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Knots to MPH: How Fast Is a Knot And More

Melinda Crow
Assistant SEO Editor
Marilyn Borth

Last updated
Jan 25, 2023

Read time
2 min read

Cruise ship captains often impart a great deal of information about your sailing during daily announcements. One of the tidbits usually shared is the speed of the ship, which is given in knots.

But how fast is a knot? How does a nautical mile tie into knots? And how fast does a cruise ship go while on the high seas?

We went ahead and found the answers to these pressing questions, among others, including how to easily convert knots to miles per hour (mph). That way, the next time your captain makes an announcement on the current cruise ship speed, you'll know exactly what they mean.

What Is a Knot?

One knot is equal to one nautical mile per hour. That, of course, raises another question: What is the difference between a nautical mile and a land (statute) mile?

What Is a Nautical Mile?

A nautical mile is the distance between two points or minutes of latitude on the globe, which is equal to roughly 1.15 statute miles.

Keep in mind that nautical miles and knots are different, as the former is a measurement of distance while the latter is a measurement of speed.

Converting Knots to MPH

To convert knots into miles per hour, simply multiply the value of knots by 1.15 to get miles per hour. Conversely, if you're looking to convert mph to knots, divide the miles per hour value by 1.15.

So, for example, if your cruise ship is traveling at 20 knots (kn), that means it is going 23 miles per hour. What about 10 knots to mph? That's 11.5 mph. And 100 knots to mph: 115.

But what speeds should you expect while on your cruise?

How Fast Do Cruise Ships Go?

Most cruise ships can cruise at a speed around 21 to 23 knots (24 to 26 mph).

As you might've already guessed, many factors influence the speed of a cruise ship at any given time, including distance to the next port, wave height and fuel conservation.

The fastest cruise ship in service today is Cunard's Queen Mary 2, with a reported top speed of 30 knots, or 34.5 mph.

Publish date January 25, 2023
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