This Could Be the Future of Cruising

lily pads monte carlo
“Lilypads” off the coast of Monte Carlo. – Photo by Vincent Callebaut

Fifty years ago, no one thought cruise ships would evolve into 1,200-foot behemoths capable of carrying 5,000 passengers. And while we’re excited by the innovations on new ships like Quantum of the Seas, it’s hard not to wonder how dramatically different cruise ships will look 50 years from now.

With our curiosity piqued, we scoured the Internet for the craziest cruise ship concept art we could find. Some designs are plausible; others are a long way off, and some are borderline absurd — but they all make us eager to book a cruise in 2060.

1. Sleek and Sexy


cruise ships of the future

If someone said this ship could fly, we would probably believe them.

We’re not sure if this is a cruise ship or a mega-yacht, but we sure want to sail on it. There may not be much open deck space, but this ship looks like it travels between ports so fast you could go to sleep in Cozumel and wake up in St. Thomas.


2. The Floating Island


cruise ships of the future

The new definition of luxury at sea. – Photo by Yacht Island Design

Can’t decide between a cruise and an island resort? With the Tropical Island Paradise by Yacht Island Design, you can have both. The lido deck is rather small, but the huts and palm trees are a classy touch. And it’s impossible not to be excited about the infinity pool on the bow.


3. The City


cruise ships of the future

They could fit a runway on this ship and do away with airport transfers entirely. – Photo by GriffinIncorporated

Think Royal Caribbean's Central Park concept is impressive? This floating city, appropriately dubbed “Atlantis II,” looks like it’s trying to rival the size of Central Park itself. Open space is clearly not an issue with this design, since the ship appears to be one massive lido deck.


4. The Shark Fin


seaorbiter cruise ships of the future

If The SeaOrbiter (left) were to be adapted for cruise purposes, underwater dining would be a must. – Photo by Jacques Rougerie

There’s always something to be said for great views from a balcony, but how amazing would it be to look out your porthole and see a coral reef or a school of fish? What makes this design unlikely is that destination ports would have to be completely redesigned to accommodate a ship that extends this far underwater. At the moment, designer Jacques Rougerie intends for “The SeaOrbiter” to be a research lab, but we cruisers will be keeping our fingers crossed for a commercial version.


5.The Submarine


cruise ships of the future

Do the helicopters and planes mean there's a landing strip on top?

OK, maybe it’s not necessarily designed to go underwater, but we love the prospect of taking a private boat out for a spin on sea days. As strange as this “ship” looks, some of its features already exist: The bow appears to be one giant observation deck like Quantum of the Seas’ Two70 lounge, and some lines — like Seabourn Cruise Line and Paul Gauguin Cruises — already have water sports platforms for kayaks, personal watercrafts, and water-skiing.


6. The Skyscraper


cruise ships of the future
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