Does size matter? It’s the age old question, and it applies to cruise ships as much as anything else. Royal Caribbean International just upped the ante again when it recently launched the latest vessel that has the title of “world’s biggest cruise ship” — the new Harmony of the Seas — but it’s only one of the extremes. There are trends toward smaller ones as well, whether they be riverboats, expedition ships or boutique vessels.
Here’s a fun game to get us started comparing two modern designs: the aforementioned Harmony of the Seas and a Viking River Cruises Longship. The Harmony is 1,188 feet long, 215.5 feet wide and 18 decks tall. A Viking Longship — indicative of the size of most European riverboats — is 443 feet long, 37 feet wide and 4 decks tall. Assuming an average height of eight feet per deck and if each vessel was perfectly squared off (which they are not, so take this as a loose estimation), just how many Longships would volumetrically fit within the Harmony? Well, that would be a staggering 70 riverboats. That’s the kind of scale difference that exists between the largest and one of the smallest cruise ships sailing today.
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