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She is a true leviathan of the oceans. Weighing in at 227,000 tons – and 124ft longer than the Eiffel Tower is tall – the new Harmony Of The Seas is the largest cruise ship ever to set sail.
The awesome vessel – which set out on its maiden trial voyage last week – is so vast it even houses a scaled down version of New York’s Central Park within its 18 decks – complete with 10,587 plants and 52 trees up to 20ft tall.
An astonishing feat of engineering, built at a cost more than £800 million, Harmony Of The Seas pulled slowly out of Saint-Nazaire in France, where she was built, with no fewer than three pilots on board – specially trained on computer simulators – to guide her through the difficult manoeuvres needed to exit the estuary.
Such is the scale of the quarter-of-a-mile long Royal Caribbean International ship, when its first 6,000 passengers board in Southampton in May they will be issued with GPS-style wrist trackers so they won’t get lost in her labyrinthine interiors.
And a squad of ‘Royal Genie’ butlers will be at the beck and call of VIP guests. Thrill seekers will be able to choose from four onboard slides, including the Ultimate Abyss, the world’s tallest slide at sea, boasting an impressive 100ft plunge.
Elsewhere, a zipwire will whizz adventurous guests nine decks above the open-air atrium, robots will pour cocktails at a ‘bionic bar’, and passengers can learn to surf on a ship-board wave simulator.
Entertainment includes Broadway’s hit musical, Grease in the full-size theatre, a state-of the-art multimedia ice rink spectacular and high-flying acrobatics.
The ship has 16 restaurants and cafes – including a Jamie’s Italian – boutique shopping on the Royal Promenade, and high-speed wi-fi in the staterooms. And for voyagers wanting a challenge, there’s the Escape Room where guests have to try to break out by solving a series of puzzles.
Vast and full of surprises, Harmony Of The Seas is like something from the imagination of Jules Verne.