world's largest cruise ship

Harmony of the Seas sails into Southampton

The world’s largest cruise ship – dubbed “Europe’s biggest hotel” – which set sail from France for the UK at the weekend has docked at the port of Southampton.

The 227,000-ton Harmony of the Seas, which cost $1bn (£700m), has the capacity to carry 6,780 passengers and 2,100 crew members.

It has been compared to a floating city with more than 2,747 staterooms, 20 restaurants, 23 swimming pools and a park with more than 10,000 plants and 50 trees.

It also boasts what it describes as seven neighbourhoods which include a cinema, promenade, sports and youth zones, an entertainment palace and spa and fitness centre.

At 362 metres (1,188 feet) long, the 16-deck ship is bigger than the Eiffel Tower and is the widest cruise ship ever built at 65 metres (215 feet).

US-based Royal Caribbean Cruises took possession of the liner earlier this month at a ceremony at the STX shipyard in Saint-Nazaire in France, where it was built.

Tens of thousands of well-wishers waved it goodbye as it set sail for England on Sunday.

“It’s gone,” said one figure in the crowd. “We watched it develop and grow over three years. It’s like a child leaving home.”

The ship will now undergo preparations for her inaugural voyage with passengers on 22 May to Rotterdam.

Gavin Smith, senior vice president of Royal Caribbean, told Sky News: “The amazing port here in Southampton made us very welcome.

“It is a beautiful day for what is going to be one of the greatest days in the company’s history.”

Here are some more facts about Harmony of the Seas:

:: 22 knots cruising speed

:: 30 feet draft – the minimum depth of water it can safely negotiate

:: 18 decks in total (16 of which are guest decks)

:: 4 bow thrusters, with 7,500 horse power each

:: 24 lifts for guests

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