October we cruised in MV Funchal to Madeira and Portugal ; OK, so the stabilisers didn't work, and the tidal streamswere too strong for us to make our ETA in the Canaries, but a visit to Portimao and Lagos ( and a 40% refund) help to cheer us up.Our next cruise will be on MV Azores, surely the oldest cruise ship afloat ?? (built as "Stockholm" in 1946 and sank the Andrea Doria ) !!
30th Jun 2014
Thanks for voting!
I do not think I will ever be able to go on such wonderous ship's like these but one never knows I think they are just great!
24th Jun 2014
Thanks for voting!
have sailed on QM2 all P and O ships Fred Olsen and celebrity always seem to go back to P and O as these ships are not too big and the food s always excellent
Spike Forsdick
23rd Jun 2014
Thanks for voting!
If you love the SEA a container ship is a must.
I have taken 2 days to get through Biscay instead of the normal 26 hours
...a wonderful experience with the bridge"open all hours".
On a months round trip to Israel the evening meal was always different and chips were only served once.
On one ship which ran aground on the coast of Spain at 4am we three passengers refused an offered flight home to UK but opted to stay with the ship on the voyage in ballast to northern Europe.
Sunrises,sunsets,whales and dolphins are all part of the deal.
Those memories will be with me for ever and there is no dressing for dinner.
julie corringham
19th Jun 2014
Thanks for voting!
i sailed on the ventura in 2008 it was the best holiday ever 1st time cruising for me defo do it again
David McMillan
13th Jun 2014
Thanks for voting!
Class Qm2 went on her six year ago and still talking about it as a man from govan what an experience I would recommend it even if only once
ken Manny
2nd Jun 2014
Thanks for voting!
Will be checking on this Cruise, will be happy to be with my family, my cousine tom said is a Good experience to be there.....
21st May 2014
Thanks for voting!
Island Escape 1
Independence 2
Mariner 1
Splendour 1
Arcadia 1
Ventura 1
Oriana 1

The smallest, the Island Escape was the friendliest but with the poorest entertainment. The Independence with its theatre and Ice shows in my view had the best entertainment though they win by only a small margin over the others. I found that on balance I preferred the Arcadia (I think it was the smallest after the Island Escape) over all the others. In cruising biggest means more choice but not necessarily a better holiday.
20th May 2014
Thanks for voting!
We have just returned from a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords on Celebrity Eclipse and could not fault a single thing on this cruise ship as one fellow passenger said you couldnt find a speck of dirt even if you looked for it. Food entertainment, friendly staff etc this is our secondtime on the ECLIPSE roll on next one.
james watt
12th May 2014
Thanks for voting!
I've read the comments about the allure of the seas, I found it extremely well organized when we done the life boat drill and although the ship had 6000 plus passengers on board there was plenty of space for everyone, I did serve 40 years on ships as a marine engineer at one time on cargo ships that carried 12 passengers so I have first hand experience and there is no comparison between the two I sail with royal Caribbean all the time and I find there safety record second to none
malcolm gray
10th May 2014
Thanks for voting!
Been on 13 cruises Q.E.2
9 " Q.M.2
9 " Queen Vic
3 " Queen Eliz,
Cunard are tops when it comes to cruises.
Pam Benton
1st Oct 2016
Thanks for voting!
Agree,been cruising with different lines but keep returning to Cunard.
7th May 2014
Thanks for voting!
6000+ fellow passengers?!!! Best cruise ever was on Holland America's 1970's MV Prinsendam. With a capacity of just 300 passengers and 200 crew, cruising Vancouver/Alaska - and then Singapore/Indonesia - it was like travelling on a private yacht. Sometimes less can be more.....
George Reed
25th Apr 2014
Thanks for voting!
There's a big dock and port in Fleetwood that p&o used. Why don't they use this port for cruises and bring money back to the north west it would be good for all the northwest.
Molly Burton
31st May 2014
Thanks for voting!
For the same reason they won't come to Liverpool - they are locked into Southampton. Cunard are coming back to Liverpool as they have history with our city.
Prince Alfred
18th Apr 2014
Thanks for voting!
We are yet to have a bigger ship on the ocean
Tom West
8th Apr 2014
Thanks for voting!
Been on the QE2 twice, QV and QE once each.

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