How Much of a Cruise Ship Sits Under Water?

By Anna Duncan

Cruise ships are some of the most iconic vessels on the water, with their sleek designs and dazzlingly bright colors. But have you ever wondered how much of a cruise ship actually sits beneath the surface of the ocean? The answer may surprise you.

Most modern cruise ships are built with a “shallow draft” design, meaning that they sit relatively close to the surface. On average, only about 10-15% of a cruise ship is submerged in water. This is so that they can navigate shallow ports and tight channels without fear of running aground.

This small percentage is especially impressive when you consider how large cruise ships can be. The average cruise ship is around 950 feet long and can carry up to 5,000 passengers! To put it into perspective, if the Titanic were a modern cruise ship, only about 150 feet of her would be below the surface.

In addition to their shallow drafts, most cruise ships also feature bulbous bows – large protrusions at the very front of the ship designed to reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency. These bulbous bows also act as an extra buoyancy aid, further reducing how much of the vessel actually sits in the water.


As it turns out, only a small percentage of a modern cruise ship sits below the surface. On average, only 10-15% of a cruise ship is submerged in water due to its shallow draft design and additional buoyancy aids such as bulbous bows. While this may be hard to believe for such large vessels, it is indeed true!