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How Fast Do Cruise Ships Go In 2022?


How fast do cruise ships go? They are not as fast as they used to be. In the early days of sea travel, the goal of sea travel was to get to your destination as quickly as possible, long before air travel became cheaper. Time was prioritized in those days.

However, passengers wanna enjoy a smooth ride these days. Today, cruisers have a lot of questions in their minds about the speed of their cruises. The most common of these questions include:

  • How fast does a cruise ship go in mph?
  • How fast do cruise ships go at night?
  • How far can a cruise ship travel in a day?
  • How fast do Disney cruise ships go?
  • How many knots does a cruise ship go?

I am here with answers to all these questions in one place so you don’t have to go through a lot of posts to know what you’re looking for. So let’s get straight to the point.

Cruising Speed vs Top Speed
How Fast Do Cruise Ships Go?
How Fast Do Cruise Ships Go Mph?
How Fast Do Cruise Ships Go In Km/h?
How Fast Do Cruise Ships Go At Night?
What Factors Affect A Cruise Ship?
How Far Can A Cruise Ship Travel In A Day?
How Fast Do Disney Cruise Ships Go?

Cruising Speed VS Top Speed

Before we continue towards how fast do cruise ships go, you should know about the two important terms and the difference between them. One is “cruising speed” while the other one is a “top speed”.

1) Cruising Speed

Cruising speed refers to the normal operating speed of a cruise. Most of the cruise ships operate at this speed. It is also referred to as the service speed. When someone is talking about cruising or service speed, they don’t mean the highest speed a boat can achieve. In a nutshell, cruising speed means the speed at which it can provide a smooth, comfortable ride while saving fuel.

2) Top Speed

Top speed means the highest speed a cruise ship can achieve. However, cruise ships aren’t meant to fly over the seas. They provide a comfortable ride and also save fuel. That’s why cruises seldom reach their top speed. They prefer to sail at their cruising speed.

How Fast Do Cruise Ships Go?

The average cruising speed of a cruise ship is around 20 knots per hour. While some cruises go to 22 knots. A typical cruise ship can reach the speed of around 30 knots. But it’s not likely to go after more than this.

If you are not familiar with knots, it is a measurement unit of the speeds of ships at sea. 1 knot is equal to one nautical mile. From an American perspective, 1 knot is roughly equal to 1.15 statute miles. While in kilometers, 1 knot is roughly equal to 1.85 kilometers.

how fast do cruise ships go

1) Why Do We Use Knots In Cruise Ships Speeds?

The word knot comes from the 17th century when sailors used an instrument called a chip log to measure the speed of ships. A stick consists of a rope tied to a tree. This device floats behind the ship and releases the rope as the ship moves forward. After a while, the sailors fixed the ropes again and counted the knots between the boat and the tree. Most ships today use GPS to measure their speed.

How Fast Do Cruise Ships Go Mph?

The average cruise ship speed in miles is around 20 to 25 miles per hour. The maximum speed of the cruise is a lot more than that.

As mentioned earlier, cruises rarely operate at their max speed. It is not the top speed this cruise can reach. Instead, it can go more than this speed. However, the goal of cruising is not just to reach the destination. It is to help people enjoy their journey on their excursion.

That’s why they go slow, smooth, and calm so that you can make the most outta your trip.

How Fast Do Cruise Ships Go In Km/h?

If you’re not an American, understanding the speed in miles per hour may not be feasible for you. SO you may wanna know “how fast can a cruise ship go in km/h”.

The average cruise ship speed in kilometers is around 32 to 40 km/h.

However, that’s not the universal speed. It can vary depending on the location and the cruise line you have chosen. Some cruise ships can go as fast as 38.9 to 44.4 km/h.

How Fast Do Cruise Ships Go At Night?

There is no defined speed for ships to follow at night. They can follow the cruising speed at which they would typically travel during the daytime. However, at night some cruise companies prefer to keep the night journey a bit slower than a day.

In a nutshell, it depends on the ship and some other factors but typically, a cruise ship travels at around 14 to 20 knots per hour at night. As mentioned before, not all ships have the same speed. It can vary depending on a lot of factors.

What Factors Affect A Cruise Ship?

Even if the passengers wanted the captain to cross the sea as quickly as possible, it would not be a good idea. The captains take their time for various reasons. If you decide to speed up the process, it should serve a purpose. Here are a few key factors that affect cruising speed:

    • Itinerary: Depending on the destination, the ship may go slightly slower or slightly faster than usual. For example, crossing the Gulf of Alaska can slow down the movement of ships to prepare for marine life and maintain stability in rough waters.
      Occasionally, the captain will sit back, allowing passengers to enjoy great views and photographs of fjords, volcanoes, or old coastal towns. Also, going to the harbor will slow you down when entering the harbor. However, ships can move faster when sailing at sea, especially if the target is far away.
    • Fuel Saving: The main reason cruise ships travel slowly and at a comfortable speed is for fuel economy. Unlike driving a car on a highway, a ship must provide a high level of water resistance. It consumes a lot of energy and burns fuel quickly.
      The faster the ship, the greater the resistance. Cargo ships can burn about 225 tons of fuel per day at a speed of 24 knots. If the same ship slows down by just 21 knots, fuel consumption drops to 150 tons per day or about 33%. Slowness has an impact on the economy and the environment.
    • Weather: Speed affects this in different ways. First, the force and direction of the wind can act on or against the boat. For example, when the wind is pushing the boat, it is difficult to maintain speed because it takes more energy and fuel to move forward.
      Another factor is the weather forecast. The captain may decide to completely choke off the storm in still water. However, the captain makes an informed decision that puts the safety and comfort of his guests first.
    • Emergencies: Ships can speed up or slow down to respond to an emergency. For example, in an “extraneous” situation, the ship slows down and begins a rescue operation. On the other hand, when the captain receives a distress signal from another ship, he will seek help as soon as possible.

How Far Can A Cruise Ship Travel In A Day?

Again, this depends on a lot of possible factors such as how fast the ship is cruising, what type of ship it is, and some other factors. To give you an idea, let’s make it a bit simple.

If a cruise ship travels at the standard service speed, it can cover a total of around 480 nautical miles in 24 hours. It’s equivalent to 552 land miles and around 889 kilometers.

How Fast Do Disney Cruise Ships Go?

On average, Disney cruises travel at 22 knots (25 mph). In kilometers, the cruise is traveling at 41 km/h. But the maximum speed of the Disney Dream cruise is 24.7 knots (45.7 km/h).

Read more about: Disney Alaska Cruise


In this blog, I’ve shared with you everything you should know about the traveling speed of a cruise. You’ve also come to know about how much a ship can go in a day plus the factors that affect the cruising speed of the ship.

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