World's Largest Cruise Ships

by Aefa Mulholland Subscribe to Aefa Mulholland's posts Posted Apr 8th 2010 04:57 PM


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Worlds Largest Cruise Ships

When it comes to vacations on today's bumper crop of enormous cruise liners, it's the ship -- not the shore -- that entices passengers on board. With breweries, big tops, and Broadway shows, the behemoth vessels taking to the waves in 2010 push the boat out in terms of attractions, amenities, and activities. "At this stage every ship's got a climbing wall," says Johanna Jainchill, senior cruise editor of Travel Weekly. "Now an amenity has to be earth shattering -- it has to be something that no one's ever seen." These days, onboard activities such as wave pools are taken for granted, surpassed by two-story Wii screens and 84-feet-long zip lines. "Passengers now expect a variety of restaurants and choices of entertainment," says Monty Mathisen, web editor of Cruise Industry News. "Ten years ago most ships had a couple restaurants at the most, now you have Oasis with 24, and Norwegian Epic with 20."

Read on for the ships making the biggest splashes in 2010.

Worlds Largest Cruise Ships

The ship casting the biggest shadow -- the longest, tallest, widest, heaviest, most expensive cruise ship ever to set sail -- is the gargantuan Oasis of the Seas. This beautiful behemoth weighs in at a staggering 225,282 tons, is 1,187 feet bow to stern, and looms 20 stories high. At full capacity the Oasis of the Seas can easily carry 6,300 passengers and 2,300 crew. The list of amenities is astounding -- 24 eating options, 37 bars, 37 cabin classes, and 2,700 staterooms that include 28 luxe, two-level loft suites. With high-dive spectacles and lightshows taking place in the 18-feet-deep pool (the deepest pool at sea), 30-mile-an-hour surf simulators, an ice rink, nine-hole golf course, seven "neighborhoods," and a vast 27,000 square feet atrium with 12,175 plants and 56 trees, there seems little need for this city at sea to leave dock. And if you can take your eyes off the on-board sights, ship seminars scan from scuba certification to scrap booking to stargazing.

Worlds Largest Cruise Ships

Norwegian Cruise Line's 4,200-passenger "Epic will be hitting the water in July 2010. This 1,080-foot-long ship will be NCL's largest and most revolutionary vessel to date, with a slew of social spots including sake, martini, and whiskey bars, and the first true ice bar at sea -- a wintry wonderland constructed entirely of ice and maintained at 17 degrees. Other number ones range from the largest private villa complex at sea, and the Mandara Spa, at 31,000 square feet, the largest spa on a cruise ship, to the first rappelling wall on the water, six bowling lanes, and Aqua Park's Epic Plunge -- the largest bowl tube slide at sea. A stellar entertainment bill sees Blue Man Group, The Second City comedy troupe, and the acrobats of Cirque Dreams and Dinner sashay on board. Standout venues such as the Spiegel Tent big top round out the entertainment options. Perhaps the most revolutionary feature, however, is the introduction of Epic's solo Studio cabins -- an entire category of accommodation designed specifically for single travelers.

Worlds Largest Cruise Ships

Set to take the cruise industry by storm is P&O Cruises' 3,092-passenger Azura, launching April 7, 2010. The U.K.'s latest superliner offers 11 restaurants, including Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar's fine dining Indian eatery, Sindhu; 12 places to drink; and a two-tier, 800-seat theatre that will see shows from London's West End entertain the crowds. Other places to gather include the Sea Screen alfresco cinema and the Planet Bar -- home to a 66-feet-wide floor-to-ceiling audiovisual wall. An outdoor spa terrace, The Retreat, and an ocean-view gym are on hand to keep cruisers in shape. This is the second new ship in 2010 (the other being the Norwegian Epic) offering solo, boutique-style cabins -- Azura appeals to the singles crowd by doing away with the dreaded "single supplement."

Worlds Largest Cruise Ships

The seventh ship from Germany's AIDA Cruises, the 827-feet-long AIDABlu's big claim to fame is that it is home to the first ever brewery at sea. Christened in Hamburg in February 2010 by designer Jette Joop, AIDABlu's brews come from a working microbrewery operated by famed German brewers, Hovels. Practically an Oktoberfest on the waves, the 130 gallons of light, dark, seasonal, and ship-specific concoctions brewed daily star at AIDABlu's on-board beer hall and beer garden. The 2,050-passenger ship also boasts a 28,000 square feet spa to help with the aftereffects of sampling too many pints in the beer hall -- and a 4D cinema for when daylight hurts hung-over eyes too much.

Worlds Largest Cruise Ships

Due in Southampton, England, on April 20, 2010, the eagerly awaited, 2,850-passenger Eclipse promises the most luxurious spa afloat, called Aqua Spa, as well as a whole class of Aqua staterooms on the same deck. A healthy eatery, Blu, is conveniently positioned alongside to prevent spa guests from going wild at the buffets. Those who do choose less calorie-conscious cuisine will find a more British slant than on other Celebrity ships -- Eclipse will feature British classics including Beef Wellington and mushy peas. A two-story wine tower looms above the chandelier-lit Dining Room and wine tasting is offered in the elegant, Napa-inspired Cellar Masters. Other unique features in this 1,033-feet-long, 122,000-ton vessel include glassblowing classes and the first official Apple Reseller at sea, where guest can learn how to use Macs, iPods, and various Apple programs at a café equipped with a fleet of shiny MacBook Pros.

Worlds Largest Cruise Ships

The latest ship from the world's fourth largest cruise operator (after Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and NCL), Magnifica embarked on her maiden voyage in March 2010. Weighing almost 100,000 tons and measuring 964-feet, Magnifica can carry 3,605 passengers at full capacity, along with a crew of 1,027. Perhaps the most impressive feature on this luxury liner is the Magrodome -- an all-weather pool with a retractable roof, perfect for when a chill mistral blows across the Mediterranean. Two Turkish baths, thalassotherapy treatments, a 4D cinema, bowling alley, billiards hall, and 17 bars and lounges are other reasons to consider bounding on board.

Worlds Largest Cruise Ships

Cunard's 2,100-passenger Queen Elizabeth, launching Fall 2010, offers almost 1,000 feet of ultimate opulence with all the 1930s glamour one would expect from this legendary line. From the spiral staircases and leaded glass ceiling of the wood-paneled Grand Lobby to the stately Queen's Room, the venue of black tie balls and afternoon tea served by white-gloved wait staff, Queen Elizabeth glides supremely to the top of the luxury league. Gastropub The Golden Lion is set to serve the best in British food, while the Garden Lounge Conservatory offers a supper club atmosphere. A two-tier, 6,000-volume library overlooks the Grand Lobby, and the Royal Court Theater includes private boxes where chocolates and champagne are served. Outside, an English country garden ambience prevails on the Games Deck with its croquet and paddle tennis tournaments.

Worlds Largest Cruise Ships

Big news in the ultra luxury cruise category is the Seabourn Sojourn, upping anchor in June 2010. Both Sojourn and 2009 launch Seabourn Odyssey are three times bigger than Seabourn's other vessels, but only carry 450 passengers, twice as many as their smaller sisters. All 225 luxury suites have ocean views -- the largest measures an impressive 1,682 square feet -- and 90 percent of cabins have private verandas. Celebrity chef Charlie Palmer developed the menu at The Restaurant, where diners will feast off exquisite china and sip from crystal glasses. The magnificent state-of-the-art spa offers a thalassotherapy pool, unique pulley and cable Kinesis wall, and, for that extra touch of decadence, 24-karat-gold facials. Sojourn's built-in marina allows guests to swim, snorkel, windsurf, kayak, and water ski from the ship -- all without having to set foot on shore.

Worlds Largest Cruise Ships

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Im an american and im also a fish. I take up to 2 cruises a year and im not fat. I happen to enjoy meeting people and people watching. Yes it is at times a turn off to actually here some of the stories behind some of the poeple but i enjoy the cruise never the less and have never had a problem with sharing my space. As far as lifeboats im sure that they are adequate as on every cruise i have taken i have enquired to such the matter to be reassured that there are always enough life boats to take care of every person on the boat. As far as im concerned a cruise for me encomapsses two things i love travel and the ocean some of the things that people should be paying more attention to.

April 14 2010 at 2:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Have been in every state in the U.S. many different countries but never on a cruise. I hear 50% good and 50% bad. Guess it just depends on what cruise line you take, how old you are, what kind of room you get, what country you're from,etc. I let you know how my 1st cruise turned out.

April 14 2010 at 2:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oasis of the Seas, indeed a fabulous ship. I work travel/tourism international, this was one of my top cruises. Such a homey atmosphere, maybe due to the fact that that the ship was build in my country, Turku, Finland. Aker Yards, kiitos paljon rakentamastanne ihanasta laivasta, talla seilataan viela.

April 14 2010 at 12:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have been on 14 cruises. Some on big ships some not so big. For a relaxing trip you can't beat a cruise. If you want to do something every moment, you can. If you just want to relax and watch the world go by that is another option. For the money it's the greatest. I especially enjoy Royal Carribean. Happy sailing everyone.

April 14 2010 at 12:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I HATE BIG SHIPS! You need your own personal GPS.

April 14 2010 at 12:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Harold Brown

I have been on 52 cruises....and yes, i am 66 years old, a bachelor, and a fun person. I have been on all Carnival Cruise Lines ships, and other than not being charged as a single ( i have to pay double) i love cruises, and i am doing the 12 day Magic (a new ship being built now) leaving from Barcelona. I hope this experience which i never did, will be a good one. Don't worry about the safety of life boats. You chances of winning the lottery are better than a disaster at sea, where you will have to abandon ship. Try going on a 8 day vacation, paying for your food, room, and entertainment, and see what that cost you, compared to a cruise. See how your waiters treat you compared to Cruise line personnel; see how your room stewart treats you on the cruise, compared to a hotel chamber maid. Believe me, cruises are your best bet for a vacation, especially if two people share the cabin.

April 14 2010 at 12:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply



April 14 2010 at 12:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

those lifeboats would only handle 5% of the passengers in case of emergency. it could be the next titanic disaster.

April 14 2010 at 11:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I loved all the cruises I was on. I found you enjoy them because you make up your mind to see everything there is offered to you and pick what your favorite things are and continue to a ship that has all of these. Then ... enjoy! Simple as that. Cut out the KIDS travel FREE & their vacation times etc. If you don't like to be around this type of rudeness. They are kids whose PARENTS are on the cruise to enjoy themselves...really, without ... their kids bothering them! ( It's like...go play in the traffic...) right.
Been there, done that, never again. Scheduling really helps alot...Happy Cruis'in....

April 14 2010 at 11:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The bigger they are the more difficult it will be to evacuate everyone in the event of a fire or other sea disaster.

YOu better hope there is an aircraft carrier close by if these huge ships have a problem.

April 14 2010 at 10:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply