How Long Does It Take a Cruise Ship to Turn Around?

By Anna Duncan

Turning around a cruise ship is no small feat. Cruise ships are massive vessels that take quite a bit of time and effort to turn in the opposite direction.

While the exact amount of time depends on the size and speed of the ship, it typically takes at least several hours to turn a cruise ship.

The process begins with the captain of the ship issuing orders to slow down or stop the vessel. Once the boat has stopped or slowed to a safe speed, it is usually maneuvered into position by tugboats, which act as giant steering wheels for large ships. The tugboats will then pull or push on either side of the vessel’s hull in order to turn it in the desired direction.

Once positioned correctly, the captain will issue orders to increase speed and begin turning the ship. This is done by gradually increasing power to each side of the vessel’s engine, which causes it to rotate slowly in a circle. At this point, it takes some time for momentum to build before enough power is generated for the boat to start turning.

The speed at which a cruise ship can turn depends on several factors including its weight, size, and momentum. Smaller ships with less weight tend to be able to turn more quickly while larger ships with more weight require more time and effort. Additionally, if there are currents in the water or winds that are pushing against the boat, this can also slow down its turning process.


To sum up, turning around a cruise ship can take several hours depending on its size, weight and other environmental factors like current and wind strength. While this process may seem daunting at first glance, experienced captains have mastered this art form and know exactly how long it will take their particular vessel to make a complete turnaround.