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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 April 2006, 10:25 GMT 11:25 UK
Massive cruise ship arrives in UK
Freedom of the Seas leaving Hamburg

The world's biggest cruise ship has made its UK debut ahead of its first passenger voyage.

The 160,000-tonne Freedom of the Seas arrived in Southampton on Saturday to prepare for the trip to New York.

The vessel, which has more than 1,800 rooms for up to 4,375 passengers, is more than 1,112ft (339m) in length - longer than 37 double-decker buses.

It boasts an onboard surfing pool with its own wave machine, a rock climbing wall and skating rink.

It has replaced the ocean liner Queen Mary 2 as the world's biggest cruise liner, which although six metres longer, is 15m narrower than the Finnish-built vessel.

Freedom of the Seas arrives in Southampton
Freedom of the Seas arrives in the port city of Southampton

The flagship of Royal Caribbean International, it will be based in Miami, Florida, and will head for destinations including Mexico, Grand Cayman and Jamaica.

It will be at Southampton's cruise terminal until Wednesday when it will depart for an official naming ceremony in New York.

Before then, invited UK guests will be touring and sailing on the ship, which also has the world's largest at-sea fitness centre.

Other facilities include a surf park where passengers can ride the waves, a family water park, and a full-size boxing ring.

Graphic showing the size of the ship

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