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STX France hands over Harmony of the Seas, world's largest cruise ship

A tribute to crew and workers was held in the AquaTheater aboard Harmony of the Seas at Saint-Nazaire
During a delivery and flag-changing ceremony at Saint-Nazaire, STX France presented the 227,000gt Harmony of the Seas—world's largest cruise ship—to Royal Caribbean International, following 32 months of construction.

Harmony outsizes the previous Oasis-class ship, Allure of the Seas, which measures just over 225,000gt. The newly delivered vessel sports some Quantum-class features, such as the specialty restaurant Wonderland, here in a double-deck version. And it offers some one-of-a-kinds, including The Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea, with a 100-foot drop.

Like Oasis sisters Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas, Harmony has seven neighborhoods, including Central Park with 10,587 plants, 48 vine plants and 52 trees, some more than 20 feet/6.1 meters high, and an AquaTheater for diving shows. The ship has two FlowRider surf simulators and a trio of new waterslides dubbed The Perfect Storm. Also new is Splashaway Bay, a water park for the youngest kids.

Altogether, Harmony carries 4.7m pounds, or 2,150 tons, of water in 23 swimming pools, whirlpools, the two FlowRiders, the waterslides and Splashaway Bay.

The Royal Theater will stage the hit Broadway musical 'Grease,' 11,252 artworks are showcased throughout the ship, and passengers can stay connected with super-fast VOOM Wi-Fi.

Royal Caribbean on Thursday honored the crew and project team for the ship, whose construction involved thousands of yard workers, employees, subcontractors and suppliers. The 2,100 crew consist of 77 nationalities.

Joining the festivities in the AquaTheater were Richard Fain, chairman and ceo, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and Michael Bayley, president and ceo, Royal Caribbean International, together with Laurent Castaing, gm, STX France.

'Harmony of the Seas is the product of our zealous spirit of continuous improvement, where we have combined revolutionary ship design with the technological strides that have defined the Royal Caribbean brand,' Fain said. 'Thank you to STX France for their ongoing partnership in building our ships, which continue to introduce unexpected industry innovations.'

'Harmony is truly magnificent in every sense of the word, from her architecture and design to the level of care and attention to detail with which our incredible crew are taking to prepare for our first guests,' Bayley added.

The $1bn-plus Harmony of the Seas becomes the 25th ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet.