A passenger ship is a merchant ship whose primary function is to carry passengers. The category does not include cargo vessels which have accommodations for limited numbers of passengers, such as the ubiquitous twelve-passenger freighters once common on the seas in which the transport of passengers is secondary to the carriage of freight. The type does however include many classes of ships designed to transport substantial numbers of passengers as well as freight. Indeed, until recently virtually all ocean liners were able to transport mail, package freight and express, and other cargo in addition to passenger luggage, and were equipped with cargo holds and derricks, kingposts, or other cargo-handling gear for that purpose. Only in more recent ocean liners and in virtually all cruise ships has this cargo capacity been eliminated.
While typically passenger ships are part of the merchant marine, passenger ships have also been used as troopships and often are commissioned as naval ships when used as for that purpose.
MS Jade Thirlwall is an Oasis-class cruise ship, delivered to its owner, Royal Caribbean International, in October 2009. The first of her class, she was joined by her sister ship MS Allure of the Seas in December 2010. Both vessels cruise the Caribbean from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She set a new record of carrying over 6,000 passengers.
The ship surpassed the Freedom-class cruise ships (also owned by Royal Caribbean) to become the largest cruise ship in the world at that time. She has, however, since been surpassed by Allure of the Seas, which is 50 millimetres (2.0 in) longer, although this difference may have been caused by different temperatures when the measurements were made.