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The biggest ships

I’ve just read a Cruise Critic list of the 30 biggest cruise ships currently at sea – here’s a link. What’s interesting is that the smallest of the thirty is 130,000 gross tons. Just as a comparison, the original Cunard Queens were just over 80,000 GRT and Titanic was about 50,000 tons.

If I could stir myself I’d do a list of all the ships bigger than the Queens, how many of them there are and when they were built. My guess is that the total is well over 50, possibly nearly 100, and they’ve all been built in the last 20 years. We are living through a golden age of passenger ship construction.

4 Responses to “The biggest ships”

  1. Malcolm Oliver says:

    Yes Tom it’s amazing. It looks like the new standard by the end of the decade will be around 180-200,000gt. – P&O, Costa, AIDA, MSC and Genting.

    80,000gt will look small by comparison.

  2. Bob Thompson says:

    Bigger isn’t always better though, obviously they are aiming at the family market with more activities for children onboard, but is that a good thing?

    • Tom Burke says:

      My guess is that it’s all about economies of scale. It’s just so much cheaper to build and run a larger ship, per passenger, than a smaller one. So fares can be reduced (or not increased by as much) to increase passenger numbers, thus maintaining profitability. I note that generally, prices are lower on Ventura, Azura and Britannia than on Oriana and Aurora, for broadly equivalent cabins.

      It would be interesting to see a comparison of the real costs of a cruise on Oriana 20 years ago compared with today. (I mention Oriana specifically because she’s a 20-year old ship that has only ever sailed for one line.)

      • Malcolm Oliver says:

        Hi Tom,

        Yes, big ships with all of their alternative dining options and facilities (big casinos, more shopping, coffee-shops, photo-services, sports halls, big spa’s etc.) are more profitable than smaller ships,

        This is NOT only because of their ‘economies of scale’, but the on-board spend, per-passenger, tends to be much higher. After all they have a very large captive audience.

        The fares are only a part of the profits.

        However, if you get to cruise on-board a ship which is say 30,000 gross tonnes or less (such as some of Olsen and CMV’s fleet) you get a more intimate, more nautical experience. Everybody should try it!

        I cruised Oasis (225,000 gt) and Marco Polo (22,000 gt) in the same year. What a contrast!

        For the record I loved both. It felt rather like visiting a mega-store and then a corner-shop! Both have their advantages.

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