By: Tejeshwar Singh Rana, Chief Officer, Shell shipping-London, UK & Associate Editor-ICN
The means of luxurious lifestyle experiences around us are immense in number.While the search for a one-of-a-kind experience on the land ends with a long list of options to live in the moment.
The experiential purchases at the sea are limited in contrast to its enormity.However, at sea, the experiences the luxurious cruise ships and yachts can offer transcend the outnumbered choices on land.
As being affordable to a large number of customers compared to yachts, the cruise ships play a big role in meeting the demands of the multi-billion dollar ocean tourism industry.These floating cities redefining luxury travel by offering awe-inspiring experiences coupled with sumptuous, superlative amenities and impeccable services for travel enthusiasts.
With the increasing demand of customers and the competition within the market, the cruise lines are regularly enriching the cruise experiences with innovative and creative offerings onboard, outdoing each other. There are massive cruise ships operating at the sea today. As a result, the industry attracts billions in investment every year, resulting in the entry of luxurious and expensive cruise ships into operation.
Here is a list of top ten most expensive cruise ships currently in operation around the world.
- Allure of the Seas
Allure of the Seas is one of the two most expensive cruise ships in operation around the world. The second ship in the Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis-class cruise ships, Allure of the Seas was the world’s largest passenger ship when it launched in November 2009. Reportedly, around $1.4bn was incurred in the construction of this world-class cruise ship at the STX Europe Turku shipyard in Finland. This 1,187 feet long vessel measures 215 feet in width with a gross registered tonnage of 225,282t. With 18 total decks, the vessel can accommodate a total of 6,780 guests and 2,200 crew members. The main features of the ship include a two-deck dance hall, an ice skating rink, 25 dining options and a theatre with 1,380 seating capacity etc.
- Oasis of the Seas
The first in Oasis-class luxury ships, Oasis of the Seas is another $1.4bn cruise ship in the Royal Caribbean International’s fleet. This 225,282 GRT vessel was the world’s largest cruise ship when it launched in 2008. While all other features of the Oasis of the Seas match with its sister vessel, the length of the vessel is reportedly 50 millimetres shorter than Allure of the Seas. However, it has been stated that the classified length of these vessels was the same and the changes were unintentional as it happened due to the small changes in the temperature of the steel used for construction.
- Symphony of the Seas
Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis-class cruise ship Symphony of the Seas is the world’s largest passenger ship currently in service. Thus, for obvious reasons, Symphony of the Seas is one the most expensive cruise ships in the world now with a cost of production of $1.35 billion. Built by STX France, the vessel measures 1188 feet in length, 215.5 feet in width and 238 feet in height, with a gross registered tonnage of 228,081t. The ship that started its maiden voyage in April 2018 features 18 decks and capable of accommodating a maximum of 6,680 passengers and a 2,200-person crew. The features aboard this luxury cruise ship include 22 restaurants, 24 pools, children’s water park, ice-skating rink, full-size basketball court, and two 43-foot rock-climbing walls etc.
- Harmony of the Seas
Another Oasis-class cruise ship of Royal Caribbean International, Harmony of the Seas, is another expensive luxury passenger vessel currently in service. Despite costing Royal Caribbean the same expense of its sister vessel ($1.35 billion), Harmony of the Seas comes behind Symphony of the Seas due to the 1,100 tons difference in size with the former. The 228,081GRT-vessel is also 1,188 feet long, 215.5 wide and 238 feet in height. With 2,747 staterooms in various sizes, Harmony of the Seas is capable of housing 6,687 passengers in addition to 2,200 crew members. Similar to its sister ship, Harmony of the Seas features several dining and entertainment options abroad. Started construction in 2014, the ship set its first sail in May 2016 to Southampton from the facility of STX France.
AIDA Cruises’ first of the new Excellence-class ships, AIDAnova, is reportedly the fifth-biggest passenger vessel in the world. The cost of the production of this 337 meters long luxury vessel, built by Meyer Werft in Germany, is a reported $1.1 billion. Launched in December 2018, AIDAnova’s highlight is the Green Cruising concept- the world’s first cruise ship that can be powered at sea and in port by liquefied natural gas (LNG). The 183,900 GT AIDAnova features more than 2,600 passenger cabins, with a capacity to accommodate 6,600 passengers in addition to up to 1,500 crew members. The vessel has a total of 17 restaurants, 23 bars, a luxury day spa and 360-degree theatre etc. to meet the passengers luxurious dining and entertainment needs.
- MSC Meraviglia
MSC Cruises’ MSC Meraviglia cruise ship is the lead ship of MSC’s new class of vessels being built by STX France. The cost of production of one ship in this class is reportedly around $1billion as this vessel is part of the Geneva-based line’s $10.2 billion investment for a total of 11 vessels to be delivered by 2026. Set its first sail in June 2017, MSC Meraviglia was the world’s 4th largest cruise ship when it launched, behind Oasis-class ships. The 315.8 meters long MSC Meraviglia features 15 passenger decks and has the capacity to house 4,500 passengers and 1,536 crew members.
- MSC Bellissima
MSC Bellissima, a sister ship of MSC Meraviglia, is the second Meraviglia class cruise ship of MSC Cruises. Another ship from $1billion, SC Bellissima made her maiden voyage in March this year. Constructed by STX France at its Chantiers de l’Atlantique facility in France, the 171,598 GT MSC Bellissima has almost similar features of its sister ship.
- Norwegian Bliss
Norwegian Cruise Line’s brand-new behemoth luxury ship- Norwegian Bliss– that set sail last year also joins the list with about $1 billion cost of production. Built by Meyer Werft , the 168,028 GT Norwegian Bliss has a length of 1,094 ft, moulded beam of 136.2 ft and maximum draft of 29.53 ft. With 20 decks, the vessel features 2,220 cabins that can accommodate 4,000 passengers in addition to 1700 crew members. Offering a great vacation experience to its guests, Norwegian Bliss features elegant suites, several themed dining areas and bars, a 20,000sq. ft Observation Lounge, an 800-seat Bliss Theatre and two-story go-kart track etc.
- Celebrity Edge
Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Edge is another brand new billion-dollar luxury ship currently in service. Built by STX France, Celebrity Edge is the first Edge-class cruise ship of her owner and started her maiden voyage in December 2018. This 1,004 ft-long vessel has a tonnage of 130,818GT and is capable of accommodating 2,918 passengers and 1,377 crew members. Among other entertainment and dining facilities, the ship is known for its most technologically advanced theatre, offering one-of-a-kind entertainment experience with panoramic projection screens and rotating spiral staircases etc.
- Quantum class cruise ships
Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum class cruise ships are reportedly the third largest class of cruise ships behind their own owner’s Oasis class and MSC Cruises’ Meraviglia class ships by gross tonnage. The three ships in this class- Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas- has almost similar features and the cost of production, i.e. about $9.4 million. The three ships in this series were started their maiden voyage in the years of 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively. Among these 168,666GT vessels, the first two vessels have a length of 1,139 ft and a maximum beam of 162 ft, while the third vessel has a length of 1,142 ft and a maximum beam of 160 ft. The Quantum class cruise ships are capable of housing a maximum of 4,905 passengers and 1,500 crew members.