108 Incredible Cruise Ship Facts and Statistics

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Accounting for over 30 million passengers every year, the cruise industry is one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors of global tourism. Every single cruise voyage is the result of incredible feats of engineering, a hardworking crew, and a long history of sea travel.

We’ve put together a list of shocking cruise ship facts and statistics. Whether you are a seasoned sailor or a first-time cruiser, you are bound to learn something new and fall in love with the incredible cruise ships on our list.

Cruise Industry Statistics

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Docked at Port
Photo by Matt Wilson
  1. At its peak in 2019, the cruise industry catered to over 30 million passengers
  2. The total guest capacity of the cruise ship industry is almost 500,000 guests
  3. The cruise industry is the fastest-growing sector of the leisure travel market, with 7.4% year-over-year growth since 1980
  4. A quarter of US citizens have taken a cruise vacation.
  5. Cruisers average about 3.5 years between cruise vacations.
  6. Carnival Cruises, the largest cruise line by passenger volume, accounts for 21.3% of all cruise passengers
  7. The second-largest cruise line, Royal Caribbean International, accounts for 16.67% of cruise passengers.
  8. MSC Cruises is the world’s largest privately-owned cruise operator
  9. Many cruise ships undertake world cruises which can take in more than 100 days at sea.
  10. Many cruise ships undertake “repositioning cruises,” where they travel to a new homeport and even a different continent. Passengers can typically book a cabin on these cruises at a reduced rate.
  11. One study found that in 2014, cruise ships dumped more than one billion gallons of sewage into the ocean.
  12. Your average cruise ship produces between 140,000 and 210,000 gallons of sewage per week. Eww!
  13. Around 300 ocean sailing cruise ships are currently in operation, and the number grows yearly.

Cruise Ship Facts and Figures

Costa Cruise Ship Sailing
  1. The world’s largest cruise ship, Wonder of the Seas, measures 236,857 gross tonnes
  2. The longest cruise ship in the world is twice the length of the Washington Monument
  3. The largest cruise ships in the world are as tall as a 16-story building
  4. More than 25 commercial cruise ships are currently being built worldwide.
  5. Most cruise ships skip deck 13 – due to superstitions
  6. Similarly, the Italian cruise line MSC cruises tends to omit deck 17 – due to Italian superstitions surrounding the number.
  7. A cruise ship can sail more than 73,000 nautical miles every year.
  8. Cruise ships sail an equivalent distance of three times around the world each year
  9. Cruise ships travel at an average speed of 18 to 20knots. That’s equivalent to 23mph or 37kph on land.
  10. The original Titanic would be barely half the size of most modern cruise ships.
  11. And the Oasis of the Seas is five times bigger than the Titanic in gross tons.
  12. Cruise ship godmothers include the Duchess of Cambridge, Julie Andrews, and the Queen.
  13. Cruise ships are roughly the same size under the surface of the sea as they are above.
  14. Many kitchens are located below sea level
  15. The Queen Mary 2 operates a kennel club so cruise ship passengers can travel with their pets.
  16. Cruise ships have onboard morgues.
  17. And almost all cruise ships have onboard jails.
  18. Any ship with more than 50 passengers must have a hospital.
  19. The Norwegian Epic has an onboard ice bar where guests can enjoy cocktails in sub-zero conditions – even when sailing through the Caribbean.
  20. A number of cruise ships offer AA meetings to ensure cruise ship passengers enrolled in the program don’t give in to temptation on the high seas.

Cruise Ship Building Facts

Royal Caribbean's Spectrum of the Seas under construction
Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean International
  1. A cruise ship can take anywhere from two to four years to build.
  2. Cruise ships are built-in blocks, or sections, that are assembled like legos into the finished ship.
  3. The average cruise cabin block manufacturer can produce 12,000 cabins per year.
  4. It costs over $1 billion to build a mega-cruise ship.
  5. Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas is the most expensive cruise ship ever built at $1.6 billion.
  6. The Royal Princess took 3 million man-hours to build.
  7. Cruise ship anchors can weigh more than 17 tons or the weight of four elephants.
  8. The average cruise ship has more than 16 miles of sprinkler piping, six miles of fire hose, 5,000 sprinkler heads, 4,000 smoke detectors, five firefighting teams, and 500 fire extinguishers.
  9. The average cruise ship uses around 18.3 gallons of fuel per minute or 1100 gallons per hour.
  10. The cruise ship’s fuel efficiency is roughly 0.004 miles per gallon
  11. A large cruise ship can hold between 1-2 million gallons of fuel.
  12. Modern diesel-powered cruise ships have between four to six medium-speed (500 revolutions per minute) engines (Source)
  13. Each engine has around 25,000 horsepower
  14. The world’s largest cruise ship has enough electrical wiring to stretch from coast to coast in the US. Over 3,000 miles of electrical wiring.

Destinations

Woman on cruise ship overlooking Basseterre, St. Lucia
  1. The Caribbean/Bahamas is the world’s most popular cruise destination, accounting for over one-third of cruise itineraries
  2. The Mediterranean is the second most popular cruise destination
  3. Mainland Europe, Australasia, and Alaska make up the rest of the top five destinations.
  4. More than 2,000 ports worldwide can be visited by cruise ships.
  5. Almost half of all cruise ship itineraries depart from Florida
  6. It’s no surprise that the port of Miami is the world’s busiest cruise homeport.
  7. However, Nassau in the Bahamas is the busiest overall port.
  8. The average cruise itinerary is seven days.

Cruise Passenger Statistics

Cruise ship passengers relaxing on deck chairs
  1. The average age of cruise passengers is 50.
  2. 86% of cruise passengers are college/university graduates.
  3. 62% of cruise passengers are married and work full-time.
  4. 40% of passengers report returning to a destination more than once
  5. Famous cruise fans include David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Sharon Stone, and Meryl Streep.
  6. Most cruise ships have fake funnels for aesthetic purposes
  7. The average passenger gains a pound per day on a cruise
  8. Half of all cruise passengers reside in North America
  9. Three-quarters of people use a travel agent when booking a cruise
  10. There are many retirees living permanently on cruise ships

Jobs in the Cruise Industry

Chilean Fjords, Costa Luminosa Captain and his officers are doing a difficult manoeuvre along the south chilean region of the fjords.
  1. The industry generates around 400,000 jobs throughout the country, paying $17.4 billion in wages.
  2. The cruise industry creates approximately 4,000 new jobs every year.
  3. Some ships have over 2000 crew members.
  4. Many crew members sleep in cabins below sea level
  5. A cruise ship captain’s salary is, on average, $96,000 per year, in a salary range that varies from $48,485 to $180,308
  6. The Monarch of the Seas was the first ship to have a female captain, Captain Karin Stahre Janson.
  7. Cruise ship crew members have secret code words to communicate.
  8. The average salary for a cruise ship worker is $16,000 to $20,000.
  9. The crew has their own bars and dining rooms on the crew decks.

Food & Alcohol

woman eating breakfast from room service on cruise ship suite balcony enjoying morning view of Caribbean ocean.
  1. Passengers aboard a single cruise ship can consume more than 5,000 eggs daily.
  2. Of the 5,000 eggs used daily, 1,956 are scrambled, 984 are used in omelets, 480 are eaten soft-boiled, 552 are served sunny side up, and 976 are made into other dishes.
  3. As well as 2,000 steaks and 1,000 baked potatoes every day.
  4. For any average 7-day cruise, approximately 5,040 pounds of lamb, 1,680 pounds of sausage, 24,236 pounds of beef, 7,216 pounds of pork, 10,211 pounds of chicken, 4,500 pounds of veal, and 3,156 pounds of turkey are consumed by passengers.
  5. And 400 bottles of champagne are drunk every week aboard a cruise ship.
  6. During a world cruise, more than 312 bottles of gin, 840 bottles of vodka, and 285 bottles of scotch will be drunk.
  7. Several celebrity chefs have restaurants aboard cruise ships, including Jamie Oliver, Atul Kochhar, and James Martin.
  8. A large cruise ship can go through 20,000 ice cream cones each week!
  9. And 600 gallons of ice cream.
  10. Approximately 17 tonnes of fruit will be consumed on an average week-long cruise.
  11. All this food consumption means that approximately 10,000 glasses, 12,500 plates, and 15,000 items of cutlery need to be washed up every day.
  12. The food is eaten off of 8,000 tablecloths, with 16,000 napkins.
  13. An average of 4,000 cups of coffee is served on a cruise ship daily.
  14. Carnival Cruise line places over 10 million chocolates on passenger pillows annually.
  15. This is in addition to the 500 kilos of chocolates consumed on a 7-day cruise.
  16. Cunard Cruise Line purchases $500,000 worth of caviar in a single year.

Money

paper ship hundred dollar bill floating in water
  1. Passengers spend an average of $220 per day onboard a cruise
  2. The most expensive cruise holiday could cost you millions. The Silver Whisper from Silversea Cruises offers packages costing a cool £1m.
  3. The most expensive cruise, The Silver Whisper from Silversea Cruises, offers packages costing over $1 million dollars.
  4. The P&O Britannia’s $1 million art collection includes more than 8,000 individual pieces.
  5. The most expensive cruise ships are Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas at $1.4 billion each.
  6. The average cruise passenger spends $385 in port before boarding a cruise.
  7. It costs around $500,000 to prepare a cruise ship before passengers can board.

Historical Cruise Industry Facts

Prinzessin Victoria Luise world's first cruise ship
Prinzessin Victoria Luise, the world’s first cruise ship
  1. An Australian billionaire plans to build a replica of the Titanic, appropriately named Titanic II.
  2. Docked Cruise ships have served as hotels for major sporting events, including the FIFA World Cup and The Olympics.
  3. They even served as makeshift shelters in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
  4. Futuristic cruise ship amenities include robot bartenders and skydiving simulators.
  5. Several cruise ships were used during World War One, World War Two, and other major wars.
  6. It used to be common for ships to have topless sunbathing decks.
  7. P&O Cruises is the world’s oldest cruise operator – tracing its history back to 1837.
  8. In its history, more than 100 ships have sailed for Cunard Cruise Line.
  9. The first cruise ship to set sail was the Prinzessin Victoria Luise in 1900.
  10. The first swimming pool on board a cruise ship didn’t appear until 10 years later, in 1910.
  11. The first cruise ships had cows onboard to produce fresh milk for passengers

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Marcello

I’ve been cruising since I was 11 years old. I love the freedom that cruising provides, meeting new people, and exploring amazing new ships. I love to share my passion for cruising and travel with readers.

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