Sailing across the ocean is a fascinating journey of discovery that constantly pushes the limits. There's nothing more relaxing than a holiday onboard a cruise ship. However, when doing it in luxury and complete safety, it is all the better. Ever since the birth of the cruise industry, vessels competed in popularity, size, and opulence. Each year, bigger and more expensive cruise ships are built, transforming the vessels in virtual floating cities. When it set sail in 1912, the Titanic was the largest cruise ship in the world. Nowadays, it doesn't even make it in the top 50.
When it comes to cruises, vessels fall into two categories: those that cost a fortune to build because they're simply gigantic, and those that are smaller and offer intimate onboard holidays. Most gargantuan cruise ships sailing today are big enough to accommodate a small village. In fact, they are floating cities in the true sense of the word, offering as many mainland facilities as any modern town would. This is exactly why they are in great demand among a wide range of customers. They can care to various needs, from solo travelers to young couples and families with small children. There are bars and clubs, casinos, various dining options, spa and fitness centers, swimming pools, dance rooms, onboard theme parks, and even surf simulators.
When it comes to luxury cruises, Royal Caribbean is the clear leader, operating most of the vessels on our top 10 most expensive cruise ships list. The company is the proud owner of the two sister vessels that hold the title of being the largest and most expensive passenger ships ever built. Together, they weigh over 1.5 million tons, can cover 31 football stadiums, and can accommodate more than 34,000 passengers, crew members not included.
10 Liberty of the Seas, $800 million
Owned and operated by Royal Caribbean, a Norwegian and American cruise line, Liberty of the Seas is one of the three Freedom-class sister ships sailing the oceans today. The second liner in the Freedom-class series first set sail in May 2007. Measuring 1,111 feet in length and rising 184 feet above the water line, the 15-deck vessel can accommodate 4,375 guests and 1,360 crew members. Among its Freedom-class characteristic features, it includes a gigantic dining room that seats 2,101, a spa and fitness center, a theater, surf simulator, ice skating ring, whirlpools, and three swimming pools.
9 Freedom of the Seas, $800 million
Owned and operated by the same Royal Caribbean, Freedom of the Seas is the first Freedom-class cruise ship ever built. It cost $800 million to build and when it was finally ready in 2006, it was the biggest cruise ship at the time. The 18-deck vessel can accommodate 4,375 guests and 1,360 crew members, taking its passengers on 7-night cruises in the Western Caribbeans. Royal Caribbean equipped its cruise ship with some unique features such as a surf simulator, a water park, and cantilevered whirlpools.
8 Independence of the Seas, $828 million
The third in the series of Freedom-class cruise ships, Independence of the Seas joined her two sisters when it first set sail in April 2008. Owned by the same Royal Caribbean, Independence of the Seas measures 1,112 feet in length. The 15-deck vessel can accommodate 4,370 guests and 1,360 crew members, and boasts a few remarkable Freedom-class features of its own, such as the FlowRider surf simulator, a registered trademark, ice-skating ring, a rock climbing wall, mini golf course, and cantilevered whirlpools.
7 Norwegian Breakaway, $840 million
One of the newest luxury cruise ships roaming the oceans, Norwegian Breakaway first set sail in 2013. Owned and operated by Norwegian Cruise Line, a company headquartered in Florida, it was built by Meyer Werft Shipyards in Germany for $840 million. It is currently the largest cruise ship to home port in New York. With 1,024 staterooms, it can accommodate 4,000 guests and 1,595 crew members. Its distinctive features are an enormous open-air space, the first of its kind in the cruise industry, a mini golf course, a fitness center, aqua park, hot tubs, and swimming pools.
6 Queen Mary 2, $880 million
Cruising the transatlantic, the Queen Mary 2 is owned by Cunard Line, a British-American shipping comopany, and cost $880 million to build. It is currently Cunard's only cruise ship that operates between Southampton and New York. The 14-deck liner can accommodate 2,620 guests and 1,238 crew members. Among its distinctive features, there is a Britannia restaurant that seats 1,347, Queen's Grill, Royal Court Theater, Winter garden, as well as 14 clubs and fitness and wellness facilities. Measuring 1,132 feet in length and rising 236 feet above the water line, Queen Mary 2 is exactly 147 feet longer than the Eiffel Tower.
5 Disney Dream, $900 million
The third cruise ship owned and operated by Disney Cruise Line, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company, Disney Dream cost $900 million to built. It set sail for the first time in 2011 and currently cruises the Bahamas, sailing three and four day itineraries. There are a total of 1,250 staterooms and the gargantuan vessel can accommodate 4,000 guests and 1,458 crew members. With a striking 20th century design, it features a few amenities that the cruise industry had not seen before, such as the AquaDuck, the world's first on-board water coaster. Of course, there are various children and teenager areas, as well as nightclubs and lounges for adults.
4 Disney Fantasy, $940 million
Fourth cruise ship operated by the Disney Cruise Line, Disney Fantasy was built by Meyer Werft Shipyards in Germany for $940 million. Just like all the other ships in the Disney Cruise Line, it was designed to accommodate families and entertain children. It cruises the Eastern and Western Caribbeans. There are 1,250 staterooms which stretch along the 14-deck vessel. Disney Fantasy can accommodate 4,000 guests and 1,450 crew members. Among its most striking features, there is a 3-deck atrium lobby, marble and stone floors, a sweeping staircase, fluted columns, and fine decorative paintings and murals.
3 Norwegian Epic, $1.2 billion
Owned by Norwegian Cruise Lines, Norwegian Epic is Norwegian Breakaway's big sister. It has a total capacity of 5,853 passengers, out of which it can accommodate 4,100 guests and 1,753 crew members. The cruise ship cost $1.2 billion to built and is currently the third largest in the world. Cruising the Caribbean and Europe, Norwegian Epic represents a new concept implemented by the company called “freestyle cruising.” Among its many on-board facilities, there are studio rooms for solo travelers, live entertainment options, fitness and sports, aqua park, hot tubs, pools, and over 20 dining options.
2 Oasis of the Seas, $1.4 billion
The second largest cruise ship ever built, five times the Titanic, owned by the same Royal Caribbean International, Oasis of the Seas cost $1.4 billion to build. It set out to sea for the first time in December 2009, and currently departs from its home port in Florida, cruising the Caribbean while offering a great number of onboard facilities; miniature golf course, a zip line, a casino, a pool and sports area, entertainment places, theme parks, 4 swimming pools, and numerous bars and clubs. Measuring 1,187 feet in length and rising 236 feet above the water line, it is nearly as tall as the Empire State Building. It comes with its very own central Park, an open space, the first living park at sea, with 1,200 plants and 56 trees. Oasis of the Seas takes pride in its luxury staterooms, out of which the most expensive is the Royal Loft Suite, which costs $16,600 per person per week. The 18-deck vessel can accommodate 5,500 guests and 2,160 crew members.
1 Allure of the Seas, $1.5 billion
The most expensive cruise ship roaming the seas today is owned by Royal Caribbean International, the world leader in luxury cruises. Allure of the Seas is the largest and most expensive passenger ship ever built. It is only two inches longer than its little sister, Oasis of the Seas. The 16-deck vessel can accommodate 6,296 guests, plus 2,384 crew members, which sums up to 8,680 passengers. Among its unique features, there's the first onboard Starbucks, an ice-skating ring, and a theater that seats 1,380. It all cost a jaw-dropping $1.4 billion to build. Allure of the Seas measures 1,187 feet and 2 inches in length and rises 236 feet above the water line. It features a Central Park, just like Oasis of the Seas, a two-deck dance hall, rock climbing walls, swimming pools, and hot tubs.
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