The largest passenger ships in history, ordered in a fabulous infographic

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The world of ships brings together the best of megastructures and ministructures. We have ships as small as the Boomin Beaver, the smallest ship in the United States Navy, and the Symphony of the Seasthe world’s largest active ship at the expense of the Wonder of the Seas make its maiden voyage on March 4 of this year.

But until we got to this prodigy of engineering we had to go through many other boats that we can now see collected and arranged in a fantastic infographic. This has been designed by HMY Yachts and it is a walk through the history of passenger ships, a walk that begins in 1831 and reaches almost to the present.

From 155 passengers to about 9,000

Image: HMY.

The journey begins in 1831 with the SS Royal William, a ship that was operational between 1831 and 1837 and that was the first to make a transatlantic voyage using almost solely and exclusively steam. This, moreover, is an old acquaintance, since It was the first wheeled steam ship of the Spanish Navy.. It was purchased in 1834 and renamed to Isabel II.

Another interesting ship is the S.S Presidentoperational between 1840 and 1841 for an obvious reason: it was the first steamship to sink on a transatlantic voyage. He left on March 11, 1841 heavily laden from New York to Liverpool, and the last that is remembered of him is seeing him fighting a gale the next day. He disappeared with the 136 occupants of it and caused the sinking of its owner, the British and American Steam Navigation Company.

Great Eastern

SS Great Eastern.

Until 1858, the capacity of the ships was a few hundred passengers. It is in this year when we see a spectacular jump with the arrival of the SS Great Eastern (of the Eastern Steam Navigation Company). If the previous ship, the SS Agratohad a capacity of about 763 passengers, this monster increased it to 4,000 passengers. She was the largest ship for four decades, until 1888.

Thousands of people traveled around the world on cargo ships.  Until the pandemic came

There are many curious stories like this, as there are also tragic ones. In 1907, the RMS Lusitania (1,198 people on board) was sunk by a german submarinewhile in 1912 we witnessed the sinking of RMS Titanic. Known from movies and documentaries, this catastrophic sinking served at least to improve the safety of the ships to come.


RMS Titanic.

Years (and ships) later, we arrive at the MS Sovereign of the Seasof Royal Caribbean International. This ship was first modern “megaship” and had capacity for 2,850 passengers. He was then overtaken by SS Norway in 1990 and for the SunPrincess (1995), which was reformed to serve as hotel at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (which took place in 2021).

In 1996 we attended the premiere of the Carnival Destiny, the first ship to exceed 100,000 GT (gross tonnage); and in 1998 we know the GrandPrincesswhich is surely familiar from being the scene of a COVID-19 outbreak in 2020.

Symphony of the Seas

Symphony of the Seas – Image: Darthvadrouw licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Already in the 2000s we come to the reign of Royal Caribbean International, which has had the largest ships since 2006. The Oasis of the Seaswith 225,282 GT (the first to exceed 200,000 GT) and the Symphony of the Seaswhich today is the largest active ship in the world.

And why the “active” note? Because Royal Caribbean international has the Wonder of the Seas. Commissioned in 2015 and completed on January 27, 2022, this ship will have her maiden voyage on March 4, 2022 and will be the largest in history, with 236,857 GT and capacity for about 9,000 passengers.

The world of ships brings together the best of megastructures and ministructures. We have ships as small as the Boomin…

The world of ships brings together the best of megastructures and ministructures. We have ships as small as the Boomin…

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