A cruise ship nowadays can travel at cruise speed ( average speed maintained for a specific vessel) of around 20knts, but she (discover why the ships are called she), can travel more fast, about 24 knots maximum.

These values given before are the medium value that usually can be possible in suitable environmental conditions.

The speed of 20 knots can be considered fast for a cruise ship if we think that cruise ship is carrying around 3000 passengers and 1000 crew members. High speed is not the primary focus, but the SAFETY OF NAVIGATION is.


Here a list of factors that affect how fast a cruise ship can go:

1-   Environmental Condition: One of the primary check, when the officers and captain start a voyage, is to check the weather conditions for the leg of the journey that the ship has to make, and adjust to it.

The captain with his officers will decide the average speed to maintain, but usually, the speed is reduced or increased to avoid some low pressure and arrive before the port of destination.

2- Itinerary speed: This is the main factor that affects the speed of a cruise ship. The cruise ships are very organized and have a perfect time to respect from a port to another.

For this reason, they set specific rule of when coming back on board to the excursion; otherwise, the ship has to go faster and utilize more fuel, and this will bring to a negative impact to the society because it means more cost

3- Traffic: During a relaxing cruise, the passengers don’t care about it, but during the watchkeeping of the officer and especially in some areas of the world the speed is a crucial element to avoid conflict traffic.

4- Fuel consumption: As for every company the expensive to maintain a service is the almost the main factors after the quality and security of service, for this reason, the fuel consumption is strictly monitored by society and an also a minimum change of speed for an extended period time, must be reported to it.


The fastest cruise ship nowadays is the Queen Mary 2, this thanks to its Integrated electric propulsion;

In details:

Diesel generators & gas turbines used to generate electricity to drive four Rolls-Royce/Alstom Mermaid propulsion units (4 × 21.5 MW) can reach 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph).  

On marine navigation, this speed is considered fast, considering that cargo ships and tankers have an average speed of 12-14 knots maximum; we can say that the Queen Mary 2 beyond to be considered one of the most beautiful ship on the world is also a fast cruise ship.