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Behold the new world's largest cruise ship

At 228,081gt Symphony of the Seas just outsizes the 226,963gt Harmony of the Seas
STX France handed over the new world titleholder of cruise ships, Symphony of the Seas, to Royal Caribbean Friday at festivities in Saint-Nazaire.

At 228,081gt Symphony of the Seas just outsizes the 226,963gt Harmony of the Seas. Both ships are the same length: 1,188 feet. Double-occupancy is 5,518, while total passenger capacity is 6,680.

Company officials, more than 1,000 crew members and political figures including former French prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault were present. Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International; Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and Laurent Castaing, general manager of STX France, led the traditional flag-changing ceremony.

The construction took 36 months and involved 4,700 shipbuilders and crew. Symphony follows Harmony of the Seas' delivery by barely two years.

'Symphony of the Seas is the latest example of how our people work to push the envelope of innovation with each new ship,' Fain said. 'The Oasis class has been a trend-setting design, but the team has evolved the design to build on that success to provide even more incredible family adventures. We're thankful to have a partner in STX France that is every bit as ambitious as we are about building technologically advanced ships.'

'It is a proud and exhilarating moment to welcome a new member to the family,' Bayley added. 'Thanks to our stellar crew and partners at STX France, we now are ready to embark on this new boundless adventure that comes to life on Symphony of the Seas.'

Bayley said Symphony will 'take family vacationing to an all new level with energy and options never before found in one place.' One of those is the two-level, 1,346-square-foot suite Ultimate Family Suite with its in-room slide, private cinema with an 85-inch HD TV, a floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall and a 212-square-foot balcony complete with table tennis and a full-size whirlpool.

Recently Bayley said the suite had been booked for $85,000 for the Christmas holidays.

Today he added: 'This ship is the perfect blend of our greatest hits we know guests love and a lineup of vibrant, new restaurants, activities and unparalleled entertainment—all purposefully designed around vacationers' preferences.'

For his part, STX France's Castaing called the new ship 'the ultimate example of our progress-driven spirit and commitment to innovation, which are at the heart of our partnership with Royal Caribbean, which is always challenging us in this direction.'

Symphony becomes the first ship to have the SILENT-E notation from DNV-GL for its outstanding low level of underwater noise, ensuring less impact on marine wildlife and especially marine mammals.

The ship is scheduled to head to Málaga on Saturday morning, carrying some 250 STX employees and spouses on a mini-cruise to the Spanish port, arriving March 27.

Symphony is to welcome its first passengers on March 31 for a one-time, five-night preview sailing, calling at Naples and Civitavecchia (Rome). The seven-night maiden voyage will sail April 7 from Barcelona, its homeport for the summer.

Beginning Nov. 10, Symphony will operate Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from its year-round home, PortMiami, based at Royal Caribbean's futuristic new Terminal A.

Another Oasis-class vessel is due from STX France in 2021.


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