Cruise Ship Cruising Speed

   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/kph. 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?

Cunard Line's Transatlantic liner RMS Queen Mary 2 (QM2) weighs almost 151,500 tons, with a cruising speed of 29 knots (33,5 mph / 54 kph). This unique vessel is the only currently operational Atlantic Ocean liner crossing weekly the huge distance between Southampton (Great Britain's maritime capital) and NYC New York USA (world's financial capital). The below photo shows an engine room telegraph (aka engine order telegraph or Chadburn). This device was used on older ships and submarines for communication between Navigation Bridge and Engine Room, where crew powered the vessel at certain (fixed) speeds.

Cruise Ship Speed - CruiseMapper

QM2's Transatlantic crossing distance is almost 3,000 nautical miles, or ~3,400 statutes/normal miles (5,500 km), and this is done in less than 7 days. The world's most famous ocean liner (maybe after RMS Titanic) has an exterior deck space of 14,200 m2 for passengers to enjoy the "fastest sea ride" ever, and, of course, transparent windscreens to shield them at the high speeds.

The world's second-fastest cruise ship is MS Voyager (last named Costa Voyager), now owned and operated by a Chinese company. Liner's service speed is 28 Kn (32 mph - 51,5 kph). But there's a trick - this vessel weights just 24,400 tons. In comparison, the world's largest cruise ships - Royal Caribbean's Oasis-Class (nearly 225,300 tons each) cruise with an average speed of 20 knots (23 mph / 37 kph) and can go with "top speed" 22,5 Kn (26 mph / 42 kph).

The world's third-fastest cruise ship is P&O Oriana (now Piano Land). In 1997, it won the "Golden Cockerel" award for being the company's fastest vessel - accomplishing a maximum cruising speed of 26,2 Kn (31 mph / 50 kph).

Cruising Speed

By definition, the term "cruising speed" signifies the speed for any vehicle (could be cars, ships, aircraft) 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 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 average passenger ship speed in the huge fleets of several big cruise ship companies and lines.

The 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 (6,080 "modern" feet) or 1,852 kilometers. So, to convert the speed values of ships (and riverboats, and of whatever floats) simply multiply knots by the above constants. Worldwide, the knot speed measuring is also used in meteorology and air navigation.

Cruise ship speed (knots to mph/kph conversion)

Speed in KNSpeed in MPHSpeed in KPH

Speed of Cruise Ships in Knots (Kn), Miles per hour (mph) and Kilometres per hour (kph)

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!

Ship nameYear BuiltSpeed in KnotsSpeed in KilometersSpeed in Miles
AIDAaura200320 kn37 kph23 mph
AIDAbella200822 kn41 kph25 mph
AIDAblu201022 kn41 kph25 mph
AIDAcara199620 kn37 kph23 mph
AIDAdiva200722 kn41 kph25 mph
AIDAluna200922 kn41 kph25 mph
AIDAmar201221 kn39 kph24 mph
AIDAmira199920 kn37 kph23 mph
AIDAnova201823 kn43 kph26 mph
AIDAperla201722 kn41 kph25 mph
AIDAprima201622 kn41 kph25 mph
AIDAsol201121 kn39 kph24 mph
AIDAstella201321 kn39 kph24 mph
AIDAvita200221 kn39 kph24 mph
American Glory200213 kn24 kph15 mph
American Spirit200414 kn26 kph16 mph
American Star200714 kn26 kph16 mph
American Harmony / Song / Jazz / Melody2019+12 kn22 kph14 mph
Queen of the West199512 kn22 kph14 mph
Arosa ships (riverboats)-12 kn22 kph14 mph
Azamara Journey200018 kn33 kph21 mph
Azamara Pursuit200118 kn33 kph21 mph
Azamara Quest200018 kn33 kph21 mph
Grand Celebration198719 kn35 kph22 mph
Grand Classica199120 kn37 kph23 mph
Carnival Breeze201223 kn43 kph26 mph
Carnival Conquest200223 kn43 kph26 mph
Carnival Dream200923 kn43 kph26 mph
Carnival Ecstasy199121 kn39 kph24 mph
Carnival Elation199821 kn39 kph24 mph
Carnival Fantasy199021 kn39 kph24 mph
Carnival Fascination199421 kn39 kph24 mph
Carnival Freedom200722 kn41 kph25 mph
Carnival Glory200323 kn43 kph26 mph
Carnival Horizon201823 kn43 kph26 mph
Carnival Imagination199521 kn39 kph24 mph
Carnival Inspiration199621 kn39 kph24 mph
Carnival Legend200222 kn41 kph25 mph
Carnival Liberty200523 kn43 kph26 mph
Carnival Magic201123 kn43 kph26 mph
Carnival Miracle200422 kn41 kph25 mph
Carnival Paradise199821 kn39 kph24 mph
Carnival Pride200122 kn41 kph25 mph
Carnival Sensation199322 kn41 kph25 mph
Carnival Spirit200122 kn41 kph25 mph
Carnival Splendor200821 kn39 kph24 mph
Carnival Sunshine199623 kn43 kph26 mph
Carnival Triumph199921 kn39 kph24 mph
Carnival Valor200422 kn41 kph25 mph
Carnival Victory200023 kn43 kph26 mph
Carnival Vista201623 kn43 kph26 mph
Celebrity Constellation200224 kn44 kph28 mph
Celebrity Eclipse201024 kn44 kph28 mph
Celebrity Edge201822 kn41 kph25 mph
Celebrity Equinox200924 kn44 kph28 mph
Celebrity Infinity200124 kn44 kph28 mph
Celebrity Millennium200024 kn44 kph28 mph
Celebrity Reflection201224 kn44 kph28 mph
Celebrity Silhouette201122 kn41 kph25 mph
Celebrity Solstice200824 kn44 kph28 mph
Celebrity Summit200124 kn44 kph28 mph
Celebrity Xpedition200117 kn31 kph20 mph
Celebrity Xperience200211 kn20 kph13 mph
Celebrity Xploration200710 kn19 kph12 mph
Celestyal Crystal198021 kn39 kph24 mph
Celestyal Majesty199221 kn39 kph24 mph
Celestyal Nefeli199219 kn35 kph22 mph
Celestyal Olympia198221 kn39 kph24 mph
Louis Aura196820 kn37 kph23 mph
L'Austral201116 kn30 kph18 mph
Le Boreal201016 kn30 kph18 mph
Le Bougainville201918 kn33 kph21 mph
Le Champlain201818 kn33 kph21 mph
Le Laperouse201818 kn33 kph21 mph
Le Lyrial201516 kn30 kph18 mph
Le Ponant199114 kn26 kph16 mph
Le Soleal201316 kn30 kph18 mph
Costa Atlantica200022 kn41 kph25 mph
Costa Deliziosa201024 kn44 kph28 mph
Costa Diadema201422 kn41 kph25 mph
Costa Fascinosa201222 kn41 kph25 mph
Costa Favolosa201122 kn41 kph25 mph
Costa Fortuna200320 kn37 kph23 mph
Costa Luminosa200923 kn43 kph26 mph
Costa Magica200420 kn37 kph23 mph
Costa Mediterranea200324 kn44 kph28 mph
Costa neoRiviera199920 kn37 kph23 mph
Costa neoRomantica199319 kn35 kph22 mph
Costa Pacifica200923 kn43 kph26 mph
Costa Serena200720 kn37 kph23 mph
Costa Smeralda201923 kn43 kph26 mph
Costa Venezia201923 kn43 kph26 mph
Costa Victoria199623 kn43 kph26 mph
Astor198718 kn33 kph21 mph
Astoria194819 kn35 kph22 mph
Columbus198922 kn41 kph25 mph
Magellan198521 kn39 kph24 mph
Marco Polo196521 kn39 kph24 mph
Crystal Esprit199116 kn30 kph18 mph
Crystal Serenity200322 kn41 kph25 mph
Crystal Symphony199521 kn39 kph24 mph
Queen Elizabeth201024 kn44 kph28 mph
Queen Mary 2200430 kn56 kph35 mph
Queen Victoria200724 kn44 kph28 mph
Disney Dream201022 kn41 kph25 mph
Disney Fantasy201222 kn41 kph25 mph
Disney Magic199822 kn41 kph25 mph
Disney Wonder199922 kn41 kph25 mph
Genting Dream201623 kn43 kph26 mph
World Dream201724 kn44 kph28 mph
Balmoral198823 kn43 kph26 mph
Black Watch197219 kn35 kph22 mph
Boudicca197319 kn35 kph22 mph
Braemar199319 kn35 kph22 mph
Hanseatic Inspiration201916 kn30 kph18 mph
Hanseatic Nature201916 kn30 kph18 mph
MS Bremen199016 kn30 kph18 mph
ms Europa199921 kn39 kph24 mph
ms Europa 2201321 kn39 kph24 mph
ms Amsterdam200025 kn46 kph29 mph
ms Eurodam200822 kn41 kph25 mph
ms Koningsdam201624 kn44 kph28 mph
ms Maasdam199322 kn41 kph25 mph
ms Nieuw Amsterdam201024 kn44 kph28 mph
ms Nieuw Statendam201824 kn44 kph28 mph
ms Noordam200624 kn44 kph28 mph
ms Oosterdam200324 kn44 kph28 mph
ms Prinsendam198822 kn41 kph25 mph
ms Rotterdam199725 kn46 kph29 mph
ms Veendam199621 kn39 kph24 mph
ms Volendam199923 kn43 kph26 mph
ms Westerdam200422 kn41 kph25 mph
ms Zaandam200023 kn43 kph26 mph
ms Zuiderdam200224 kn44 kph28 mph
MS Finnmarken200218 kn33 kph21 mph
MS Fram200716 kn30 kph18 mph
MS Fridtjof Nansen202013 kn24 kph15 mph
MS Kong Harald199318 kn33 kph21 mph
MS Lofoten196417 kn31 kph20 mph
MS Midnatsol200318 kn33 kph21 mph
MS Nordkapp199615 kn28 kph17 mph
MS Nordlys199415 kn28 kph17 mph
MS Nordnorge199719 kn35 kph22 mph
MS Nordstjernen195615 kn28 kph17 mph
MS Polarlys199616 kn30 kph18 mph
MS Richard With199315 kn28 kph17 mph
MS Roald Amundsen201913 kn24 kph15 mph
MS Spitsbergen200917 kn31 kph20 mph
MS Trollfjord200217 kn31 kph20 mph
MS Vesteralen198317 kn31 kph20 mph
50 Let Pobedy icebreaker200721 kn39 kph24 mph
Akademik Ioffe icebreaker198915 kn28 kph17 mph
Polaris icebreaker201617 kn31 kph20 mph
Rossiya icebreaker198521 kn39 kph24 mph
Sankt Peterburg icebreaker200917 kn31 kph20 mph
Sevmorput icebreaker198821 kn39 kph24 mph
Sovetskiy Soyuz icebreaker199021 kn39 kph24 mph
Viktor Chernomyrdin icebreaker201817 kn31 kph20 mph
Vitus Bering icebreaker201215 kn28 kph17 mph
Vladivostok icebreaker201517 kn31 kph20 mph
Yamal icebreaker199222 kn41 kph25 mph
National Geographic Endeavour196614 kn26 kph16 mph
National Geographic Endeavour II200512 kn22 kph14 mph
National Geographic Explorer198218 kn33 kph21 mph
National Geographic Islander199514 kn26 kph16 mph
National Geographic Orion200315 kn28 kph17 mph
National Geographic Quest201712 kn22 kph14 mph
National Geographic Sea Bird198210 kn19 kph12 mph
National Geographic Sea Lion198210 kn19 kph12 mph
Marella Celebration198421 kn39 kph24 mph
Marella Discovery199624 kn44 kph28 mph
Marella Discovery 2199524 kn44 kph28 mph
Marella Dream198620 kn37 kph23 mph
Marella Explorer199622 kn41 kph25 mph
Marella Explorer 2199722 kn41 kph25 mph
Thomson Spirit198321 kn39 kph24 mph
MSC Armonia200121 kn39 kph24 mph
MSC Bellissima201923 kn43 kph26 mph
MSC Divina201224 kn44 kph28 mph
MSC Fantasia200823 kn43 kph26 mph
MSC Lirica200322 kn41 kph25 mph
MSC Magnifica201023 kn43 kph26 mph
MSC Meraviglia201723 kn43 kph26 mph
MSC Musica200623 kn43 kph26 mph
MSC Opera200422 kn41 kph25 mph
MSC Orchestra200723 kn43 kph26 mph
MSC Poesia200823 kn43 kph26 mph
MSC Preziosa201323 kn43 kph26 mph
MSC Seaside201721 kn39 kph24 mph
MSC Seaview201821 kn39 kph24 mph
MSC Sinfonia200221 kn39 kph24 mph
MSC Splendida200923 kn43 kph26 mph
Norwegian Bliss201823 kn43 kph26 mph
Norwegian Breakaway201322 kn41 kph25 mph
Norwegian Dawn200225 kn46 kph29 mph
Norwegian Epic201023 kn43 kph26 mph
Norwegian Escape201523 kn43 kph26 mph
Norwegian Gem200724 kn44 kph28 mph
Norwegian Getaway201422 kn41 kph25 mph
Norwegian Jade200625 kn46 kph29 mph
Norwegian Jewel200525 kn46 kph29 mph
Norwegian Joy201723 kn43 kph26 mph
Norwegian Pearl200625 kn46 kph29 mph
Norwegian Sky199923 kn43 kph26 mph
Norwegian Spirit199824 kn44 kph28 mph
Norwegian Star200125 kn46 kph29 mph
Norwegian Sun200123 kn43 kph26 mph
Pride of America200522 kn41 kph25 mph
Oceania Insignia199818 kn33 kph21 mph
Oceania Marina201120 kn37 kph23 mph
Oceania Nautica200018 kn33 kph21 mph
Oceania Regatta199818 kn33 kph21 mph
Oceania Riviera201220 kn37 kph23 mph
Oceania Sirena199920 kn37 kph23 mph
Arcadia200522 kn41 kph25 mph
Aurora200024 kn44 kph28 mph
Azura201024 kn44 kph28 mph
Britannia201522 kn41 kph25 mph
Oceana200021 kn39 kph24 mph
Oriana199526 kn48 kph30 mph
Pacific Aria199420 kn37 kph23 mph
Pacific Dawn199120 kn37 kph23 mph
Pacific Eden199322 kn41 kph25 mph
Pacific Explorer199723 kn43 kph26 mph
Pacific Jewel199023 kn43 kph26 mph
Ventura200824 kn44 kph28 mph
Albatros197319 kn35 kph22 mph
Amadea199121 kn39 kph24 mph
Artania198422 kn41 kph25 mph
MS Deutschland199819 kn35 kph22 mph
Caribbean Princess200421 kn39 kph24 mph
Coral Princess200222 kn41 kph25 mph
Crown Princess200623 kn43 kph26 mph
Diamond Princess200423 kn43 kph26 mph
Emerald Princess200722 kn41 kph25 mph
Golden Princess200124 kn44 kph28 mph
Grand Princess199824 kn44 kph28 mph
Island Princess200321 kn39 kph24 mph
Majestic Princess201723 kn43 kph26 mph
Pacific Princess199918 kn33 kph21 mph
Regal Princess201423 kn43 kph26 mph
Royal Princess201322 kn41 kph25 mph
Ruby Princess200823 kn43 kph26 mph
Sapphire Princess200422 kn41 kph25 mph
Sea Princess199822 kn41 kph25 mph
Sky Princess201923 kn43 kph26 mph
Star Princess200224 kn44 kph28 mph
Sun Princess199522 kn41 kph25 mph
Pullmantur Horizon199022 kn41 kph25 mph
Pullmantur Monarch199122 kn41 kph25 mph
Pullmantur Sovereign198722 kn41 kph25 mph
Pullmantur Zenith199221 kn39 kph24 mph
Island Sky199212 kn22 kph14 mph
MV Sea Spirit199115 kn28 kph17 mph
Ocean Adventurer197513 kn24 kph15 mph
Ocean Atlantic198615 kn28 kph17 mph
Ocean Diamond197416 kn30 kph18 mph
Ocean Endeavour198216 kn30 kph18 mph
Ocean Nova199212 kn22 kph14 mph
Seven Seas Explorer201622 kn41 kph25 mph
Seven Seas Mariner200121 kn39 kph24 mph
Seven Seas Navigator199918 kn33 kph21 mph
Seven Seas Voyager200320 kn37 kph23 mph
MS Victory I200112 kn22 kph14 mph
MS Victory II200413 kn24 kph15 mph
Adventure Of The Seas200123 kn43 kph26 mph
Allure Of The Seas201023 kn43 kph26 mph
Anthem of the Seas201522 kn41 kph25 mph
Brilliance Of The Seas200225 kn46 kph29 mph
Empress Of The Seas199020 kn37 kph23 mph
Enchantment Of The Seas199722 kn41 kph25 mph
Explorer Of The Seas200024 kn44 kph28 mph
Freedom Of The Seas200622 kn41 kph25 mph
Grandeur Of The Seas199622 kn41 kph25 mph
Harmony Of The Seas201623 kn43 kph26 mph
Independence Of The Seas200823 kn43 kph26 mph
Jewel Of The Seas200425 kn46 kph29 mph
Liberty Of The Seas200722 kn41 kph25 mph
Majesty Of The Seas199222 kn41 kph25 mph
Mariner Of The Seas200324 kn44 kph28 mph
Navigator Of The Seas200222 kn41 kph25 mph
Oasis Of The Seas200923 kn43 kph26 mph
Ovation Of The Seas201622 kn41 kph25 mph
Quantum Of The Seas201422 kn41 kph25 mph
Radiance Of The Seas200125 kn46 kph29 mph
Rhapsody Of The Seas199722 kn41 kph25 mph
Serenade Of The Seas200325 kn46 kph29 mph
Spectrum Of The Seas201922 kn41 kph25 mph
Symphony Of The Seas201822 kn41 kph25 mph
Vision Of The Seas199822 kn41 kph25 mph
Voyager Of The Seas199924 kn44 kph28 mph
Saga Pearl II198120 kn37 kph23 mph
Saga Sapphire198121 kn39 kph24 mph
Scenic Eclipse201917 kn31 kph20 mph
Seabourn Encore201619 kn35 kph22 mph
Seabourn Odyssey200921 kn39 kph24 mph
Seabourn Ovation201819 kn35 kph22 mph
Seabourn Quest201119 kn35 kph22 mph
Seabourn Sojourn201019 kn35 kph22 mph
SeaDream I198418 kn33 kph21 mph
SeaDream II198518 kn33 kph21 mph
Silver Cloud199418 kn33 kph21 mph
Silver Discoverer198918 kn33 kph21 mph
Silver Explorer198915 kn28 kph17 mph
Silver Galapagos199018 kn33 kph21 mph
Silver Muse201720 kn37 kph23 mph
Silver Shadow200021 kn39 kph24 mph
Silver Spirit200920 kn37 kph23 mph
Silver Whisper200121 kn39 kph24 mph
Silver Wind199517 kn31 kph20 mph
Aegean Paradise199022 kn41 kph25 mph
Aranui 3200215 kn28 kph17 mph
Aranui 5201515 kn28 kph17 mph
Asuka 2199022 kn41 kph25 mph
Caledonian Sky199117 kn31 kph20 mph
Chinese Taishan200027 kn50 kph31 mph
Club Med 2199216 kn30 kph18 mph
Flying Clipper201820 kn37 kph23 mph
Funchal196116 kn30 kph18 mph
Golden Iris197719 kn35 kph22 mph
Greg Mortimer201916 kn30 kph18 mph
Hebridean Princess196415 kn28 kph17 mph
Hebridean Sky199117 kn31 kph20 mph
Knyaz Vladimir197123 kn43 kph26 mph
MS Berlin198018 kn33 kph21 mph
MS Birka Stockholm200421 kn39 kph24 mph
MS Delphin197522 kn41 kph25 mph
MS Hamburg199718 kn33 kph21 mph
ms The World200219 kn35 kph22 mph
mv Aegean Odyssey197318 kn33 kph21 mph
MV Glory Sea200130 kn56 kph35 mph
MV Hans Hansson196011 kn20 kph13 mph
MV Hondius201915 kn28 kph17 mph
mv Minerva199613 kn24 kph15 mph
MV Ortelius198914 kn26 kph16 mph
MV Plancius197612 kn22 kph14 mph
MV Polar Pioneer198514 kn26 kph16 mph
MV Reef Endeavour199613 kn24 kph15 mph
MV Stella Australis201013 kn24 kph15 mph
MV Ushuaia197012 kn22 kph14 mph
MV Ventus Australis201813 kn24 kph15 mph
Ocean Dream198121 kn39 kph24 mph
Ocean Gala198218 kn33 kph21 mph
Ocean Majesty196620 kn37 kph23 mph
Ocean Star Pacific197121 kn39 kph24 mph
Orient Queen198917 kn31 kph20 mph
Pacific Venus199821 kn39 kph24 mph
Paul Gauguin199718 kn33 kph21 mph
Pearl Mist201417 kn31 kph20 mph
PS Waverley194718 kn33 kph21 mph
RCGS Resolute199115 kn28 kph17 mph
RMS St Helena198914 kn26 kph16 mph
Royal Clipper200014 kn26 kph16 mph
Sea Cloud193114 kn26 kph16 mph
Sea Cloud II200013 kn24 kph15 mph
Sea Endurance199211 kn20 kph13 mph
SkySea Golden Era199522 kn41 kph25 mph
Spirit of Enderby198412 kn22 kph14 mph
Star Clipper199212 kn22 kph14 mph
Star Flyer199112 kn22 kph14 mph
Vidanta Alegria199021 kn39 kph24 mph
Star Pisces199022 kn41 kph25 mph
SuperStar Aquarius199321 kn39 kph24 mph
SuperStar Gemini199221 kn39 kph24 mph
SuperStar Libra198820 kn37 kph23 mph
SuperStar Virgo199924 kn44 kph28 mph
Mein Schiff 1201821 kn39 kph24 mph
Mein Schiff 2201921 kn39 kph24 mph
Mein Schiff 3201422 kn41 kph25 mph
Mein Schiff 4201522 kn41 kph25 mph
Mein Schiff 5201622 kn41 kph25 mph
Mein Schiff 6201722 kn41 kph25 mph
Viking Ocean ships (Jupiter, Orion, Sea, Star, Sun, Tellus, Venus)201920 kn37 kph23 mph
Virgin Voyages ships (Scarlet Lady)202022 kn41 kph25 mph
Star Breeze198916 kn30 kph18 mph
Star Legend199219 kn35 kph22 mph
Star Pride198819 kn35 kph22 mph
Wind Spirit198813 kn24 kph15 mph
Wind Star198613 kn24 kph15 mph
Wind Surf199015 kn28 kph17 mph