Timeline of largest passenger ships

This is a timeline list of the world's largest passenger ship, ranked initially by gross register tonnage and subsequently by gross tonnage. The "title held" years reflect the largest extant passenger ship in the world at that time. If a given ship was superseded by another, scrapped, or lost at sea then a new one is listed as a successor. Some records for tonnage outlived the ships that set them - notably the SS Great Eastern, and RMS Queen Elizabeth. Ships built before 1831 are not included as little is known about their status as "largest" passenger ships. The race of nations to build the biggest and most luxurious ships in the world did not take off until the mid to late-19th century.

Timeline

19th century

Year completed Ship Tonnage Length Title held Image
1831 SS Royal William 1,370 GRT[1] 49 m (160 ft) 1831 – 1839[2]
1837 SS Great Western 1,340 GRT(as built)
1,700 GRT[3](post-1839)
76.8 m (252 ft) 1839[4]
1839 SS British Queen 1,850 GRT[5] 75 m (245 ft) 1839 – 1840[6][7]
1841 – 1843
1840 SS President 2,366 GRT[8] 74 m (243 ft) 1840 – 1841[9]
(Lost at sea in 1841)
1843[lower-alpha 1] SS Great Britain 3,270 GRT[10] 98 m (322 ft) 1843 – 1853[11]
1853[12] SS Atrato 3,466 GRT[13] 110 m (350 ft) 1853 – 1858[14][lower-alpha 2]
1858 SS Great Eastern 18,915 GRT[15] 211 m (692 ft) 1858 – c. 1888
(Scrapped)[lower-alpha 3]
1888 SS City of New York 10,499 GRT[18] 170 m (560 ft) c. 1888 – 1893[19]
1893 RMS Campania
RMS Lucania[lower-alpha 4]
12,950 GRT[20] 190 m (622 ft) 1893 – 1897[21]
1897 SS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse 14,349 GRT[22] 200 m (655 ft) 1897 – 1899[23]
1899 RMS Oceanic 17,272 GRT[24] 215 m (704 ft) 1899 – 1901[25]

20th century

Date completed Ship Tonnage Length Title held Image
11 July 1901 RMS Celtic 20,904 GRT[26] 214 m (701 ft) 1901 – 1903
31 January 1903 RMS Cedric 21,073 GRT 210 m (700 ft) 1903 – 1904
23 June 1904 RMS Baltic 23,876 GRT 222 m (729 ft) 1904 – 1906
10 May 1906
(entered service)
SS Kaiserin Auguste Victoria 24,581 GRT 206.5 m (677.5 ft) 1906 – 1907
7 September 1907
(entered service)
RMS Lusitania 31,550 GRT 240 m (787 ft) 1907
7 November 1907 RMS Mauretania 31,938 GRT 240 m (790 ft) 1907
31 May 1911 RMS Olympic 45,324 GRT 269.0 m (882.5 ft) 1911 – 1912
1912 – 1913
2 April 1912 RMS Titanic 46,328 GRT 269.1 m (882.9 ft) 1912
(Sank)
June 1913 SS Imperator 52,117 GRT 276 m (906 ft) 1913 – 1914
14 May 1914
(entered service)
SS Vaterland 54,282 GRT 290 m (950 ft) 1914 – 1922
12 May 1922
(entered service)
RMS Majestic 56,551 GRT 291 m (956 ft) 1922 – 1935
29 May 1935
(entered service)
SS Normandie 79,280 GRT (as built)
83,404 GRT (post-1936)[lower-alpha 5]
314 m (1,029 ft) 1935 – 1936
1936 – 1946
(Destroyed by fire)
27 May 1936
(entered service)
RMS Queen Mary 80,774 GRT 310.7 m (1,019.4 ft) 1936
16 October 1946
(entered service)
RMS Queen Elizabeth 83,673 GRT 314 m (1,031 ft) 1946 – 1972
(Destroyed by fire)
3 February 1962
(entered service)
SS France (1962-1980)
SS Norway (post-1980)
66,343 GRT(as built)
76,049 GT (post-1990)[lower-alpha 6]
315 m (1,035 ft) 1972 – 1987
1990 – 1995
18 December 1987 MS Sovereign of the Seas 73,192 GT 270 m (880 ft) 1987 – 1990
(Surpassed by SS Norway)
26 June 1995 Sun Princess 77,499 GT 261 m (857 ft) 1995 – 1996
24 November 1996
(entered service)
Carnival Destiny 101,353 GT 272 m (893 ft) 1996 – 1998
27 May 1998
(entered service)
Grand Princess 109,000 GT 290 m (951 ft) 1998 – 1999
29 October 1999 Voyager of the Seas 137,276 GT 310 m (1,020 ft) 1999 – 2000
28 September 2000 Explorer of the Seas 137,308 GT 310 m (1,020 ft) 2000 – 2002

21st century

Date completed Ship Gross tonnage Length Title held Image
18 November 2002 Navigator of the Seas 139,570 GT 311 m (1,020 ft) 2002 – 2003
22 December 2003 RMS Queen Mary 2 148,528 GT 345.03 m (1,132.0 ft) 2003 – 2006
24 April 2006 MS Freedom of the Seas 154,407 GT[27] 338.774 m (1,111.46 ft) 2006 – 2007[lower-alpha 7]
19 May 2007 Liberty of the Seas 155,889 GT[28] 338.92 m (1,111.9 ft) 2007 – 2009
28 October 2009 Oasis of the Seas 225,282 GT 360 m (1,180 ft) 2009 – 2016[lower-alpha 8]
13 May 2016 Harmony of the Seas 227,700 GT 362.12 m (1,188.1 ft) 2016 – 2018
23 March 2018 Symphony of the Seas 228,081 GT 361.011 m (1,184.42 ft) 2019[lower-alpha 9]

See also

Notes

  1. Sources have the "Great Britain" as the "world's largest" ship from her launch year.
  2. While the Great Republic was concurrently larger (at 4,555 GRT), she was not a passenger ship.
  3. "Great Eastern" was sold for scrap in 1888 but the breaking up was not completed until 1891.[16][17]
  4. The Campania and Lucania had the same GRT.
  5. The tonnage was increased on Normandie in 1936 in order to reclaim the title of "largest ship" from the Queen Mary.
  6. In 1990, the ship's new owner refurbished the former ocean liner into a cruise ship, increasing tonnage. In a second refurbishment in 1990, the tonnage was increased again to 76,049 GT.
  7. "Freedom of the Seas" never held the title of "largest passenger ship" after 2007. While she was later extended to match her sister ship "Liberty of the Seas" (in 2015), by this time the title had passed on to "Oasis of the Seas".
  8. Matched by sister ship Allure of the Seas (2010)[29][30]
  9. This record is expected to be broken sometime in 2021 by another "Oasis class" ship.

References

  1. Boileau, John (2006). Samuel Cunard: Nova Scotia's Master of the North Atlantic. Formac Publishing Company Limited. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-88780-712-1.
  2. John Wilton Cuninghame Haldane (1905). Life as an engineer: its lights, shades and prospects. E. & F. N. Spon. p. 27.
  3. Freeman Hunt. Merchants' Magazine and Commercial Review, Volume 10. New York City: 142 Fulton Street. p. 383.
  4. Anchor Line (1872). A Souvenir of the Anchor Line Agents Excursion on the Steamer California, August 14, 1872. D. Appleton & Company. p. 87.
  5. Corlett, Ewan (1975). The Iron Ship: the Story of Brunel's ss Great Britain. Conway.
  6. Hereward Philip Spratt (1951). Transatlantic Paddle Steamers. Brown, Son & Ferguson. p. 36. At the time of her launch, the "British Queen" was the largest vessel afloat
  7. International Marine Engineering, Volume 15. Simmons-Boardman Publishing Company. 1910. p. 418.
  8. Gerhard Falk (2013). Twelve Inventions which Changed America: The Influence of Technology on American Culture. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 8.
  9. Robinson, Robb (January 2009). "The Cookman Story: Reform in Hull and the United States" (PDF). FAR HORIZONS – to the ends of the Earth. Maritime Historical Studies Centre, University of Hull. Retrieved 2009-12-27. In March 1841 the liner, SS President, then reputedly the largest steamship in the world, disappeared without trace in the vast tracts of the still wintry Atlantic, sometime after leaving New York en route for Liverpool. The SS President was the first steamship to founder on the transatlantic run and there was universal lamentation for the 136 crew and passengers.
  10. William L. Garrison & David M. Levinson (2005). The Transportation Experience: Policy, Planning, and Deployment. Oxford University Press. p. 210.
  11. Wynford Davies (2012). SS Great Britain: Transatlantic Liner 1843. Seaforth Publishing. p. 10.
  12. "Atrato (1013926)". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  13. "Atrato". clydeships.co.uk. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  14. “The” Illustrated London News. Elm House. 1853. p. 352.
  15. Dawson, Philip S. (2005). The Liner. Chrysalis Books. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-85177-938-6.
  16. Gillian Dale (2005). BTEC National Travel and Tourism. Heinemann. p. 2.
  17. Frank Braynard & Robert Hudson Westover (2002). S.S. United States. Turner Publishing Company. p. 13.
  18. "City of New York". clydeships.co.uk. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  19. "S/S City of New York (3), Inman Line". www.norwayheritage.com. Retrieved September 18, 2019. At the time of her launch the City of New York was the largest passenger steamer afloat.
  20. Mark Chirnside (2015). RMS Olympic: Titanic's Sister. The History Press. p. 9.
  21. Neil McCart (1990). Atlantic Liners of the Cunard Line: From 1884 to the Present Day. Stephens. p. 22.
  22. Congressional Edition, Volume 5796. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1909. p. 114.
  23. Marine Engineering/log, Volume 1. Simmons-Boardman Publishing Company. 1897.
  24. William H. Miller (2001). Picture History of British Ocean Liners, 1900 to the Present. Courier Corporation. p. 8.
  25. "R.M.S. Oceanic (II)". Jeff Newman. Retrieved 2010-01-18.
  26. "Celtic (1113476)". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  27. "2016-2017 Royal Caribbean Fleet Guide" (PDF). Royal Caribbean International. 26 February 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  28. "Liberty of the Seas (26180)". DNV GL Vessel Register. Det Norske Veritas. Retrieved 13 May 2007.
  29. "Oasis Of The Seas / Allure of the Seas". Royal Caribbean International. 2010. Archived from the original on 20 June 2010. Retrieved 11 June 2010.
  30. "Is a Small Difference a Big Deal?". Royal Caribbean International. 2010. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
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