Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas will be the world's biggest cruise ship in the world when she launches, so how does it compare to the most well-known ship of all time?
The Titanic is arguably the most well-known ocean liner because of its famous accident in 1912. Her sinking has never been eclipsed in the public imagination, despite decades of larger and safe cruise ships.
Nonetheless, if you mention cruise ships to someone who is new to cruising, inevitably the Titanic references usually follow. So if your baseline for understanding what a cruise ship is is based on a vessel that sailed over 100 years ago, here is a look at how much different big ships are now.
Meet Icon of the Seas
At about five times the size of Titanic, the world's largest cruise ship is Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas.
Spanning 20 decks, Icon is the first in the Icon Class to be launched. A second ship, Star of the Seas, will launch in 2025 and likely take the title of biggest in the world.
Size is everything with Icon, as she is 1,198 feet long. If you were to stand her up, Icon's almost as tall as the Empire State Building (1,250 feet without any antennas).
There are 7 pools and 9 whirlpools on Icon of the Seas for guests to use, along with an entire water park.
You will find 1,815 staterooms, including 179 suites.
Read more: Icon of the Seas sneak peek
How big was the Titanic?
Titanic was a large ship for its era, coming in at 882 feet 9 inches long and encompassing 9 decks.
- Beam: 92 feet 6 inches
- Height: 175 feet
- Weight: 46,328 gross tons
Titanic was the largest ship built up to that point in time.
Comparing Icon of the Seas to Titanic
Not only is Icon of the Seas larger than Titanic, but many of Royal Caribbean's other cruise large cruise ships are larger than the Titanic in gross tonnage, as well as size.
The Titanic measured in at 882 feet and 9 inches long, and weighed 46,328 gross tons.
Icon of the Seas measures 1,198 feet in length and has a gross tonnage of 250,800.
In terms of gross tonnage, Titanic doesn't even make the list the top 64 world's largest cruise ships by gross tonnage.
Ditto for length; Among the top 64 largest cruise ships in the world today, the "shortest" ship comes in at 984.1 ft with the AIDAprima and AIDAperla.
Titanic was built at an estimated cost of $7.5 million in 1912, which in today's dollars would cost approximately $400 million.
Icon of the Seas cost $2 billion to construct.
Titanic could handle 2,453 passengers, while Icon of the Seas has a capacity of 7,600 passengers at maximum occupancy.
In terms of things to do on each ship, Titanic offered a heated pool, gym, squash court, and Turkish bath.
Icon of the Seas has seven pools, an entire water park, new areas dedicated to families, revamped pool decks, diving shows, dining experiences, and many more attractions.
In the evening, Titanic would feature smoking rooms, billiards, music, and dancing.
On Icon of the Seas, you can enjoy full-scale shows across four distinct venues, and more live music and comedy than ever before. Fifty live musicians and comedians will entertain guests in venues across the ship.
How much is a ticket on Titanic vs. Icon of the Seas?
Any cruise fan knows that there is no standard price for a cruise. Cruise fares vary from ship to ship and even sailing to sailing.
Prices start at over $1,500 per person for a 7-night cruise on Icon of the Seas, and can go as high as high as $80,000 for one week in the sprawling townhouse cabin that is 1,772 square feet in size and three decks high and sleeps up to eight people.
The prices of tickets on the Titanic in 1912 ranged from £30 (equivalent to £3,000 in 2019) and £870 (equivalent to £100,027.45 in 2021) for a parlour suite and small private promenade deck in first class, to £8 for a third-class adult fares and £3 for children. That's roughly equal to between $100,000 to $345 in today's prices.
Unlike modern cruise ships, Titanic had different classes of fares. First, second, and third class, which were distinguished by social status and ticket cost.
First class was for the wealthiest and most prominent passengers. These were upper class people, who had careers in business, politics, the military, or industry. These were the well-to-do and most well-known people sailing.
Second Class was essentially the middle class people, which might include tourists, members of the clergy, and educators.
Third class (sometimes known as steerage) was mostly made up of immigrants moving to North America.
A ship like Icon of the Seas may not have classes of fares, but they do have different benefits for guests that book the higher tier suites.
The Royal Suite Class cabins aren't as exclusionary as the fare class system, but they do offer separate areas of the ship for those that book it.
Read more: Royal Caribbean suites guide
This includes restaurants, bars, and pool decks exclusively for the use of suite guests.
How do these ships compare?
In short, Icon of the Seas and Titanic don't have a ton in common besides being ocean going vessels. Today's cruise ships are very different than ocean liners, like Titanic.
What many people who are new to cruise ships fail to understand is the fundamental shift leisure cruising underwent in the second half of the 20th century. Ocean liners and ferries evolved into the cruise ships that we know today.
Ocean liners were primarily used to bring passengers across the ocean from one point to another, whereas cruise ships go on pleasure voyages, closer to the coast, sailing between ports.
Read more: How cruise ships got so big
Unfortunately, many cruise novices have Titanic as their only frame of reference when it comes to non-cargo ships, so it ends up being the defacto benchmark.
Not only are ships like Icon of the Seas immensely larger, the experience onboard is vastly different, with more to see, do, and eat than Titanic could have ever dreamed.