We have categorised large cruise ships as those carrying 2,000 to 3,000 passengers of which there are around 86 vessels in service around the world. Large cruise ships began to be built in the 1990s through to beginning of this Millennium as the cruise industry was booming with more demand and bigger and bigger ships being built.
The average large ship carries 2,360 passengers and will typically carry 2.4 passengers to every crew member with an average space ratio of 33 (cubic feet) ranging from 29 for Norwegian Sky to 49 for Cunard’s Queen Mary II. A space ratio gives you a flavour of how much enclosed public space there is on a ship by dividing the Gross tonnage of a ships by the number of passengers. So a ship size of 90,000 gross tonnage with 3,000 passengers would have a space ratio of 30.
The facilities on a large ship will be quite varied but with passengers at 2,000-3,000, the numbers are not quite so overwhelming as on a Resort ship but the facilities will not be as good. A large ship is likely to be relatively new – perhaps 10 to 15 years old - and there will be plenty of affordable cabins with balconies, but like their larger cousins, the cabins will be relatively small, with a selection of luxury suites, allowing for plenty of public space.
For dining, the options from casual to formal will be offered in a number of restaurants and service may be variable and you may have to queue for buffets at peak times. Remember, there are a range of brands with these ships including some with a more premium feel and personal service. The demographic on a large ship may be slightly more diverse with families as well as older passengers. There will be casinos, bars and nightclubs as well as theatres, luxury gyms and spas.
There are less limitations on itineraries due to the same size restrictions that Resort ships can have and therefore, large ships are a really good choice for people looking for a mix of on-board facilities and entertainment combined with a more destination focused holiday.
Premium brands including most of Celebrity’s ships are in this category together with some of Princess Cruises ships. You will also find entertainment brands with quite a few Carnival ships as well as the older Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean ships. You will also find Cunard’s Queen Mary II here.