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Top 10 Cruise Ships Through the Ages

Table of content

  • Introduction

  • Top 10 Cruise Ships / Lines Lists

    1. Wonder of The Seas

    2. RMS Titanic

    3. Symphony Of The Seas

    4. RMS Queen Elizabeth

    5. Harmony of the Seas

    6. RMS Queen Mary

    7. MSC World Europa

    8. RMS Olympic

    9. Arvia

    10. SS Bremen

Top 10 Cruise Ships
Cruise Ships


The world of cruise ships has evolved dramatically over the years, from the opulent luxury liners of the early 20th century to the sleek, technologically advanced vessels of today.

In this journey through time, we'll explore the top 10 cruise ships that have left an indelible mark on the industry, showcasing the bridge between the old and the new.

We'll delve into ten modern marvels, including Symphony, Harmony, and Oasis of the Seas by Royal Caribbean, and contrast them with five legendary antique cruise ships like the RMS Titanic, Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth.

But before we embark on this voyage of discovery, it's crucial to acknowledge the transformative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the cruise industry. As the world grappled with unprecedented challenges, cruise lines were among the hardest hit. The industry came to a standstill, with ships docked and voyages cancelled, leaving many to question the future of cruising. However, this setback only fueled the industry's determination to adapt and innovate.

Join us as we embark on a voyage through time and technology, exploring the evolution of cruise ships and how the industry has weathered storms, both figuratively and literally, to become a thriving global phenomenon. From the grandeur of antique ocean liners to the cutting-edge innovations of contemporary cruise ships, this exploration promises to be a captivating journey into the heart of maritime history and the future of seaborne travel.

Top 10 Cruise Ships Lists -

  1. Wonder of The Seas: As the latest jewel in the Royal Caribbean's crown, the Wonder of the Seas is a true marvel of modern maritime engineering and luxury. Launched in 2022, this mammoth cruise ship redefines the boundaries of what a sea-going vessel can offer to passengers. From its sheer size to its unparalleled amenities, the Wonder of the Seas stands as a testament to the innovation and grandeur of contemporary cruise ship design.

Wonder of The Seas
Source: Orlandosentinel

It stretches an impressive 362 meters (1,188 feet) in length and features 18 decks, setting new standards for size and grandeur in the cruise industry.

Luxury is paramount in the Wonder of the Seas. Its Central Park neighborhood is a botanical wonderland with 20,000 live plants, offering alfresco dining, upscale restaurants, and serene spaces. This innovative concept provides a tranquil oasis at sea, unmatched by any other cruise liner.

Thrill-seekers are in for a treat with the ship's exciting attractions, including the Ultimate Abyss, a 10-story slide, and a vast water park. Multiple pools and a surf simulator cater to water enthusiasts, ensuring an adrenaline rush.

In terms of propulsion, the Wonder of the Seas embraces innovative technology. It features a clean and sustainable LNG (liquefied natural gas) propulsion system, reducing its environmental impact and enhancing efficiency. This eco-friendly approach aligns with the growing trend in the cruise industry towards greener and more sustainable operations. {best cruise lines}

Sumptuous dining options, world-class entertainment, Broadway-style shows, and a dazzling casino round out the ship's offerings, promising a voyage that's both lavish and thrilling. The Wonder of the Seas redefines luxury cruising, inviting travellers to experience the world's wonders in unmatched style and comfort on the high seas.

  1. RMS Titanic: The RMS Titanic, a name synonymous with both luxury and tragedy, was a maritime marvel of its era. Constructed as a testament to human innovation, the vessel boasted cutting-edge technology for its time. Stretching approximately 882 feet in length, it held the distinction of being the largest and most luxurious ship afloat, capturing the imagination of the world.

RMS Titanic
Source: Pngtree

On its maiden voyage in 1912, the Titanic embarked on a journey that would become an enduring legend, famously portrayed in the Oscar-winning movie directed by James Cameron. However, this grandeur of the seas met a tragic end when it struck an iceberg in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic. The calamity resulted in the loss of over 1,500 lives, marking one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.

Yet, the Titanic's legacy extends beyond tragedy. It serves as a poignant reminder of the relentless pursuit of innovation, including its advanced propulsion systems, consisting of coal-fired engines and a groundbreaking auxiliary electric propulsion system. This technological prowess allowed the ship to achieve unprecedented levels of speed and comfort.

Moreover, the Titanic was designed to accommodate approximately 2,435 passengers and a crew of about 900, underlining its stature as a vessel of grandeur and extravagance. Lavish interiors, gourmet dining, and onboard amenities set a new standard for luxury travel, catering to the elite of the time. {best cruise lines}

Today, the Titanic's story remains a compelling narrative, captivating generations and inspiring countless books, documentaries, and cinematic adaptations. It is a testament to the enduring fascination with its history, its technological innovations, and the poignant lessons it imparts about the indomitable spirit of exploration and the delicate balance between human ambition and nature's formidable forces.

  1. Symphony Of The Seas: Launched in 2018, the Symphony of the Seas is the epitome of contemporary cruise ship innovation. This colossal vessel is a part of the Royal Caribbean International fleet and ranks among the largest cruise ships globally, setting new standards for passenger capacity, size, and amenities.

Symphony Of The Seas
Source: Pixabay

With an astonishing passenger capacity of over 6,600 guests and a crew of approximately 2,200, the Symphony of the Seas can accommodate a small city's worth of travellers. This impressive capacity allows for a diverse range of onboard experiences, from thrilling entertainment to world-class dining and relaxation.

In terms of size, the Symphony of the Seas measures a staggering 1,188 feet in length, making it one of the largest cruise ships afloat. Its enormous gross tonnage, approximately 228,081 GT, further emphasizes its immense scale. Additionally, the ship boasts a DWT (deadweight tonnage) of around 22,000 tons.

Innovation extends to its propulsion as well. The Symphony of the Seas utilizes advanced diesel-electric propulsion systems, combining fuel efficiency and environmental sustainability. This technology enables the ship to navigate the world's oceans efficiently while minimizing its carbon footprint.

While the exact cost of constructing the Symphony of the Seas remains undisclosed, creating such a technological marvel involves a substantial investment. Cruise industry experts estimate that the construction cost could surpass $1.35 billion, taking into account its sheer size, cutting-edge features, and luxurious amenities.

  1. RMS Queen Elizabeth: The RMS Queen Elizabeth, an iconic ocean liner of its time, epitomized the grandeur and elegance of transatlantic travel. Launched in 1938, she was one of the largest ships of her era, measuring approximately 1,031 feet in length and boasting a gross tonnage of around 83,673 GT. This immense size allowed her to accommodate over 2,000 passengers and a crew of about 1,200, ensuring a luxurious and spacious voyage.

RMS Queen Elizabeth
Source: iStock

Construction of the Queen Elizabeth came with a considerable price tag, estimated at around £25 million at the time (equivalent to approximately $500 million today). This substantial investment reflected her opulent interiors and advanced technology for that era.

Propelled by powerful steam turbines, Queen Elizabeth was known for her speed and efficiency, making her a favourite choice for transatlantic voyages between Europe and the United States. During her service, she ferried thousands of passengers across the Atlantic, providing them with luxurious accommodations, fine dining, and world-class entertainment. {best cruise lines}

However, like many grand liners of her era, Queen Elizabeth's fate took a tragic turn. In 1972, a massive fire broke out while she was undergoing refurbishment in Hong Kong, leading to extensive damage. Despite efforts to salvage her, the vessel was ultimately deemed unsalvageable and was sold for scrap. Her final journey was a sombre one, as she was towed to Hong Kong's waters and met her demise, marking the end of an era in ocean travel.

  1. Harmony of the Seas: An exceptional addition to Royal Caribbean's fleet, the ship was launched in 2016, showcasing the zenith of contemporary cruise ship excellence. With a jaw-dropping construction cost of approximately $1.35 billion, this marvel of maritime engineering set new standards for opulence and innovation in the cruise industry.

Harmony of the Seas
Source: Pngtree

Measuring around 1,188 feet in length and boasting a gross tonnage of approximately 226,963 GT, Harmony of the Seas is among the largest cruise ships globally. This mammoth vessel offers accommodation for over 6,600 passengers and a crew of around 2,200, creating an onboard environment akin to a bustling seaside city.

The ship typically navigates a variety of routes, with itineraries often including destinations in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. Its extensive range of amenities and activities ensures that passengers can enjoy a rich and diverse vacation experience while exploring captivating ports of call.

Harmony of the Seas employs a combination of diesel-electric and Azipod propulsion systems. Diesel-electric engines generate electricity to power electric motors connected to the ship's propellers. Azipod units, advanced azimuth electric propulsion systems, enhance maneuverability and efficiency in navigating the seas.

  1. RMS Queen Mary: The RMS Queen Mary, launched in 1936, was a majestic ocean liner that embodied the epitome of luxury travel during her time.

With a length of about 1,019 feet, the Queen Mary was a marvel of engineering, capable of carrying over 2,000 passengers and a crew of around 1,200. Her primary route was the transatlantic journey between Southampton, England, and New York City, catering to elite travelers seeking a sumptuous voyage.

RMS Queen Mary
Source: Pixabay

Propelled by four massive steam turbines, she was celebrated for her speed and efficiency, making her a favorites choice for transatlantic crossings. However, with the rise of air travel, her popularity declined, and in 1967, the Queen Mary retired from active service. {best cruise lines}

The RMS Queen Mary cost approximately $25 million to build in 1936, which is equivalent to about $530 million in today's dollars. This was a very significant investment at the time, but it was justified by the fact that the Queen Mary was the largest and fastest ship in the world and was one of the most luxurious cruise ships ever built.

The Queen Mary was also a very profitable ship for the Cunard Line. She generated a significant amount of revenue from passenger fares and cargo carriage. The ship also helped to promote Cunard Line's brand and reputation around the world.

The Queen Mary was retired from service in 1967 and was sold to the city of Long Beach, California, where she has been a museum and hotel ever since. The ship is a popular tourist attraction and is one of the most iconic landmarks in Long Beach.

  1. MSC World Europa: MSC World Europa, the vanguard of MSC Cruises, boasts remarkable features that redefine the cruising experience. Powered by eco-friendly LNG (liquefied natural gas) engines, it signifies MSC's unwavering commitment to environmental stewardship. These advanced engines deliver exceptional benefits, including a remarkable 99% reduction in SOx emissions, an 85% decrease in NOx emissions, a 25% cut in greenhouse gases (GHG), and the significant elimination of particulate matter from exhaust emissions.

MSC World Europa
Source: cruiseandferry

Beyond its groundbreaking propulsion system, MSC World Europa introduces innovative design elements. Its futuristic appearance is highlighted by a signature plumb bow and a unique Y-shaped open aft. This design leads to the 104-meter-long outdoor World Promenade, offering breathtaking ocean views. The promenade also features the record-breaking Venom Drop at The Spiral, an 11-deck high stainless-steel dry slide, an industry-first.

The cruise experience aboard MSC World Europa is equally remarkable. With sleek interior design, 13 diverse dining venues, and thrilling entertainment offerings, it transcends traditional cruising. Guests can unwind in the scenic Panorama Lounge, revel in the futuristic Luna Park Arena, or be captivated by the iconic LED dome in the indoor World Galleria.

MSC World Europa represents the future of cruising, combining advanced environmental practices, innovative design, and unparalleled onboard experiences for a new era in ocean travel.

  1. RMS Olympic: RMS Olympic, a sister ship to the ill-fated RMS Titanic, was a renowned ocean liner of her time. Launched in 1910 by the White Star Line, she shared the same impressive size and luxury as her sister ships, Titanic and Britannic.

RMS Olympic
Source: Quora

Olympic was celebrated for her opulent interiors, spacious accommodations, and state-of-the-art amenities. She was often referred to as the "Old Reliable" due to her remarkable safety record and reliability during her years of service.

One of Olympic's most notable moments came in 1911 when she collided with the British warship HMS Hawke. Remarkably, Olympic's robust construction prevented her from sinking, showcasing her resilience and reinforcing her reputation for safety.

During World War I, Olympic was converted into a troopship, contributing to the war effort. After the war, she returned to her transatlantic passenger service and continued to carry passengers in style and comfort.

Ultimately, RMS Olympic was retired in 1935, marking the end of an era for the grand ocean liners. Although overshadowed by the tragedy of Titanic, Olympic left an indelible mark on maritime history as a symbol of elegance, and durability, and a testament to the advancements in ship design and safety that followed her sister's tragic demise.

  1. Arvia : P&O Arvia is a new cruise ship that was launched in July 2022. It is the largest and most technologically advanced cruise ship in the P&O Cruises fleet.

Source: cruiselifestyle

Arvia is 345 meters (1,132 feet) long and 42 meters (138 feet) wide. It has a gross tonnage of 183,900 GT and can carry up to 5,200 passengers.

Arvia is currently sailing cruises in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. It has 19 decks and 1,573 cabins. It features a SkyDome with a retractable glass roof, a swimming pool with a water slide, and a variety of restaurants and bars. Arvia is also one of the most environmentally friendly cruise ships in the world, thanks to its efficient propulsion system and its use of solar power.

P&O Arvia is a state-of-the-art cruise ship that offers its passengers a luxurious and unforgettable cruise experience. It is a testament to P&O Cruises' commitment to innovation and to providing its passengers with the best possible cruise experience.

  1. SS Bremen: The SS Bremen was a notable cruise ship, constructed at the Deutsche Schiff- und Maschinenbau shipyard in Bremen, Germany. Launched in 1928, it epitomized the elegance and luxury of its era.

SS Bremen
Source: tiny-sailors-world.fandom

The SS Bremen was celebrated for its transatlantic voyages, connecting Europe with the Americas. It offered a blend of opulent interiors, high-end amenities, and impeccable service that attracted elite passengers of its time.

Unfortunately, the SS Bremen met a tragic end when it caught fire in 1941 during World War II while being used as a barracks ship. The fire led to significant damage, ultimately leading to the ship's scrapping. {best cruise lines}

Propelled by a combination of diesel and steam turbines, the SS Bremen was a technological marvel of its time, exemplifying the fusion of luxury and innovation in the world of cruise ships. Despite its unfortunate fate, it remains part of maritime history, remembered for its elegance and significance in the golden age of ocean travel.

In 2021, the global cruise ship market was valued at $8 billion. Despite the setbacks poised by COVID-19, the industry is projected to reach a staggering $16.7 billion by 2031, growing at an impressive CAGR of 7.9% from 2022 to 2031. This resurgence is a testament to the enduring allure of cruise vacations and the industry's resilience.

One significant aspect of this transformation is the adoption of innovative propulsion techniques. Cruise ships are no longer reliant solely on traditional engines; instead, they are embracing sustainable alternatives like liquefied natural gas (LNG), azipods and electric propulsion. These advancements not only reduce environmental impact but also enhance efficiency and performance.

Written by Ankur Kundu

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