• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
IN PICTURES
World's biggest cruise ship takes to the seas for first time
All photos: AFP

World's biggest cruise ship takes to the seas for first time

The Local/AFP · 11 Mar 2016, 08:23

Published: 11 Mar 2016 08:23 GMT+01:00
Updated: 11 Mar 2016 08:23 GMT+01:00

Harmony of the Seas left the western port of Saint Nazaire on Thursday afternoon and, if all goes well, it will not return until Sunday morning.

The purpose of the voyage is mainly to test the power on the boat and how well it manoeuvres, which, given it weighs some 227,000 tonnes and measures 362 metres in length, will be interesting to see.

For months, tourists have been allowed on board to gape at the innards of the ship, which has 16 decks.

Three pilots, who have trained on a simulator in nearby Nantes for the past year, helped the captain in the tricky manoeuvres needed to guide the hulking ship out of the Saint-Nazaire estuary.

The tugs first helped the ship back out of its berth before turning it around and then guiding it out to the open sea.

The pilots will leave the vessel once it is 20 kilometres (12 miles) out at sea.

There will be no passengers on board during the test voyage, just 500 staff.

If testing goes as planned, the boat will eventually head to British port of Southampton in May, from where it will set sail for Barcelona for its first cruise around the Mediterranean.

Harmony of the Seas makes the Titanic, which measured 269 metres, look like a little pleasure boat - and it is even 50 metres longer than the Eiffel Tower.

Harmony is also a metre wider than the current twin ocean-going monsters of the pleasure cruise world, which are also 362 metres long.

"Allure of the Seas" and "Oasis of the Seas", the world's biggest cruise ships in current service, are 65 metres wide and come in at 225,000 tonnes a piece. All three belong to Royal Caribbean International cruise lines.

The ship will have room for some 6,360 passengers and 2,100 staff members.

Story continues below…

The city's STX France shipyards began building the one-billion-euro ($1.1 billion) mammoth for US shipbuilder Royal Caribbean International (RCI) in September 2013.

SEE ALSO: 15 amazing photos you won't believe were taken in Paris 

The Local/AFP (news.france@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Mixed reaction from the French as UK votes for Brexit
Photo: AFP

The Brexit vote has prompted a mixed bag of reactions from the French public.

Opinion - Brexit seen from abroad
'Today it's hard not to feel ashamed to be British'
Photo: AFP

Apologies France, we may have just messed up your country too.

Brexit
French in UK: 'Brexit vote is clearly against foreigners'
The French Bookshop in London's Kensington. Photo: AFP

Spare a thought for the French people living in the UK right now. They didn't even get to vote.

Hollande: Brexit vote 'a grave test for Europe'
Photo: AFP

President Francois Hollande said on Friday that he already regrets the UK's "painful choice".

Brexit - Property
How Brexit could now scupper that dream move to France
A house of sale in La-Faute-sur-Mer (Vendée). Photo: Frank Perry/AFP

The dream move to France may have to be put on hold or simply dropped.

Brexit
Brexit limbo: What happens next for Brits in France?
Brits won't be forced home, of course, but are forced to live in limbo for a while. Photo: AFP

So what happens now for Brits in France? Nothing too dramatic, but a lot of uncertainty amid legal limbo.

Brexpats on Brexit
Brexit: Life for Brits in France will get more complicated
Will France still be paradise for British expats after a Brexit? Photo: Simon/FlickR

After Britain voted to leave the EU, here's a look at what an EU legal expert had to say about the possible knock on effects for expats in France.

France up next? Le Pen hails Brexit and demands vote

Friday's historic Brexit vote has sent tremors across the English Channel, where the political class had mixed reactions to the news that the UK had voted to leave the EU.

Worried after Brexit? Here's how to become French
Could it be time to become a French citizen? Photo: AFP

After the UK voted for Brexit, many Brits in France will no doubt explore the possibility of becoming a French citizen. Here's some guidance.

Brits in France left stunned after UK votes for Brexit
Photo: AFP

After the UK voted to leave the EU and the pound was sent crashing, British nationals living in France have been left stunned and concerned about the future.

Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Gallery
Ten reasons why you should think about becoming French
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Analysis & Opinion
Brexit: Life for Brits in France 'will get more complicated'
Culture
20 English words that 'should be banished' from French
National
Best Briehaviour: A guide to French cheese etiquette
Features
And the best city in France for expats to live in is...?
Society
Forget bikes, Paris is set to roll out scooter rentals
National
'We fear for our safety': French police feel the strain
Lifestyle
Why Rennes (and not Paris) is the best city in France for expats to live
National
Why are the French losing appetite for baguettes?
Lifestyle
Naturism booms in France as young eager to ditch clothes
Lifestyle
Is working life better in London or Paris?
National
Dear Americans: Please come to Paris
National
It's official (kind of): French work fewest hours in EU
And the best football fans of Euro 2016 in France are?
National
Paris has wettest spring in 100 years and it's hitting morale
Police murders remind France of complexity of terror threat
National
IN PICTURES: Labour law protests in Paris turn ugly
National
Double murder just latest jihadist attack on French police and soldiers
International
French police appear unprepared for hooligan threat at Euro 2016
Sport
An A to Z guide of what to expect in France for Euro 2016
Sport
France bans matches from being shown on cafe terraces
National
Readers' views: 'If Brexit happens I'm becoming French just to stay in EU'
Technology
Should this be the new Metro map for Paris?
2,734
jobs available