What is the world largest cruise ship?

When the positively humungous Oasis of the Seas was launched in 2009, British noses – including mine – were turned up in horror. Six thousand passengers on one cruise ship? How vulgar! How ridiculous! How American!

American – and coming to the UK. In October, Oasis will make her debut port call in Southampton, ahead of a full Mediterranean season next summer by sister ship Allure of the Seas. Allure will sail from her home port Barcelona on seven-night itineraries and qualifies as the world’s largest cruise ship by less than 5cm. That is how much longer it is than Oasis of the Seas – the first ship measuring more than 200, 000 tons when it launched in 2009. Other than that the “twins” are almost identical.

Royal Caribbean International, which invested £1.4 billion in Oasis of the Seas, knew what it was doing. The 17-deck cruise ship is large but perfectly formed: a miracle of modern engineering and design, and of perfect proportion. Everything is to scale, from the yellow lifeboats that take 370 passengers each, to the fifth-deck jogging track which extends for nearly half a mile.

When I boarded the ship in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for a week-long Caribbean cruise, I expected an unholy scrum. Not a bit of it. The boarding procedures involved the minimum of hassle and, with more than 2, 000 staff and crew, there was no shortage of helping hands.

True, the corridor on which my stateroom was situated was so long that my heart sank as I trudged along it, but the stateroom itself was a decent size, with a private balcony and all the facilities you would expect. I was ready to party.

Allure will be cruising the Mediterranean next summer (Photo: Getty)

For those inclined to talk to strangers of numerous stripes, the great joy of cruising is the people you meet, and here my fellow passengers were gloriously diverse. Women with babes in arms took breakfast next to wheelchair-bound nonagenarians. Whippet-thin joggers shared lifts with some of the fattest men on the planet. On the sun deck, a young man with “made in Dublin” tattooed in Gothic script on his back lay cheek by jowl with a white-haired old lady deep in Northanger Abbey. I chatted to postmen and pilots, pharmacists and plumbers, psychiatrists and primary school teachers.

The statistics speak volumes: about three-quarters were American, with a median age of around 45, but other parts of the world were well represented. Britons numbered 150, with a similar number of Australians, French, Russians, Chinese, Indians, Japanese, Italians and fun-loving Finns.

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Q&A

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Whats the largest cruise ship in the world?

Freedom of the Seas is the largest cruise ship in the world, weighing 160,000 tons at 1,112 feet long. Keep'ing!

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