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The 48.5 Miles Per Gallon Ship

cruise ship mileage

Did you know that a cruise ship can get nearly 50 miles per gallon when cruising at it’s top speed? That’s better than most automobiles.

Of course, that figure comes with a few catches. Let me explain…

According to a factsheet I was given on my recent cruise aboard the Mariner of the Seas, Royal Caribbean says the ship can make 24 knots under full speed.

One knot is equal to 1.15 miles per hour. So the Mariner of the Seas has a top speed of 27.6 miles per hour (24*1.15). That’s extremely fast for a ship of her size.

The same factsheet says the ship burns 2,871 gallons of fuel at full speed — or 48 gallons per minute.

That means to travel one mile at full speed, the ship burns 104 gallons of fuel (2,871/27.6). A little arithmetic — don’t worry, there won’t be a test — tells us the ship moves 51 feet on a gallon of fuel.

So where one earth do we get 48 miles per gallon?

Well, the Mariner of the Seas carries a total of 5,020 people, counting passengers and grew. That means for every gallon of fuel, those people are traveling a total of 256,020 feet (5,020*51). Converted into miles, that distance comes out to 48.5 miles traveled per gallon of fuel.

Not bad for a 138,000 ton ship.

Happy Sailing,


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