With hundreds of cruise vessels at sea—and ever more on the way—it’s no surprise cruise lines love touting a hook. Read on for the low-down on cruising extremes, from Norwegian’s coldest bar to the oldest vessel still sailing.
Biggest cruise ship at sea: Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas
The world’s largest cruise ship will soon be Harmony of the Seas, which will weigh in at 227,000 gross registered tons—just edging out sister ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. Slated to launch in summer 2016, it will carry 5,479 guests at double occupancy, and features three (three!) multi-story waterslides.
Coldest room at sea: Norwegian’s Ice Bar
The Ice Bars aboard Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Breakaway, and Norwegian Getaway are kept at exactly 17 degrees. Don’t worry, they provide the hoodie parka and gloves.
Most luxurious ship: Regent Seven Seas Explorer
Regent Seven Seas calls its Seven Seas Explorer, launching in 2016, “the most luxurious ship ever built.” The 750-guest cruise will feature the largest verandahs at sea, plus a steakhouse and Chartreuse, a Parisian-style eatery with menu standouts like hand-cut steak tartare and poached Brittany blue lobster tail.
Oldest U.S. commercial sailing vessel: Lewis R. French
Built in 1871, the 65-foot Lewis R. French is the oldest commercial sailing vessel in the U.S. Once a cargo-carrier, the ship is now part of the Maine windjammer fleet. The Stephen Taber, also part of the Maine fleet, was built a few months later, and it has operated continuously since the late 1800s.
Cruising ship with most famous original owner: SeaCloud
When it was commissioned by legendary Wall Street broker E.F. Hutton for his wife, the Hussar, as it was then named, was said to be the world’s largest private sailing yacht. The four-masted barque measures 360 feet and carries a maximum of 60 passengers. Today it’s operated by Sea Cloud Cruises and offers sailings in the Caribbean and Europe.
Largest passenger sailing vessel at sea: Star Clippers’ Royal Clipper
The ship boasts five masts, 42 sails and accommodations for up to 227 passengers.
Longest operating passenger cruise line in the U.S.: Cunard
Cunard, which began the world’s first scheduled transatlantic service aboard the Britannia in 1840, is the oldest U.S.-owned passenger line. (The oldest passenger line, says a Cunard’s historian, is the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company which operates from Liverpool to the Isle of Man and was founded in 1830.) Other Cunard “firsts” include the first children’s playroom (Arabia, 1852), the first lounge for women (Bothnia,1874), and the first library (Bothnia,1874). Cunard is also responsible for the first ship in the world to be lighted with electricity and introduce rooms ‘en suite’ (Servia, 1881), the first ship with a gym (Franconia, 1911), and first with a planetarium (Queen Mary 2, 2004).