Modern Cruise Ships vs The Titanic: Illustrated Size Comparison


The Titanic was the largest and most complex cruise ship when she set sail in 1912 but shipbuilding has changed a lot since she set sail.

In this article, we will compare the length, height and tonnage of the Titanic to a variety of modern cruise ships.

Are Modern Cruise Ships Bigger Than The Titanic?

On average modern cruise ships are 20% longer than the Titanic and twice as high. The average Royal Caribbean cruise ship is 325 meters long, 14 decks high and has a gross tonnage of 133,000. In comparison, the Titanic was only 269 meters long, 9 decks high, and had a gross tonnage of 46,000.

The sinking of the Titanic happened over 100 years ago and although she was the largest ship at the time of her launch a lot has changed since. Almost all modern cruise ships are bigger than the Titanic was.

Photo: White Star Line

Cruise Ship Length Comparison

The Titanic was 269 meters long which means that if we were to compare her to the current fleet of Royal Caribbean cruise ships the Titanic would be longer than one ship and shorter than all other ships in the fleet.

The table below shows the Royal Caribbean cruise ship fleet ordered in terms of length with the Titanic in second place.

Cruise ShipLength (Nearest Meter)
Empress of the Seas210m 
*** TITANIC *** * 269m *
Majesty of the Seas270m
Grandeur of the Seas, Rhapsody of The Seas, Vision of The Seas279m
Radiance of the Seas, Brilliant of The Seas, Serenade of The Seas, Jewel of The Seas293m
Enchantment of the Seas301m
Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of The Seas, Adventure of The Seas, Navigator of The Seas, Mariner of The Seas
311m
Freedom of the Sea, Liberty of the Seas, Independence of The Seas338m
Spectrum of The Seas347m 
Quantum of The Seas, Anthem of The Seas, Ovation of The Seas348m
Oasis of the Seas, Allure of The Seas, Harmony of The Seas, Symphony of The Seas
360m +
Average Royal Caribbean Ship Length: 325 meters

The graph below shows the length of Titanic in comparison to the Royal Caribbean fleet. It’s interesting to note that although lengths of cruise ships have increased on average cruise ships aren’t much longer than Titanic was.

The process of having to dock and maneuver cruise ships means that although they are able to increase almost exponentially in height the same can’t be said for length. Modern cruise ships still need to be able to dock in ports that are often quite old.

Titanic Length Comparison Against Royal Caribbean Modern Cruise Ships

Tonnage Comparison

The Titanic had a gross tonnage of 46,000 which is less than all cruise ships in the modern Royal Caribbean cruise ship fleet.

The table below shows Royal Caribbean cruise ships in the order of tonnage with Titanic first as she has the least tonnage. The average tonnage of a Royal Caribbean ship is 133,000 which is almost 3x that of the Titanic.

Cruise ShipTonnage (Nearest 1000)
*** TITANIC **** 46,000 *
Empress of the Seas48,000
Majesty of the Seas73,000
Grandeur of the Seas, Rhapsody of The Seas, Vision of The Seas73,000
Enchantment of the Seas82,000
Radiance of the Seas, Brilliant of The Seas, Serenade of The Seas, Jewel of The Seas90,000
Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of The seas, Adventure of The Seas, Navigator of The Seas, Mariner of The Seas140,000
Freedom of the Sea, Liberty of the Seas, Independence of The Seas156,000
Spectrum of The Seas169,000
Quantum of The Seas, Anthem of The Seas, Ovation of The Seas168,000
Oasis of the Seas, Allure of The Seas, Harmony of The Seas, Symphony of The Seas
225,000+
Average Royal Caribbean Ship Tonnage: 133

The below graph shows the comparison between ships. It’s interesting to note that cruise ships have managed to increase their tonnage despite not increasing length a great deal, this is due to the fact that cruise ships have increased in height dramatically.

Building methods and materials have also improved greatly since Titanic was built which allows ships to be built bigger and faster.

Titanic Weight Comparison Against Royal Caribbean Modern Cruise Ships

Height Comparison

The main way that modern cruise ships are able to be so much larger than the Titanic is because they are so much higher.

The Titanic was built in one piece by riveting large plates together whereas modern cruise ships are built in smaller sections, then loaded into place using large cranes. The modular way that modern cruise ships are built allows them to be built higher faster than using traditional ship building methods.

Cruise ShipNumber of Passenger Decks
*** TITANIC ***9
Empress of the Seas9
Majesty of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, Rhapsody of The Seas, Vision of The Seas, Enchantment of the Seas11
Radiance of the Seas, Brilliant of The Seas, Serenade of The Seas, Jewel of The Seas12
Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of The seas, Adventure of The Seas, Navigator of The Seas, Mariner of The Seas, Freedom of the Sea, Liberty of the Seas, Independence of The Seas14
Spectrum of The Seas, Quantum of The Seas, Anthem of The Seas, Ovation of The Seas16
Oasis of the Seas, Allure of The Seas, Harmony of The Seas, Symphony of The Seas
18
Average Royal Caribbean Passenger Decks: 14
Royal Caribbean Harmony Of The Seas Children

The largest cruise ship for Royal Caribbean has double the number of passenger decks as the Titanic had.

For the purpose of this comparison the decks mentioned are accessible passenger decks, the ships may have more decks which are off limits to guests.

titanic deck comparison against modern cruise ships

Cunard Comparison

Comparing the Titanic to the current Cunard fleet also shows that the Titanic was smaller and lighter than modern Cunard ships.

The same goes for the majority of mainstream cruise lines.

TitanicQueen ElizabethQueen VictoriaQueen Mary 2
Length269m314m294m345m
Gross Tonnage46,00083,673 90,049149,215
Decks9121214
Titanic Comparison to Current Cunard Fleet
Diagram: Yzmo / Maxrossomachin / CC BY-SA

The above diagram shows the Titanic (in black) in comparison to the Queen Mary 2 mentioned above. For reference a person, car, bus and plane are also shown.

Lifeboat Comparisons

The sinking of the Titanic in 1912 brought about many changes, the most famous of which being the number of lifeboats required by a ship. In 1914 The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) was created to provide guidelines that ships must follow.

Modern cruise ships must have the following:

  • Enclosed of partially enclosed lifeboats for 50% of the ships capacity on each side (totally 100%).
  • Life rafts that hold at least 25% of the ships capacity.

The Titanic actually had space on board to carry many wooden lifeboats but it was decided that only 16 lifeboats and 4 collapsable life rafts would be enough.

Had the maximum amount of wooden lifeboats that the Titanic could hold had been carried there would have been more than enough space for all passengers and crew of the Titanic.

For comparison, the Queen Mary 2 mentioned above has 22 life boats (capacity of 150), 2 rescue boats (capacity of 6) and 60 life rafts each (capacity of 37).

Difference in Function

The Titanic wasn’t ever designed to be a cruise ship, she is an Ocean Liner and there are many differences between the two. To find out more about the differences in design and function, check out the post below:

To Conclude:

Changes in shipbuilding have allowed modern cruise ships to far surpass the height and tonnage of the Titanic. Although some small modern-day cruise ships are a similar size to the Titanic the majority of ships are much larger with some being 3x as large.

Wondering how big modern cruise ships are? My friend and fellow blogger Jenni has the answers:

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Emma Le Teace

Hey! I'm Emma. A cruise blogger, YouTuber and founder of the 'Cruising Isn't Just For Old People' Facebook community and website. You can learn more here: About Me.

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