Anyone who’s ever had the privilege of vacationing on a luxury cruise liner will know these ships are nothing if not big… some, in fact, would stretch to “giant”. And a giant ship doesn’t come for free, especially when its kitted out with all the mod cons, luxurious finishes, and amenities you’d find at a world-class resort. With modern cruise ships costing hundreds of millions to make (or, as we’ll soon see, even more), it’s hardly surprising the average cost of a ticket is so exorbitant. If you’ve ever wondered how much it costs to build some of the world’s biggest and most luxurious liners, keep reading for our round-up of the 10 most expensive cruise ships of all time.
10. Celebrity Edge – $1 billion
Celebrity Edge marks STX France’s first Edge-class cruise ship, and boy, is she a beauty. Capable of taken on 2,918 passengers and 1,377 crew members at any one time, the 1,004 ft-long vessel offers all the usual leisure and recreational amenities you’d expect of a billion-dollar cruiser, along with a few uniquely special features (including a rotating spiral staircase and a state of the art theatre with panoramic projection screens) to signal it out for attention.
9. Norwegian Bliss – $1 billion
Another billion-dollar ship comes in next with Norwegian Bliss. While her cost-of-build value may come in the same as Cutting Edge’s, her length (1,094 ft) and capacity (with 20 decks and 2,220 cabins, she can hold 4,000 passengers and 1700 crew members without too much of a squeeze) justify the slightly higher entry. Standout features (and no doubt a few of the things that went into that astronomical build price) include a 20,000sq. ft Observation Lounge, an 800-seat Bliss Theatre, and a two-story go-kart track.
8. MSC Bellissima – $1 billion
In 2019, yet another $1 billion ship made her maiden voyage. This time around, the privilege went to MSC Bellissima (which, as it so happens, is the sister ship to our next entry, MSC Meraviglia). Built by STX France, the Bellissima boasts the usual line up of features, including multiple decks, every conceivable entertainment option imaginable, and a wide array of dining options.
7. MSC Meraviglia – $1 billion
The final, and biggest ship, with a $1 billion dollar build cost is the MSC Meraviglia. At the time of her maiden voyage in June 2017, Meraviglia was the 4th largest cruise ship in the world, with a length of 315.8 meters and the capacity to hold 4,500 passengers and 1,536 crew members. She may have lost her position subsequently, but with 15 passenger decks and more restaurants, bars, theaters, and entertainment options than you’ll find in most small towns, she’s still a heavyweight entry, none the less.
6. AIDAnova – $1.1 billion
With a length of 337 meters and the capacity to hold 6,600 passengers and to up to 1,500 crew members, the magnificent AIDAnova ranks as the 5th biggest luxury vessel in the world. It’s not just her size that’s impressive: with 17 restaurants, 23 bars, a full-service day spa, and a 360-degree theatre, there’s enough onboard to keep all 6600 passengers happy, regardless of age, taste, or preference. Perhaps the most noteworthy thing about this $1.1 billion ship, however, is her eco-credentials: build by Meyer Werft, the German-made cruiser is the first of her kind in the world to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).
5. Norwegian Epic – $1.2 billion
Built at the STX Europe Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, the Norwegian Epic was, at the time of her maiden voyage, the third-largest luxury vessel in the world, and the first of Norwegian Cruise’s lineup to achieve “mega-ship” status. Several years on, she may have been overtaken in size by a few young upstarts, but she’s still one mighty fine ship, with a myriad of recreational, entertainment, and retail options to keep her thousands of passengers happy.
4. Harmony of the Seas – $1.35 billion
At 1,188 feet long, 215.5 wide, and 238 feet in height, Harmony of the Seas is a hulk of a ship (although just a smidgeon smaller than her sister ship, the equally pricey Symphony of the Seas). With 2,747 staterooms, the vessel is capable of welcoming 6,687 passengers and 2,200 crew members at any one time. The many, many theatres, sports courts, and restaurants, meanwhile, are sure to be enough to keep them all more than adequately entertained.
3. Symphony of the Seas – $1.35 billion
Although she cost the same amount to build as her sister ship (see our previous entry for details), Symphony of the Seas comes out on top for size, weighing over 1,100 tons more and measuring 1188 feet in length, 215.5 feet in width, and 238 feet in height. Capable of accommodating 6,680 passengers and 2,200 crew members, the luxury liner knocks it out of the park when it comes to amenities, boasting two 43-foot rock-climbing walls, a children’s water park, an ice-skating rink, 22 restaurants, and a multitude of sports courts.
2. Oasis of the Seas – $1.4 billion
It may be an oldie, but over 18 years since its maiden voyage, Oasis of the Seas still ranks as the 2nd most expensive ship to build in the world (although it lost its title of the largest when Allure of the Seas, its sister ship, came and stole its thunder thanks to an extra 50 millimeters in length). Capable of housing 6,780 guests and 2,200 crew members, the vessel features a theater, over 20 dining options, a multi-deck dance venue, and even an ice-skating ring. The cost of all this extravagance? A mind-blowing $1.4 billion dollars.
1. Allure of the Seas – $1.5 billion
Just pipping its sister ship, Oasis of the Seas, to the post is the $1.5 billion-dollar Allure of the Seas. As the 2nd vessel in the Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis-class cruise ships line, the ship made her maiden voyage in 2009 (just one year after her predecessor). In terms of amenities, the line up is almost exactly the same as Oasis of the Seas (two-deck dance hall, state of the art theater, skating rink, sports courts, and 25 cafés and restaurants)… the only real difference between the two being the extra 15mm of length the Allure comes with.