How Much Fuel Does a Cruise Ship Need and How Does It Refuel?

Cruise ships


By: Owen Elling, Journalist


Large cruise ships, 900 to 1,100 feet long, can carry 1 to 2 million gallons of fuel. A small vessel like a 440-foot ferry can carry about 130,000 gallons of fuel, while a huge vessel over 1,300 feet long she can carry over 4 million gallons. Windstar’s largest ship is less than her 600 feet in length, so, as you might imagine, it uses far less fuel than a typical cruise ship.

A large white boat travels across a blue sea.

Operators of ocean-going vessels, such as passenger cruise ships, rely on the availability of fuel in the ports they sail. Fortunately, according to the California Air Resources Board (CARB), more than 400 ports around the world offer marine fuel. When it is time for a cruise ship to refuel in port, small vessels called barges bring fuel to the ship. The process called refueling requires teamwork.

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