The World's Largest Ships: From the Aircraft Carrier to the Yacht

Queen Mary 2. Source: Torsten Bolten WMC.
Queen Mary 2. Source: Torsten Bolten WMC.


The terms “Worlds Largest Ship” or “Worlds Biggest Ship” are rather subjective as it can be measured in a number of metrics from tonnage, length, height, to carrying capacity, but for this article I have used length as the measure of the biggest. If you disagree with my choices please let me know.


Beam (Width) and Height

The width (or beam) can be two different lengths; the hull width and the width including the bridge wings. The figures here include the bridge wings where applicable. Where mentioned the height of a ship is calculated from its keel to its funnel or mast.

Gross Tonnage

Gross Tonnage (GRT) is an index used for a ship’s overall internal volume. It is defined as “the moulded volume of all enclosed spaces of the ship” and determines the number of crew required, safety requirements and port fees as well as various other fees.

Deadweight Tonnage

Deadweight Tonnage (DWT) or Deadweight is a measurement of how much total weight a ship is carrying. It is the sum of the weight of cargo, fuel, water, provisions, crew and where applicable passengers.


USS Theodore Roosevelt

Length 332.8m/1,092ft

Width 76.8m/252ft (includes flight deck)

The USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) entered service on 26th October 1986. It is the fourth in the US Navy’s Nimitz class of nuclear powered aircraft carriers and has a maximum speed of more than 30 knots (34 mph) and can, if necessary, remain at sea for up to 25 years. It cost around $4.5 billion (£3.2 billion)

It has a crew of 3,200 in the ship’s company and 2,480 for the air wing and can carry up to 90 aircraft.

USS Theodore Roosevelt.
USS Theodore Roosevelt.
USS Theodore Roosevelt. Source: USN
USS Theodore Roosevelt. Source: USN


MS Vale Brasil

Length 362m/1,187ft

Width 65m/213.3ft

DWT 402,347

GRT 200,000

The MS Vale Brazil, launched in December 2010, is one of seven bulk carriers, or very large ore carriers (VLOC), operated by the Brazilian mining company Vale. The ship is designed to carry iron ore from Brazil to Asia. It has a maximum speed of 15.4 knots (17.7 mph).

MS Vale Brasil
MS Vale Brasil
MS Vale Brasil
MS Vale Brasil


Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller

Length 399m/1,309ft

Width 59m/193ft 6in

DWT 196,000

GRT 174,500

The Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller cost $185m (£124m) to develop and build and is the first of a planned fleet of twenty identical container ships for the Maersk Line, which will be known collectively as the Triple-E class. It has a maximum speed of 17.2 knots (19.7 mph)

Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller. Source:
Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller. Source:


Oasis of the Seas

Length 361.7m/1,187ft

Width 65.5m/215ft

Height 65m/213ft

DWT 15,000

GRT 225,282

The Oasis of the Seas (she also has a sister ship the Allure of the Seas) was launched on the 22nd November 2008 and entered service in 2009 and is operated by Royal Caribbean International. It cost $1.26 billion (£850m) to build and fit out and has a maximum passenger occupancy is 6,360 with a crew of 2,394. Its normal cruising speed is 22 knots (25.3 mph).

A unique feature of the ship is its telescopic funnels which are lowered to allow passage beneath certain bridges.

Oasis of the Seas
Oasis of the Seas
Oasis of the Seas. Source: Balswin040 WMC.
Oasis of the Seas. Source: Balswin040 WMC.


Queen Mary 2

Length 345m/1,132ft

Width 45m/147ft 6in

Height 72m/236ft 2in

DWT 19,189

GRT 151,400

The Queen Mary 2 is operated by the Cunard Cruise Line and made its maiden voyage on the 12th January 2004 sailing from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale. Its first transatlantic crossing was westbound from Southampton to New York 16th April 2004.

The ship cost Cunard $820m (£550m) to build and fit out and can accommodate 5,710 passengers and a crew of 1,253.

It can travel at up to 30 knots (34 mph) but her normal cruising speed is between 24-26 knots (27-30 mph).

Interestingly the ships’ overall height was limited by the need to pass under the Verazzano Narrows Bridge in New York.

Some other interesting facts concern the on board annual consumption figures which include; 230,000 bottles of wine, 24,950kg (55,000lbs) of coffee, 1,350,000 teabags and 17,237kg (38,000lbs) of smoked salmon.

Queen Mary 2.
Queen Mary 2.
Queen Mary 2
Queen Mary 2


Any one of the four TI-class Supertankers

Length 380m/1,247ft

Width 68.8m/226ft

DWT 441,893

GRT 234,006

Also know as the “Fantastic Four”, or Ultra Large Crude Carriers (ULCC), the TI Supertankers can carry around 3 million barrels of oil, about 105 million imperial gallons and can reach a speed of 16.5 knots (19 mph)

TI class supertanker. Now re-named TI Asia. Source: USCG
TI class supertanker. Now re-named TI Asia. Source: USCG


Sea Cloud

Length 109.5m/360ft

Width 15m/49ft

Height 54.2m/178ft

GRT 2,532

Originally built in 1931 The Sea Cloud entered service, after an extensive re-fit, as a luxury cruise sailing ship in 1979 and is currently owned and operated by Sea Cloud Cruises based in Germany.

She is classed as a four-masted barque (which simply means a sailing ship with more than three masts). The mainmast is 54.2m (178ft) high and she uses 30 sails when fully underway. Her maximum speed is a sedate 10 knots (11.5 mph) and she can accommodate 64 passengers and 60 crew.

Sea Cloud.
Sea Cloud.
Sea Cloud.
Sea Cloud.


Club Med 2

Length 194m/637ft

Width 20m/65.6ft

Height 80m/262.5ft

DWT 1,674

GRT 14.983

Club Med 2 is a five masted sailing ship owned and operated by Club Med. She has a mix of power using seven computer controlled sails or four diesel generators.

The ship, which was built in 1992, can carry up to 394 passengers and 214 crew and spends her days cruising the waters of the Adriatic, Mediterranean and the Caribbean at around 10-15 knots (11.5-17 mph)

Club Med 2. Source: Russavia WMC.
Club Med 2. Source: Russavia WMC.
Club Med 2.
Club Med 2.



Length 180m/591ft

Width 20.8m/68ft

Azzam, which cost $600m (£403m) to build and fit out, was launched on 05th April 2013 and is the world’s largest private yacht. It has a top speed of 30 knots (34 mph).


@ 2013 Brian McKechnie (aka WorldEarth)

Azzam. Source: Chris Karsten WMC.
Azzam. Source: Chris Karsten WMC.


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