A cruise ship is a massive vessel that features all the basic facilities needed for a pleasurable vacation, which include: accommodations, sports and recreational facilities, restaurants and bars, and entertainment centers. Generally, a cruise ship weighs more than 70,000 tons, or 140 million pounds, and it is rather surprising that it is able to float on water and travel long distances. Its enormous size also makes people wonder how fast it can travel.
There are many different types of cruise ships. While some of them are built to house more rooms or facilities, others are specifically constructed to travel fast. Ordinary cruise ships travel at the speed of 21 to 24 knots per hour, but a high-speed cruise ship can go as fast as 30 knots or more. Most cruise ships are powered by diesel electric engines or gas turbines, and they have propellers that cut through the water to move them forward or backward. The speed of a cruise ship is dependent on the power output of its engine as well as its size and weight.
Although ordinary cruise ships travel at the speed of 21 to 24 knots per hour, they are actually capable of reaching higher speeds. One of the reasons why they travel at a more conservative speed is because they have to control fuel consumption. Cruise ships consume a lot of fuel, and the “mileage” per gallon of fuel is measured in feet, not in miles. It takes about 10 gallons of fuel for an ordinary cruise ship to travel just a few hundred feet. When a ship travels at top speed, it consumes more fuel, and there may not be enough fuel left for it to complete its voyage. Traveling at a slower pace will ensure that the ship will reach its destination as scheduled, and it is more economical. Cruise ships also travel at varying speeds during different parts of their voyages: They tend to speed up when they are in the open sea, and slow down when they are approaching a port.
For many years, the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 was the fastest cruise ship in the world. It is capable of reaching a top speed of 32 knots per hour, and it has a cruising speed of around 28 knots. After it was retired from the cruise business, the Olympic Voyager became the fastest cruise ship. This 600-foot cruise ship has a top speed of 31 knots per hour, and it is a very popular ship because it can reach its destinations in a shorter time and allow passengers more time to stay onshore. One of the biggest cruise ships in the world is the 1,181-foot Oasis of the Seas. This gigantic vessel travels at a cruising speed of 20.2 knots per hour, but it can reach a maximum speed of 23.8 knots.
Those who are planning to go on a cruise ship vacation should get a travel insurance policy before their trips. Some cruise ship passengers may suffer from sea-sickness, and they may be in need of medical attention. Travel insurance will cover medical expenses as well as loss or theft of personal belongings.
Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and is a licensed agent for travel insurance (MA 1883287). He believes travel insurance should be easier to understand, and started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.