Top 5: Most costly or silly cruise ships ever designed

The ships on our list would cost a total of US $18-billion to build and they're all so far-fetched, only one has actually been put to sea.
Titanic II
Titanic II
Oasis-class front liner Oasis of the Seas
Oasis-class front liner Oasis of the Seas
MV Eoseas
MV Eoseas
Princess Kaguya
Princess Kaguya
Freedom Ship
Freedom Ship

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5. Titanic 2US $500-million

Australian billionaire Clive Palmer planned to put the icon RMS Titanic to sea once more with an ambitious project to build a replica at a Chinese shipyard.

The project was announced in 2012, on the 100th anniversary of the original ship’s sinking. Titanic II was to sail for Blue Star Line, a reference to the owners of the original ships, White Star Line, and her maiden voyage would have been… yes, you guessed it, a cruise from Southampton to New York, following the exact route taken by RMS Titanic more than 100 years ago.

She was due for launch in 2016, but in 2013 this mad-hat project was apparently abandoned, although Palmer has not officially said as much.

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4. EoseasUS $740-million

This is undoubtedly the largest sailing ship concept ever envisaged and although construction has not yet begun, a memorandum of understanding has reportedly been signed between Stirling Design International and STX Europe, the same shipyard that built Queen Mary 2 (currently the largest ocean liner in the world) and Oasis and Allure of the Seas (the two largest cruise ships in the world). She would be the largest sailing ship ever built, accommodating 3,311 passengers and displacing 105,000-gross tons.

Her innovative sail plan is intended to cut her fuel consumption by up to half, and if she is actually launched by 2016, and if her design proves feasible in operation, she may just become the cruise ship of the future. However, at the time of writing she remained a design concept, with no signs of actual development, making her 2016 launch date unrealistic at best.

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3. Oasis-class US $1.4-billion

The only cruise ship design on our list to actually see the light of day, Royal Caribbean, the second-largest cruise line in the world, has launched two of these monsters with two on order (the third is currently being built and will launch in 2016, the fourth in 2018).

Royal Caribbean is all about ice rinks and rock climbing walls to surf simulators and zip-lines and the Oasis-class ships’ size is a result of all that Royal Caribbean wanted to offer onboard. The ships accommodate 6,360 passengers in 2,700 staterooms on 16 decks.

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2. Princess KaguyaUS $5.4-billion

Despite what the name of this project may lead you to believe, it is in fact in no way related to Princess Cruises. Instead, this gargantuan cruise ship concept was developed by Ocean Silk Road and was to be built at Aker Yards under Japan Contents Network’s supervision. This mammoth project was to be a floating apartment-block or hotel apartment-style cruise liner, with 3,610 suites accommodating up to 8,400 passengers across 20 decks and a crew of 4,000.

Her 500m length and 450,000-gross ton size would have made her far and away the largest passenger ship ever built (twice the size of the Oasis-class ships on previous page). The project has been on hold since the 2008 financial crash, and is unlikely to see the light of day.

Apart from the staggering cost of building and operating her, very few cruise ports could accommodate her, and precious few commercial ports. The projects ambition was impressive though; general layouts for the ship suggested a floating ‘city state’ concept, with three independent hotels, a shopping mall, convention hall, sports event hall, concert arena and 50 restaurants and bars.

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1. Freedom ShipUS $10-billion

This is by far the most far-fetched passenger ship design concept ever dreamed up. Not just in terms of size (1,280m long!), but also because of the extraordinary cost (the entire nominal GDP of Malta). The estimated funding needed for such a concept to be built is roughly a third of the entire federal budget for the United Arab Emirates in 2014. For the same amount of money, Royal Caribbean could build seven more Oasis-class cruise ships.

If such a monster were ever launched, however, it would have to be built at sea because no shipyard could accommodate her and the final result would be terrifying. The design calls for a 25-deck floating city with a permanent on board population of 70,000 people (50,000 residents and 20,000 crew), as well as 10,000 daily visitors (who would arrive via plane as the top deck would be an airport). The Freedom Ship would have its own schools, parks, hospitals and a casino (just one?) and would permanently circle the globe chasing the sun.

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