Do you know how cruise ships are built?


By: Bambi Turner

6 Min Quiz

Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

In the early 1900s, the Titanic revolutionized the cruise industry as the largest and most luxurious passenger ship ever built. A century later, the world's largest cruise ships are more than five times the size of that legendary vessel, with thousands of staterooms, multiple pools and dozens of places to dine. Take our quiz to see how much you know about cruise ship construction.

What part of the ship is usually built first?

Think of the hull as the base of the ship. It's usually constructed first, on dry land, to form the bottom of the boat and give builders a base layer to build off of.


What is the part of the ship above the main deck called?

The portion of the ship above the main deck is known as the superstructure. On modern ships, it can be more than a dozen stories tall.


Where is most of a ship assembled?

Most mega ships are built in facilities known as dry docks. These are areas where a ship can be constructed, then the area is filled with water so the completed ship can be floated out to sea.


How do ships float?

Huge cruise ships float just like any other floating object; the weight of the ship is the weight of the water in tons that the vessel must displace to stay afloat.


Which of these is true of the largest cruise ships?

The hull is the bottom part of the ship. On the largest cruise ships, the hull is built extremely wide so the ship can stay afloat without hitting shallow sea bottoms on creating a lot of drag under the water.


What is the design life of a standard cruise ship?

A standard cruise ship is built with an eye towards a 30-year life. Despite this, most North American cruise ships are sold after 15 to 20 years. After 30 years, it often becomes so expensive to maintain the ship that it is no longer profitable to operate.


Where are most huge cruise ships built?

There are only around four shipyards in the world capable of building cruise ships valued at $500 million or more, and three of them are in Europe.


How are cruise ship cabins built?

Cruise ship cabins are modular and are built in an assembly-line fashion before they are inserted into the nearly-completed ship like stacks of blocks.


How much did it cost to build Harmony of the Seas, the biggest ship in the world as of 2017?

Royal Caribbean has the top three biggest ships in the world in 2017. The largest, Harmony of the Seas, came with a $1.5 billion price tag.


How many passengers can the world's largest cruise ships carry in 2017?

The biggest cruise ships on the planet weigh 226,000 tons and carry more than 6,500 passengers -- not to mention thousands of crew members -- as of 2017.


What are the stories on a boat called?

Cruise ship floors or stories are called decks and are similar to the stories in a tall building. The biggest ships can have 20 decks or more -- making them taller than the Eiffel Tower.


Where are the engines on a ship placed?

The engines and other heavy equipment on a cruise ship are placed deep underwater within the hull. This keeps the weight of the boat low, helping to stabilize the vessel while it's at sea.


What is side-to-side movement on a boat called?

The motion of the waves can rock a cruise ship side to side, a motion known as heeling. Modern cruise ships are built with anti-heeling stabilizers, or wings, that prevent passengers from feeling excess heeling.


What is the portion of the boat below the water called?

The draft is the depth of a boat below the waterline, while air draft is the distance from the water to the top point of the boat. As modern cruise ships are built taller and taller, air draft climbs to new heights.


How many man hours did it take to build Harmony of the Seas, one of the largest cruise ships in the world as of 2017?

Building a mega ship is no small matter. The 2,500 workers who built Harmony of the Seas spent 10 million man hours crafting the vessel between 2013 and 2016.


Which of these is most likely to limit the size of ships?

Design and industry experts interviewed about the ever-increasing size of cruise ships typically site port access as the primary factor against building bigger ships. For many, the ship must be agile enough to access standard ports, which gets more difficult as ships get larger.


A fire aboard the Carnival Splendor in 2010 led to a law that all cruise ships must have this:

After a fire destroyed the Splendor's engine room, the ship was left adrift for several days. Because of the incident, all cruise ships built since 2010 must have sufficient backup power to get the ship safely back to shore in this type of emergency.


What is the hull of most cruise ships made of?

The construction of the modern cruise ship starts when sheets of steel are cut with lasers, then welded together to form a tough hull that forms the bottom of the boat.


How are electrical and plumbing systems installed?

Just like the cabins themselves, the electrical and plumbing networks on modern cruise ships are installed in panels, which are constructed on shore. The panels are then brought onto the ship and fit together like a giant jigsaw puzzle.


Which part of the ship is fitted out first?

Typically, once the hull is complete, the vessel is built from the center out toward each end. That means a central atrium will be put in place before an amphitheater at the back of the boat, for instance.


What type of engine is used on most modern cruise ships?

Most cruise ships use diesel electric engines. That means diesel fuel generates the electricity, which is then used to power the engines or generators. On the very largest Royal Caribbean ships, for instance, the vessels rely on three 25,000-horsepower diesel generators.


How long are the biggest cruise ships?

You need a huge warehouse to build a modern cruise ship. The longest ships -- like Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas -- ring in just under 1,200 feet and weigh around 230,000 tons.


What part of the ship is often referred to as an Azipod?

Modern ships use cutting edge propulsion technology. Thanks to Azipods -- those are propellers mounted on pods with engines inside -- the captain can generate thrust in almost any direction, which is particularly useful when pulling into port.


What ceremony kicks off cruise ship construction?

The construction of every new cruise ship starts with a keel laying ceremony. The keel is the very bottom part of the boat and forms a point down the center of the hull.


Which areas are designed for people to gather in an emergency?

The muster station is where you gather in an emergency to board your lifeboat. The first day you board a new cruise ship, you'll have to attend a muster drill and scout out where your assigned lifeboat is located.


How are existing cruise ships made bigger?

When cruise companies want to make a ship larger, they typically stretch the boat. That means cutting the vessel in half while it's in dry dock and adding a newly-built section before welding the vessel back together. This process takes only a few months, compared to building a new ship, which takes much longer.


How were cruise ships constructed through the end of the 20th century?

The concept of building cruise ships in an assembly line process and linking sections like blocks is fairly new. Until the late 20th century, builders constructed these ships like you'd probably expect -- one layer at a time, starting from the bottom and working their way to the top.


How long does it take the world's top shipyards to build a mega cruise ship?

Thanks to computers used for planning and design, even the largest ships take less than two years to build on average.


Captains can steer large cruise ships within this degree of accuracy.

Thanks to advanced thrusters that work in virtually every direction, the captain can use a simple joystick to steer a large ship to within 15 inches of accuracy.


How much did the Titanic cost to build in today's dollars?

It cost about $7.5 million to build the famous Titanic in 1911. That's around $174 million in today's dollars. Considering that today's ships are five times the size of the Titanic and cost around five times as much to build, the price for the doomed vessel may have been right on track for the time.


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