May 17, 2022

At Cruise Critic, one of the most often asked questions is “how fast do cruise ships go?” 
The typical weight of modern cruise ships is roughly 100,000 GRT (gross registered tons). Many
biggest ships weigh more than twice as much!
Of course, this does not take into account the weight of thousands of human passengers and
their belongings.
Cruise ships, which can transport up to 6,000 guests across the world, are like giant floating
cities. You may be wondering how fast does a cruise ship travel due to its enormous size…
This article will explain how fast does a cruise ship go
 in miles per hour (mph) and nautical knots. It also explains why cruise ships rarely go at their
top speed. Besides, it provides some information about the greatest speeds that cruise ships
can reach.

Speed Of The Cruise Depends On

  • Itinerary
  • Type of Weather
  • Unexpected Emergencies
  • Type Of Engine

How Fast Does A Cruise Ship Travel?

The speed of a cruise ship is measured in knots, with 1 knot equaling around 1.15 miles per
hour. The average speed of a new and modern cruise is roughly 15 to 25 knots (22 miles per
hour), with top speeds of around 25 to 27 knots (34.5 miles per hour).
Several factors influence the pace at which a ship can sail, including engine power, weather,
and sea conditions. To avoid anticipated storms or difficult waters, ships may have to sail faster.
If they find themselves amid turbulent swells, they may choose to sail more slowly.

What is a Knot?
In marine and air navigation, as well as meteorology, a knot is a unit of speed.
1-knot speed of cruise equals 1 mile per hour, or 1.20 miles per hour and 1,900 kilometres per
hour.

What’s The Difference Between Cruising Speed and Top Speed
of Cruise?

Passengers on cruise ships choose a cruising or service speed is comfortable for them. This is
a little slower than the maximum speed of the vessel. The cruising speed takes into account fuel
usage as well.
The maximum speed at which a ship can operate comfortably differs from its maximum speed.
The speed of a ship is determined by its route, and cruise ships rarely sail at speeds that are
uncomfortable for passengers. Going at top speed with all engines running would jeopardize
efforts to save fuel and travel.
Captains may choose to go more slowly to closer ports. For longer journeys, a ship may
increase its speed in open waters, where it may sail more quickly.
Occasionally, ships will float or pause to enable passengers to take in the scenery. In Hawaii,
cruise ships frequently stop to allow passengers to photograph exploding volcanoes. Similarly,
cruise ships in Alaska make safety stops due to weather and glaciers.

A Cruise Ship’s Maximum Speed

If you’re curious what a cruise ship’s top speed is, you might find it astonishing to hear that it
doesn’t matter. As cruise ships rarely achieve their maximum speeds!
A cruise ship’s top speed reached only during sea testing. These are test voyages when they
launch a fresh new cruise ship. To make sure that it matches the manufacturer’s specifications,
they put it through its spaces. 
Even though a cruise ship’s top speed is 25 knots, it will usually travel at a speed of around 20
knots because this is the most efficient speed.

Driving at 80 mph on the highway will consume far more petrol than driving at a steady 60 mph.
With a ship the size of a cruise liner, the extra fuel will be costly.
When a cruise ship speeds up, the passengers get a bumpier ride. The hull becomes more
submerged as the ship moves slower, giving in a more comfortable ride.
When there is inclement weather that they must get away from, cruise ships will go quicker than
the regular speed. If another ship issues a distress signal, a cruise liner may respond by
speeding up to provide aid as workable.

What’s the Fastest Cruise Ship in History?

Many ocean liners competed in the post-World War II years to traverse the Atlantic in the
quickest time possible.
The SS United States received the award in 1952, and it still retains the record for the fastest
Transatlantic trip ever.
It maintained a cruising speed of 35.5 knots and a top speed of 39 knots on its maiden voyage.
That’s nearly 40 miles per hour, or the speed of a galloping racehorse!
Even though they retired the ship back in 1969, there is talk of resurrecting it and returning her
to active service.
Why Can Newer Ships Go Faster?
Faster cruise ships aren’t always equipped with more powerful engines. They ensure that they
attribute the difference in speed to efficiency. 
More modern technology, such as air bubble systems under the hull, that they find on newer
cruise ships. It reduces friction between the ship and the water. Which in return allows it to
travel faster while using the same amount of fuel, or, more, at the same speed while using less
fuel.