The world’s biggest cruise-liner, Symphony of the Seas, has left the shipyard of Saint-Nazaire in France to embark on its maiden voyage in the Mediterranean.
French shipbuilder STX handed over to U.S. giant Royal Caribbean International on Friday.
The ship, which weighs 228,000 tonnes, is 362 metres long just 20 metres shy of the length of the Empire State Building.
It is marginally bigger than its sister ship, the Harmony of the Seas , which STX France delivered to Royal Caribbean in 2016.
It holds an ice rink, water park and full-size basketball court along with 2,700 cabins. “We said thank you in a fairly tangible way. We actually said it a billion times and each one was one euro,” joked Royal Caribbean boss Richard Fain, referring to the ship’s price tag.
Built over two years, the Symphony can hold up to 8,000 people including 2,200 staff and is billed as faster and quieter than the Harmony .
The Symphony will head to Malaga in Spain and spending its first season in the Mediterranean before heading to its home port of Miami.
The Symphony is the 13th ship that STX has built for Royal Caribbean and comes as the French manufacturer returns to good times, with orders for two ships a year until 2020 — a rate it has not enjoyed for 15 years. STX, which has a staff of 8,000 and also builds warships, is also building the Celebrity Edge , the first of a series of smaller and more luxurious liners for Royal Caribbean.