How Many Gallons of Fuel Does a Cruise Ship Use?

By Michael Ferguson

Cruise ships are meant to be luxurious and exciting vacations, but many travelers are unaware of the sheer amount of fuel such a vessel uses. Cruise ships range in size from small river boats to large ocean liners, and all require fuel when traveling from port to port.

The amount of fuel a cruise ship uses depends on its size, passenger capacity, and type of voyage it is taking.

For example, a cruise ship carrying 2,500 passengers on a week-long Caribbean vacation will require much more fuel than one carrying 200 passengers on a three-day trip around the Mediterranean. A typical mid-sized cruise ship carrying up to 2,000 passengers will use between 200,000 and 400,000 gallons of fuel throughout the course of its voyage.

Larger vessels with greater passenger capacity can use up to 1 million gallons or more during their trips.

Cruise ships also have auxiliary engines used for running power generators and other onboard machinery that consume additional amounts of fuel. Additionally, larger vessels may require more fuel if they are sailing in rough seas or have to spend time maneuvering through tight passages.

Cruise lines are increasingly becoming aware of the environmental impact of their ships’ emissions and some have begun implementing changes in order to reduce their overall carbon footprint. Efforts include increasing efficiency through technology such as advanced hull design and using alternative fuels like liquefied natural gas (LNG).


The amount of fuel used by cruise ships can vary greatly depending on their size and the type of voyage they are taking. On average, mid-sized vessels can use between 200,000 and 400,000 gallons per trip while larger ships may consume up to 1 million gallons or more. Cruise lines are making efforts to reduce emissions by utilizing technology such as advanced hull design and alternative fuels like LNG.