Cruise Ship Cruising Speed

By ,   November 26, 2015 ,   Ships and Lines

How fast is a cruise ship, which is the fastest cruise ship in the world. Read all about the cruise ship speed (average/top cruising speed) which is generally measured in knots, but also in mph/kmh. This page is integrated with our surveys on ship dimensions, ship propulsion/engines,power and our cruise tracker (current positions).

How fast is the fastest cruise ship in the world?

Fastest Cruise Ship Speed - compare how fast are cruise ships in knots, mph, kmhThe Cunard's Transatlantic liner rms Queen Mary 2 weights almost 151,500 tons, with cruising speed of over 29 knots (33,5 mph, or 54 kmh). This unique vessel is the only one currently operational Atlantic ocean liner crossing weekly in luxury and style the huge distance between the Great Britain's maritime capital Southampton and New York City - the world's financial capital.

The QM2 Transatlantic crossing distance is almost 3,000 nautical miles, or about 3,400 statute/normal miles (5,500 km), and this is done in less than 7 days. The most popular of the Cunard's queens has an exterior deck space of 14,200 m2 for passengers to enjoy the "fastest sea ride" ever, and, of course, transparent wind-screens to shield them at the high speeds.

The world's second fastest cruise ship is MS Voyager currently sailing under the name Costa Voyager (aka "Costa Grand Voyager"). She is now operated by Costa Cruises/Costa Crociere, a Carnival's brand), with Carnival Corporation being her rightful owner.

Costa Voyager cruise ship service speed is 28 kn (32 mph - 51,5 kph /also km/h). But there's a trick - this ship weights "merely" 24,400 tons. In comparison, the world's largest cruise ships - the Royal Caribbean's Allure and Oasis (almost 225,300 tons each) sail with an average speed of 20 knots (23 mph / 37 kph) and can go with a "top speed" of 22,5 kn (26 mph / 42 kph).

The world's third fastest cruise ship is the P&O Oriana. In 1997, ms Oriana won the "Golden Cockerel" award for being the line's fastest cruising vessel - accomplishing a maximum cruising speed of 26,2 kn (which is 31 mph or 50 kph).

Cruising Speed

what means ""cruising speed" - definition and information

By definition, the term "cruising speed" signifies the speed for any vehicle (could be cars, ships, aircrafts) and it's usually about a speed somewhat below the maximum (as specified by the manufacturer) that is comfortable, but also economical.

Generally, modern cruise ships don't have to be fast - it's not necessary at all. Instead, the new cruisers' demand is for big vessels (as tonnage and passenger capacity), stable and safe (related to propulsion and generators), comfortable, regular as departures, excitingly thrilling as to onboard activities and amenities, and also alluringly tempting as itineraries. And the latest trend is cruise ships also must be more and more fuel-efficient.

For the bigger ships the optimum cruising speed is 20-22 kn (23 mph / 37 kph). Bigger passenger ships have a large draft (the "invisible" part of the vessel, beneath the waterline), which causes huge resistance and hampers "fast and furious at sea" performances. In return for it, drafts of 23-30 ft (7-9 m) allow smooth rides when traveling even with 25-27 mph (over 40 kph). The vessel's close to top speed cruising is generally used when avoiding storms (especially during the Caribbean summers), during tests, and sometimes when assisting other vessels.

The speed of cruise ships is measured in knots (kn), 1 knot is 1 nautical mile per hour. Cruise help - for the "normal" speed values, multiply knots by 1,15  (mph), or 1,852 (kph). Below, you may compare the avr passenger ship speed in the huge fleets of several big cruise ship companies and lines.

Knot is a nautical term, meaning cruising one hour the distance of one nautical mile. And one nautical mile (by the contemporary world standards) equals 1,15 statue (or "land") miles (5,280 "modern" feet), or 1,852 kilometers. So, to convert the speed values of the word's big and bigger passenger ships (and river boats, and of whatever floats) simply multiply knots by the above constants. Worldwide, the knot measuring is also used in meteorology and air navigation. And for all things "speed" related - follow this Wikipedia link.

Speed in KNSpeed in MPHSpeed in KMH

How fast is a cruise ship (speed comparison by line)

LineMin-Max Tonnage (GT)Min-Max Speed in knots- in miles per hour- in kilometers per hournotes
AIDA38,500 - 71,00019,522,436 
CARNIVAL70,400 - 133,50019,5 - 22,522,4 - 2636 - 42 
Celebrity70,600 - 122,00021,5 - 2425 - 2840 - 45MS Xpedition (2,850GT, 13,5kn
Costa53,000 - 114,50020 - 2323 - 26,537 - 42,5Allegra and Marina are smaller
Crystal51,000 - 68,9002225,341 
Cunard90,000 - 151,40023,7 - 29,327 - 3443,5 - 55RMS Queen Mary 2
Disney83,300 - 124,00022 - 2425,3 - 2841 - 45 
HAL55,500 - 86,80020 - 2223 - 25,337 - 41 
iberoCRUICEROS /iberojet46,000 - 47,00020 - 2823 - 3237 - 51,5MS Grand Voyager
LOUIS11,200 - 40,90017 - 2119,5 - 2431,5 - 38,5 
MSC35,100 - 138,00021 - 2324 - 26,538,5 - 43 
NCL77,100 - 163,00021 - 24,524 - 2838,5 - 45 
Oceania30,300 - 65,00018 - 2021 - 2334 - 37 
P&O30,300 - 113,70018 - 2421 - 2834 - 45 
P&O Australia47,300 - 70,30019,5 - 2222,4 - 25,336 - 41 
Princess30,300 - 115,90018 - 22,521 - 2634 - 42 
Pullmantur33,200 - 73,20018 - 2121 - 2434 - 38,5 
ROYAL CARIBBEAN69,100 - 225,30021 - 2424 - 2838,5 - 45 
Star Cruises3,300 - 75,30016,51930,5 
TUI76,522 - 99,52621,52540 
Un-Cruise Adventures345 - 3,0001011,518,5 

Speed of Cruise Ships in Knots (kn)

The cruise ship top speed is 2-3 knots higher than its service speed, and it's required rarely - in cases of emergencies (to avoid storms or on rescue operations) and during tests. The average speed of cruise ships is about 20-24 knots. But if you really need the details - well, enjoy the data from our table!

Ships NamesYear Built(service) Speed in Knots
Alexander von Humboldt199018
Asia Star199212,5
Asuka II (ex Crystal Harmony) /NYK Line199022
Azamara Journey200018
Azamara Quest200018
Bahamas Celebration198121
Birka Paradise200421
Black Watch197219,5
C. Columbus199718,5
Carnival Breeze201222
Carnival Conquest200219,6
Carnival Destiny199620
Carnival Dream200922,5
Carnival Ecstasy199119,5
Carnival Elation199819,5
Carnival Fantasy199019,5
Carnival Fascination199419,5
Carnival Freedom200719,6
Carnival Glory200322,5
Carnival Imagination199519,5
Carnival Inspiration199619,5
Carnival Legend200222
Carnival Liberty200519,6
Carnival Magic201122,5
Carnival Miracle200422
Carnival Paradise199819,5
Carnival Pride200122
Carnival Sensation199319,5
Carnival Spirit200122
Carnival Splendor200822,5
Carnival Triumph199319,1
Carnival Valor200422,5
Carnival Victory200022,5
Carnival Vista201623
Celebrity Century199521,5
Celebrity Constellation200224
Celebrity Eclipse201023
Celebrity Equinox200923
Celebrity Infinity200124
Celebrity Millennium200024
Celebrity Reflection201224
Celebrity Silhouette201123
Celebrity Solstice200823
Celebrity Summit200124
Celebrity Xpedition200113,5
Clipper Adventurer197717
Clipper Odyssey198917
Costa Atlantica200022
Costa Classica199119,8
Costa Concordia (sank in 2012)200620
Costa Deliziosa201023,6
Costa Diadema201522,5
Costa Fascinosa201220
Costa Favolosa201120
Costa Fortuna200920
Costa Luminosa200323,6
Costa Magica200420
Costa Marina196920
Costa Mediterranea200322
Costa Pacifica200920
Costa neoRomantica199319,8
Costa Serena200720
Costa Victoria199623
Costa Voyager (ex ms Grand Voyager)200028 - the world's second fastest cruise ship
Crystal Serenity200322
Crystal Symphony199522
Cunard ms Queen Elizabeth201023,7
Cunard RMS Queen Mary 2200429,3 - the fastest cruise ship in the world
Cunard ms Queen Victoria200723,7
mv Discovery197221,5
Disney Dream201122
Disney Fantasy201222
Disney Magic199824
Disney Wonder199924
ms Europa199921
ms Europa 2201321
Expedition /GAP197217
ms Explorer /Semester at Sea200228
Freewinds /Maduro Shipping196820
Fuji Maru /Mitsui OSK198920
Hebridean Princess196414
Hebridean Spirit199116
ms Amsterdam200021
ms Eurodam200821,9
ms Koningsdam201624
ms Maasdam199320,3
ms Nieuw Amsterdam201021,9
ms Noordam200622
ms Oosterdam200622
ms Prinsendam198821,8
ms Rotterdam199722,5
ms Ryndam199420,3
ms Statendam199220,3
ms Veendam199620,3
ms Volendam199920,2
ms Westerdam200422
ms Zaandam200020,2
ms Zuiderdam200222
Grand Celebration198721,6
Grand Holiday198521,5
Grand Mistral199919,5
Island Adventure197618,5
Island Escape198218
Island Sky199216
Kristina Katarina198217,5
ms Leisure World196916
Long Jie197221
Louis Cristal199221
Louis Majesty199221
ms Marco Polo196519,5
Mein Schiff 1199621,5
Mein Schiff 2199721,5
Mein Schiff 3201521
Mein Schiff 4201521
mv Minerva199513,5
ms Mona Lisa196620,6
ms Monet197012
MSC Armonia200121
MSC Divina201221
MSC Fantasia200821
MSC Lirica200320,8
MSC Magnifica201023
MSC Meraviglia201721
MSC Musica200723
MSC Opera200421,7
MSC Orchestra200723
MSC Poesia200823
MSC Precioza201324
MSC Sinfonia200220,8
MSC Seaside201721
MSC Splendida200921
National Geographic Endeavour196611,5
National Geographic Explorer198218
Nippon Maru /Mitsui OSK199018
Norwegian Bliss201722
Norwegian Breakaway201322
Norwegian Dawn200224
Norwegian Epic201022,5
Norwegian Escape201522
Norwegian Gem200724
Norwegian Getaway201422
Norwegian Jade200624,6
Norwegian Jewel200524
Norwegian Pearl200624
Norwegian Spirit199824
Norwegian Sky199923
Norwegian Star200124
Norwegian Sun200122,6
NCL Pride of America200521
Ocean Countess197618
OCEANIA Insignia199818
OCEANIA Marina201120
OCEANIA Nautica200018
OCEANIA Regatta199818
OCEANIA Riviera201220
Ola Esmeralda196620
mv Orion200316
P&O Adonia200118
P&O Arcadia200522
P&O Aurora200024
P&O Azura201021,7
P&O Britannia2015?
P&O Oceana200021
P&O Oriana199526,2 - the world's third fastest cruise ship
P&O Ventura200821,7
P&O Pacific Aria199422
P&O Pacific Dawn199119,5
P&O Pacific Eden199322
P&O Pacific Explorer199722
P&O Pacific Jewel199019,5
P&O Pacific Pearl198919,5
ms Paul Gauguin199718
Paul Gauguin mv Tere Moana199814
Caribbean Princess200421,7
Coral Princess200221,5
Crown Princess200621,7
Dawn Princess199721,4
Diamond Princess200422,1
Emerald Princess200721,7
Golden Princess200122,5
Grand Princess199822,5
Island Princess200321,5
Majestic Princess201723
Ocean Princess199918
Pacific Princess199918
Regal Princess201523
Royal Princess201323
Ruby Princess200821,7
Sapphire Princess200422,1
Sea Princess199821
Star Princess200222,5
Sun Princess199621,4
Princess Danae195516
Princess Daphne195517
ms Empress199019,5
ms Horizon199018
ms Sovereign198721
ms Zenith199218
Royal Iris197118
Regent Seven Seas Explorer201620
Regent Seven Seas Mariner200120
Regent Seven Seas Navigator199919,5
Regent Seven Seas Voyager200322
Adventure of the Seas200123
Allure of the Seas201020,2
Anthem of the Seas201522
Brilliance of the Seas200224
Enchantment of the Seas199722
Explorer of the Seas200022
Freedom of the Seas200622
Grandeur of the Seas199622
Harmony of the Seas201620,2
Independence of the Seas200822
Jewel of the Seas200424
Legend of the Seas199524
Liberty of the Seas200722
Majesty of the Seas199221
Mariner of the Seas200322
Navigator of the Seas199222
Oasis of the Seas200920,2
Quantum of the Seas201422
Radiance of the Seas200124
Rhapsody of the Seas199722,3
Serenade of the Seas200324
Splendour of the Seas199624
Vision of the Seas199822,3
Voyager of the Seas199922
Saga Pearl II198120,5
Saga Ruby197321
Salamis Filoxenia197521
Sea Cloud193112
Sea Cloud II200113
Spirit of Adventure198017,5
Seabourn Encore
Seabourn Ovation
Seabourn Legend199219,3
Seabourn Odyssey200919
Seabourn Pride198819,3
Seabourn Quest201119
Seabourn Sojourn201019
Seabourn Spirit198919,3
SeaDream I198417,5
SeaDream II198417,5
Silver Cloud199418
Silver Discoverer198914
Silver Explorer198916
Silver Galapagos199017
Silver Muse201719,8
Silver Shadow200018,5
Silver Whisper200118,5
Silver Spirit200919,5
Silver Wind199418
Royal Clipper200017
Star Clipper199216
Star Flyer199116
MegaStar Aries198916
MegaStar Taurus198916
Star Pisces199021,3
SuperStar Aquarius199321
SuperStar Libra198821,5
SuperStar Virgo199924
ms The World cruise ship200218,5
Thomson Celebration198421
Thomson Discovery199624
Thomson Dream198622,5
Thomson Spirit198321
Safari Endeavour198310
Safari Explorer199810
Safari Quest199210
Safari Voyager19829
Saint Laurent200112
Wilderness Adventurer198410
Voyages of Discovery mv Voyager199018
Voyages to Antiquity mv Aegean Odyssey197318
Wind Spirit198812
Wind Star198612
Wind Surf198914,1
RMS Titanic191221 kn (24 mph, 39 kph)
Titanic 2 (replica)201623.