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Dublin: 7 °C Thursday 12 December, 2019

The world's largest cruise ship sets off today

It has a robotic bar and a ten-storey waterslide. As you do.

France Harmony of the seas Source: Laetitia Notarianni

THE WORLD’S LARGEST cruise ship sets off for Southampton today, before setting off on its maiden voyage next week.

The 120,000-tonne Harmony of the Seas, a luxury home on the waves for 8,500 passengers and crew, was handed over by a French shipyard on Thursday after a 40-month engineering feat.

At 66 metres, it is the widest cruise ship ever built, while its 362-metre length makes it 50 metres longer than the height of the Eiffel Tower.

The floating town, which cost close to €1 billion, has 16 decks and will be able to carry 6,360 passengers and 2,100 crew members.

France Harmony of the seas The auditorium on the ship. Source: Laetitia Notarianni

The ship was built for the US-based Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) by the STX France boatyard in Saint-Nazaire on the Atlantic coast, where a spectacular ceremony marked the handover on Thursday.

“It’s not only the biggest cruise ship in the world, it’s also the most expensive ever built,” said Richard Fain, head of RCCL, during a ceremony which featured blaring music and tightrope walkers performing splits over the aquatheatre at the back of the ship.

Among the onboard attractions are The Ultimate Abyss, a 10-storey slide from the top deck to the main deck which RCCL bills as the world’s biggest ship-mounted waterslide.

HM-Crew2016-005 The crew of the ship. Source: Michel Verdure

A giant climbing wall, a rope slide, mini-golf, surf simulator, floating jacuzzis, casino and 1,400-seat theatre playing Broadway musicals are among the other attractions.

Two robot barmen will serve passengers in the Bionic Bar.

The ship even has its own high street, and a Central Park deck featuring 12,000 plant species.

PastedImage-93393 Source: Royal Caribbean International

The ship will have its home port in Barcelona and will embark on the first of 34 seven-night sailings in the western Mediterranean on 7 June.

In November, it will move to Fort Lauderdale in Florida.

Harmony of the Seas will span 16 guest decks, encompass 227,000 gross registered tons, carry 5,479 guests at double occupancy, and feature 2,747 staterooms.

Read: The largest cruise ship in the world has set sail – here’s what it looks like

Read: We must be doing something right – trips by foreigners to Irish shores are up in a big, big way

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