How Old Is the Oldest Cruise Ship?

By Robert Palmer

The oldest cruise ship in existence is the MV Doulos Phos, a German-built cargo vessel, which is now a Christian bookseller and floating library. According to Guinness World Records, the ship was launched in 1914 and has been sailing around the world since then, making it the longest-serving passenger vessel in the world.

The MV Doulos Phos is over 100 years old and has circumnavigated the globe 28 times since its launch. It was originally built by Blohm & Voss of Hamburg for a German shipping company, but it was requisitioned by the British Royal Navy during World War I.

After the war, it was returned to its owners and renamed “Doulos” (Greek for “servant”). In 1934, it was sold again to a Greek shipping company and renamed “Doulos Phos” (Greek for “servant of light”).

The MV Doulos Phos has had several owners over the years and has served many different purposes. During World War II, it was used as a hospital ship in both Europe and Africa.

After the war, it was used as an oceanographic research vessel. In 1961, it became a floating library operated by GBA Ships eV (an international Christian mission organization). The ship currently operates as a bookstore and library on board and provides educational programs for children in many parts of the world.

Despite its age, the MV Doulos Phos is still seaworthy and continues to sail around the world today. The ship underwent major renovations in 2008 to make sure it could continue sailing safely into its second century of service. After more than 106 years at sea, it remains one of the oldest cruise ships still in operation today.


The MV Doulos Phos is officially recognized as being over 100 years old by Guinness World Records – making it one of the oldest cruise ships still in existence today! Despite its age, this incredible vessel has been able to survive through two world wars and countless other challenges throughout its long history – all while continuing to serve passengers around the world!