Carnival’s New Record Breaking Cruise Ships to Hold the Most Passengers Ever!

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carnival record cruise ships
The Aida Bella. Photo courtesy of Carnival.

Carnival’s New Ships

While I don’t cover the cruise industry often enough on Miles to Memories, I am a big fan. I love to cruise. (See: Norwegian Getaway Review!) Don’t get me wrong though, I think cruising is just one type of travel and I feel that people who exclusively cruise¬†are somewhat missing out.

With that said, an interesting story came across my Twitter feed earlier today. Carnival Corporation has announced the purchase of four ships, two of which will hold a record 6,600 passengers each. Now these ships are most likely not destined for their flagship brand, but instead to Aida and other brands under the same umbrella.

Big Ships – Bigger Capacities

carnival record cruise ships
Oasis of the Seas. The new Carnival ship will be about 20% smaller by gross tonnage, but will hold 300 more passengers. Photo by Kees Torn.

The interesting thing about these new ships is their size. According to the press release, the new ships will “exceed” 180,000 gross tons. I read that to mean they will be right around 180,000 gross tons. Why does that matter? Well currently the two biggest ships in the world are the Oasis Class ships owned by Royal Caribbean. Those ships have a maximum capacity of 6,300 people and are 225,000 gross tons each.

Carnival says “A major part of the innovative design involves making much more efficient use of the ship’s spaces, creating an enhanced onboard experience for guests.” Lets hope that they have been able to do that, because putting 300 more passengers in 20% less space seems like it is going to be tight.

Natural Gas Fueled

The company didn’t announce much else about the vessels other than that they will be powered by liquefied natural gas which is a first for the cruise industry. I’m not sure how much “greener” this is in reality, but the company touts natural gas as the “world’s cleanest burning fossil fuel”.

Anyone who has cruised on the Carnival brand knows that public spaces are often minimized in favor of more cabins. This leads to overcrowding in dining venues and public places like the pools on sea days. I am not convinced these new designs will help that any, but by packing more people on ships, it makes them more economical for the company and helps to keep fares low.

Fleet Plan & Conclusion

As part of this announcement, Carnival also emphasized their fleet plan which consists of adding nine new ships total (including these four) to their fleet between 2019 & 2022. You can find out more details about the fleet and these new ships in the company’s press release. USA Today has extensive coverage as well.

What do you think? Is 6,600 people on a 180,000 gross ton ship crossing the line? Do you like big ships or prefer much smaller ones like used to be more common? Let me know in the comments.


  1. I am a fan of big ships, I loved the Oasis, but I agree with you that putting more passengers in less space might lead to crowded public spaces.

    What makes a big ship great is not the amount of cabins that you can fit on the ship, it’s the amount of different public spaces. Bonus points if those public spaces are not crowded, even with a full ship.


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