Royal Caribbean International already has more cruise ships than any other cruise line with 26 in the current fleet.  But by 2026 that number will grow to 30.

The next closest is Carnival Cruise Line with 25, and Carnival will have a total of 27 ships with the addition of Carnival Jubilee in December and Carnival Firenze in mid-2024.

Still, Royal Caribbean’s fleet boasts the capacity to carry more passengers than any other cruise line, and the company is poised to further expand its dominance with four new ships on the horizon.

Allure of the Seas. Photo Credit: Cruise Fever

We recently added up the total passenger capacity for almost every cruise ship in the world to see just how many people could fit on today’s modern fleet of ships.  The total was more than most large cities in America.

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It’s a fun read you can check out here.

Currently, the maximum passenger capacity for every Royal Caribbean ship combined is 112,993.  That is 92,508 passengers at double capacity.

By 2026 those numbers will grow to 142,781 at max capacity and 115,032 at double capacity.

Note: Cruise ships do not sail at max capacity, as that is just a measurement of the number of berths on a ship.  Double-capacity figures are more realistic as to how many cruisers are on a vessel, but some cabins will have more than 2 passengers, thus sailing at over 100% capacity.

Here are the four ships set to debut for Royal Caribbean over the next few years:

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Icon of the Seas: 1st Icon-class vessel to be completed in January of 2024.
Utopia of the Seas: Last Oasis-class vessel to be completed in Spring of 2024.
Star of the Seas: 2nd Icon-class vessel to be completed in 2025.
Unnamed vessel: 3rd Icon-class vessel scheduled to be completed in 2026.

The double-capacity for these four ships combined will be 29,788.

When Icon of the Seas debuts early next year, it’s expected to be able to carry 7,600 passengers at maximum capacity and 5,610 at double-capacity.

With the addition of Carnival Firenze to Carnival’s fleet in 2024, the total max capacity for the cruise line will be 108,389 and 89,096 at double capacity.

Carnival has not announced any plans for new ships beyond the next two additions to its fleet.

When the third Icon-class ship is launched in 2026, Royal Caribbean will have a maximum capacity that is almost 32% greater than Carnival.  Currently, Royal Caribbean’s capacity is 29% greater.

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This growth in Royal Caribbean’s ship sizes and popularity is clearly seen on social media.  We recently asked our fans on Facebook which size cruise ship they prefer.

After over 500 comments to that social media post, a large percentage said they liked the mega size ships, specifically the Oasis-class vessels that boast over 225,000 in gross tonnage.

Not everyone loved the size of these floating cities however, as medium or mid-size size ships were also a very common response to this question.

But the popularity of Icon of the Seas is hard to ignore.  The “wow” factor that is emphasized on regularly run commercials and marketing campaigns has helped the company fill up bookings for the ship well into 2025 and 2026.

The cruise line shows no signs of slowing down any time soon, as we wait for the third Icon-class ship to be named.

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