Difference Between Oceanliner and Cruise Ship

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Oceanliner and Cruise Ship

Why read @ Diffzy

Our articles are well-researched

We make unbiased comparisons

Our content is free to access

We are a one-stop platform for finding differences and comparisons

We compare similar terms in both tabular forms as well as in points


An ocean liner and a cruise ship are ships that are used for travel on the water, with the former specifically designed to cross oceans, and the latter used for inter-coastal travel or river cruises. So, what exactly does it mean when people say ocean liner or cruise ship? How do they differ from each other? These are just some of the questions that come up when we talk about ocean liners and cruise ships, so let’s take a look at the difference between an ocean liner and a cruise ship in more detail.

An ocean liner is a ship used to transport passengers across an ocean. A cruise ship, on the other hand, is specifically designed for leisurely travel. As of 2010, there were more than 16,000 ocean liners in operation around the world—many of which are considered to be among some of history’s most impressive ships. The first known record of a trans-oceanic vessel was Chinese Song Dynasty Admiral Shi Gong’s treasure fleet which consisted of 62 ships that made their maiden voyage in 1177 CE from Guangzhou (Canton) to Kedah Port on Malaysia’s west coast as part of China’s maritime expansion into Southeast Asia. In terms of size, all ocean liners fall somewhere between cruise ships and bulk cargo vessels. Some can carry up to 5,000 passengers; others have been built with enough space for more than 10 times that number. Although not all ocean liners are built with luxury in mind, many feature amenities such as swimming pools, movie theaters, and spas. There are two main types of ocean liners: passenger and merchant vessels. Passenger vessels include ferries and cruise ships; merchant’s vessels include freighters and tankers. Ocean liners serve a variety of purposes, including transporting goods and people. They can also be categorized by their propulsion system. Ocean liners powered by diesel engines are called diesel-powered ships or container ships if they transport containers rather than passengers. Ocean liners powered by steam engines are called steamboats. Steamboats began operating in 1807 when Thomas Waghorn shipped mail via a paddle steamer from Falmouth to Alexandria on Egypt's Mediterranean Sea coast during Napoleon's blockade of Great Britain. Ocean liners powered by nuclear reactors are called nuclear-powered ships or icebreakers if they're used primarily for navigating through polar ice caps instead of transporting goods and people over long distances.

Ocean Liner vs Cruise Ship

Ocean liners travel a fixed route at a specific time, while cruise ships can choose their route. Ocean liner ships are larger and more expensive than cruise ships; however, if your itinerary includes an overnight stay in one of several ports of call, then an ocean liner may be a good choice for you. Since cruises follow a set itinerary with known port stops, passengers know what to expect ahead of time. Onboard amenities tend to be similar between both types of ships with only slight differences—for example, most have casinos. A larger number of on-board activities will be available on ocean liners compared to cruise lines since ocean liners spend more time at sea than cruise ships do during their journeys between ports. Food quality tends to be higher on ocean liners due to longer stopovers at each destination. However, cruise ship food has improved over recent years so that it’s no longer as much of a difference as it used to be. If you want greater flexibility when traveling or prefer more scheduled activities onboard, then consider booking a cruise instead of an ocean liner. If you like being able to explore different destinations over long periods or enjoy luxury accommodations, then book an ocean liner instead. The main thing is that both options offer plenty of fun onboard experiences!

Difference Between Ocean liner and Cruise Ship in Tabular Form

Parameters Of Comparison Ocean Liner Cruise Ship
Define An ocean liner is a passenger ship that takes people from one point to another. Cruise ship takes passengers on a round trip. The trip includes numerous stopping points along the journey.
Passenger The Queen Mary 2 carries up to 2,620 passengers, while Queen Elizabeth carries nearly 3,000 The passenger capacity in a cruise ship mainly refers to how many passengers can be accommodated in one trip, and most of them are calculated based on two ways, gross tonnage of the ship or net tonnage of the ship.
Used to Ocean liners are also used to carry cargo and mail. Cruise ships are meant only for passengers.
Routes Ocean liner usually lets off passengers to their various destinations. A cruise ship follows a regular route and returns its passengers to the port.

What is an Ocean Liner?

Ocean liners are shipped with sleeping accommodations, restaurants, lounges, a ballroom or theatre, stores to buy souvenirs from, and casinos on ships. They are large enough to include amenities similar to those found in land-based resorts such as golf courses, swimming pools, and spas. Most ocean liners operate cruises to destinations on all of the world's oceans. The term ocean liner also refers to vessels used by ocean liner companies on regular overseas routes that are generally more than 100 miles in length. Such vessels have become less common due to advances in aircraft design since World War II.

Passenger Capacity in Ocean Liner

The Queen Mary 2 carries up to 2,620 passengers, while Queen Elizabeth carries nearly 3,000. However, neither of these ocean liners fit that many people – each ship has lounges, clubs, and other spaces where passengers aren’t counted in those figures. On most cruise ships passenger capacity refers to how many cabins are available. Generally, a cruise ship can sleep between 300 and 600 people.

Meals, Activities & Entertainment in Ocean Liner

Most ocean liners include a multitude of activities, from sit-down dinners to evening entertainment. The menu on an ocean liner will also reflect varied choices to give passengers a vast array of dishes. Ocean liners are often built with a variety of different types of restaurants so people can enjoy the food they would otherwise never eat. As far as activities go, some ocean liners offer things like shuffleboard courts, board games, or even an onboard casino. These ships are designed to be relaxing while providing passengers with plenty to do if they choose not to partake in relaxing opportunities such as dancing or playing cards in one of many designated areas on board. Most also come equipped with pools, gyms, and spas on board as well.

Onboard Amenities & Services in Ocean Liner

The Ocean liner features a large number of onboard amenities including a sauna, spa, cinema, casino (with games like roulette, blackjack, or baccarat), barber shop, beauty salon & fitness center. The variety in dining options is wide too with restaurants offering diverse cuisine ranging from Chinese & Japanese to Indian & Thai food. Also, there are shopping areas selling products ranging from toys to perfume. For entertainment purposes, they also have music lounges playing the latest Bollywood hits. They have 3 decks dedicated to relaxation where most rooms can access a balcony. Wi-Fi hotspots are available at no additional cost but the speed depends on the occupancy level onboard which can vary during the peak holiday season period when all facilities may be fully utilized at peak hours.

The Cost of Ocean Liner

There are many costs associated with an ocean liner. Transportation from one location to another may be included in your trip, or if not, that will be an additional cost. Meals and sleeping accommodations are also additional costs to consider; as well as port taxes, which can range depending on where you travel. There are often early-booking discounts available when purchasing tickets for a large ship cruise line. Prices can also vary depending on what time of year or even the day of the week you decide to go on your trip. In addition to transportation, food, and accommodations, there will likely be fees for entertainment, Wi-Fi accesses onboard the ship as well as destination tours that you might want to take while in port.

What is Cruise Ship?

A cruise ship or luxury liner (also referred to as a passenger liner) is a ship used for pleasure voyages where multiple destinations are visited. Typically, one cruise ship will operate three or more cruises per year, with each being several days to a week long. Cruise ships operate primarily on scheduled sailings, taking passengers from port to port during a voyage, often visiting different countries. There are also various types of cruise ships, which are categorized by their size and destination. River cruising has been popular since Victorian times; however, it was not until after World War II that ocean liners were mass-produced in large quantities, with many governments subsidizing their construction.

Passenger Capacity in Cruise Ship

The passenger capacity in a cruise ship mainly refers to how many passengers can be accommodated in one trip, and most of them are calculated based on two ways, gross tonnage of the ship or net tonnage of the ship. The former will offer a larger space for accommodations compared with net tonnage, so it is regarded as a measurement standard. The normal capacity range of cruise ships lies between 500 passengers to 3000 passengers. Besides that, some huge ships like Disney Dream (5548 GT) even have a capacity of up to 5400 guests. In general, a 10000GT cruise ship could accommodate around 4000 guests which is amazing!

Meals, Activities & Entertainment in Cruise Ship

There are many activities on board a cruise ship. At night, there may be dancing, shows, and all kinds of other fun things to do. Foodservice, however, happens three times a day! As such, if any part of your travel plans involves being on a cruise ship without shore excursions for extended periods (three days or more), make sure to bring enough snacks to get you through! Also, keep in mind that what you need may not be what everyone else needs. In general, people tend to stay out at night rather than sleep during the evenings when sailing; it’s just sort of a different pace compared to ocean liners.

Onboard Amenities & Services in Cruise Ship

One of the reasons why cruise passengers love cruising so much is because of all of its onboard amenities. From pools to spas, fitness centers to libraries, cruises truly have something to offer for everyone. Passengers love getting to eat what they want, when they want, and where they want, from a huge array of restaurants, all at their fingertips. They also get to choose from several activities that are organized by their cruise line each day or can choose to partake in one-off organized activities (for a fee). These range from yoga classes, chair massages or even learning how to paint in watercolors. However, one thing these services have in common is that they’re included as part of your fare—cruise lines make their money from alcohol sales!

The Cost of Cruise Ship

Cruise ships typically cost less than ocean liners. Generally, cruise ships are smaller (which means more trips per day) and have fewer amenities. However, depending on your trip length, booking a cruise ship could be more affordable than booking an ocean liner. Keep in mind that smaller ships don't always mean cheaper prices—you'll also want to make sure that your itinerary's ports of call are convenient. For example, it may make sense to opt for a long journey on a larger ship if you're simply looking to relax during your vacation. Or, if you'd prefer to hit as many destinations as possible in a shorter amount of time (with potentially less relaxing hours), taking a smaller ship would likely save money without sacrificing too much on amenities or service quality.

The Main Difference Between an Ocean liner and a Cruise Ship in Points

  • Ocean liners are passenger vessels that were once used to transport passengers from one place to another through oceans.
  • Ocean liners are different from cruise ships as cruise ships are built for luxury whereas ocean liners serve as cargo vessels.
  • Ocean liners have less in size than a cruise ship but these boats are mainly used by rich people who can afford luxuries.
  • One thing common between ocean liners and cruise ships is that both of them provide all facilities such as swimming pools, gyms, bars, restaurants, etc. to make their passengers happy during traveling.
  • They travel at high speeds through seas which take less time than traveling by airplanes or carriages over long distances.
  • Both ocean liners and cruise ships are luxurious vehicles with many facilities onboard.


The final verdict will depend on where in Europe or Asia you want to travel, how long you have, what your budget is like, and how much time off you can take. If all things are equal, pick a carrier that has destinations in many European capitals that appeal to you. The same applies to Europe-Asia connections. Pick a carrier that has direct flights to cities that interest you with several options a day. For example, Qatar flies daily from Doha (the Qatari capital) to Dubai (in the United Arab Emirates).


Cite this article

Use the citation below to add this article to your bibliography:



MLA Style Citation

"Difference Between Oceanliner and Cruise Ship." Diffzy.com, 2024. Thu. 29 Feb. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-oceanliner-and-cruise-ship-821>.

Edited by

Share this article