Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Cruise Ship Size

One of the nice things about this blog, is that I can see what people have searched for to find it. The most frequently asked question was about ship size. Cruise ship size, in my experience has been broken down in one of four ways. Tonnage, length (and width), number of passengers and crew, and space ratio. But the word average is subjective, and every year the average goes up with the newer and bigger ships being launched.

Tonnage is the the measurement in volume a ship can carry. Royal Caribbean has the largest cruise ships in terms of tonnage, with the Freedom Class coming in at 160,000 tons, and a new ship being built, currently unnamed, that when launched will be over 220,000 tons. There are few cargo ships that are larger.

Length and width of a ship is a way of measuring size that comes into play when the cruise lines are figuring out where the ship can go. Many docks are not big enough to hold some of the larger ships and most of the newer cruise ships cannot pass through the Panama Canal due to size restrictions. The Carnival Splendor, due to end up in Long Beach California in Spring of 2009 will have to go around South America to do so.

Passenger and crew is probably the answer most people are looking for when searching for ship size. But this number can be misleading. Just because the number of passengers is high does not mean that the ship will be crowded. It can have an impact on the time it takes to embark and debark the ship though which may be a factor for some people.

Space Ratio is the number that one really needs to look at. It is the measurement of the size of the ship compared to the number of passengers it carries. The lower the number the less space per person there is. Space ratio of modern Cruise liners range from 25 to 45 with most being in the mid 30s. A luxury liner will have a space ratio in the 50 and higher range. To figure out the space ratio, find the Tonnage (or GRT "Gross Registered Tons) and divide by the passenger capacity. The Royal Caribbeans Freedom Class at 160,000 tons carries 3600 passengers has a ratio of 44.4 which is exceptional for a mainstream cruise line ship, while the older Sovereign class at 73,000 tons and 2744 passengers is at the low end of the scale at 26.6.

Now, armed with all the information above, the "average cruise ship size" is in the 80-90,000 ton range and the passenger range between 2700 and 3000. This gives the space ratio range of 26-33 on average but look for these numbers to go higher across the board with older ships retiring and the newer ships on the horizon.

1 comment:

Remco said...

Very helpfull this information if you want this site gives a good overview of tonnage / passenger and inside outside cabin ratios

http://www.choosingcruising.co.uk/Cruiseweb/Cruise_Ship_CL.asp