The Titanic and The Queen Mary are two of the world’s best-known ships. When the Titanic was built in 1912 she was the largest and most technologically advanced ship of her day. The Queen Mary was built later in 1936 and is now a floating hotel in Long Beach, California.
I have spent the night on board the Queen Mary and she’s every bit as grand as you’d expect.
Although both ships set sail less than 30 years apart there are some considerable differences between the two.
How did the Titanic Compare to the Queen Mary?
The Queen Mary is 15% longer than the Titanic and 28% wider. She has over three times the horsepower and was able to travel 39% faster than the Titanic. The Queen Mary has an additional 3 passenger decks compared to the Titanic.
Improvements in shipbuilding and design meant that not only could shipbuilders build larger ships but also ships that could sail faster.
Onboard safety also improved greatly with many changes being implemented after the sinking of the Titanic.
Queen Mary vs Titanic – Length Comparison
|Cruise Ship||Length (Meters)||Length (Feet)|
The Queen Mary is 15% longer than the Titanic. This is based on the length of the cruise ship as parallel to the waterline.
Some parts of the ship do technically protrude further than at the waterline, such as the aft section of Titanic.
If you were to compare the length of the Titanic and Queen Mary to the current cruise ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet, the Titanic would be the shortest.
The Queen Mary had a length similar to that of the Voyager-class cruise ships for Royal Caribbean, built between 1999-2003.
Queen Mary vs Titanic – Width (Beam) Comparison
|Cruise Ship||Width (Meters)||Width (Feet)|
The Queen Mary is 28% wider than the Titanic.
The beam of a cruise ship is the width of the cruise ship at the widest point. It’s usually measured where the hull meets the waterline.
Queen Mary vs Titanic – Height and Deck Comparison
|Cruise Ship||Height (Meters)||Height (Feet)||Decks|
The Queen Mary was only 3% taller than the Titanic but she included an additional 3 passenger decks. The largest cruise ship currently in operation is 72 meters (238 feet) high which is 37% taller than the Titanic.
Building tall cruise ships limits the destinations which a cruise ship can travel to. Some large modern cruise ships are unable to sail to some ports due to bridges.
Queen Mary vs Titanic – Gross Tonnage Comparison
|Cruise Ship||Gross Tonnage|
The Queen Mary had almost double the gross tonnage of the Titanic.
The gross tonnage of the Titanic is smaller than any modern cruise ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet but the gross tonnage of the Queen Mary is similar to that of Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas.
Queen Mary vs Titanic – Horsepower and Speed Comparison
A ship’s horsepower is the amount of power provided by the engines, one horsepower is equivalent to 746 Watts.
|Cruise Ship||Horsepower||Maximum Speed|
|Titanic||46,000||23 knots (26 MPH)|
|Queen Mary||160,000||32 knots (37 MPH)|
The Titanic had three engines. Two four-cylinder steam engines and one steam turbine. Each steam engine provided 15,000 horsepower and the steam turbine provided 16,000.
The Queen Mary had four boiler rooms and four turbines in two separate engine rooms. The combined horsepower was 160,000 which gave the Queen Mary 3x as much power as the Titanic.
This meant that the Queen Mary was able to sail 39% faster than the Titanic at full speed.
In reality the Queen Mary usually sailed at around 29 knots (32 MPH) and the Titanic sailed at a little over 21 knots (24 MPH).
Modern cruise ships still usually have a maximum speed of between 25-30 knots.
Similarities Between the Queen Mary and The Titanic
Both Ships Were Made From Riveted Steel
Riveting is the process of joining together pieces of metal using metal pins called rivets. Riveting has mostly been replaced by welding in modern shipbuilding.
- The Titanic used approx 3 million rivets
- The Queen Mary used approx 10 million rivets
It has been confirmed since Titanic’s creation that the builders of the Titanic struggled to find good quality rivets and men to do the riveting.
Riveting by hand is a difficult and time-consuming job. Many people question whether the poor quality of Titanic’s rivets contributed to her sinking.
Both Ships Had 3 Main Anchors
The Titanic had 3 primary anchors, one on the left, one on the right and one in the center. The ship also had two kedging anchors (lighter anchors).
The Queen Mary had 3 anchors.
Both Ships Had 3 Functioning Funnels
The Queen Mary has 3 obvious funnels on her top deck. The Titanic looks as though she had 4 but in reality one of these is fake.
At the time of Titanic’s creation many people believed that the more funnels a ship had the faster and more powerful she was, a fake funnel was added for this reason. It’s also believed that even numbers of funnels was preferred.
Queen Mary vs Titanic – Ship Ownership
The Titanic was built for a company called White Star Line. The White Star Line merged with Cunard Line in 1934 to form the Cunard-White Star Line. The Queen Mary was then built for the Cunard-White Star Line.
Cunard owned 62% of the company and White Star Line 38%. Cunard bought out White Star Line in 1949 creating the Cunard brand that we know and love today.
Is The Queen Mary The Sister Ship to The Titanic?
The Queen Mary is not the sister ship to the Titanic. She was built for Cunard line 24 years after the Titanic was launched. Cunard Line was part-owned by the White Star Line, the company which built the Titanic so the Queen Mary could be described as a much younger relative, possibly a child.
To learn more about how Titanic compares to modern cruise ships, including how the ship compares to the Royal Caribbean and Cunard fleets check out this post:
Was Titanic Filmed on the Queen Mary?
The movie Titanic was not filmed on the Queen Mary. The majority of the film was produced in California in a film studio called Baja studios. Baja studios have some of the world’s largest stages and tanks that were needed for the production.
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