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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 May 2006, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
Huge cruise ship leaves UK shores
Freedom of the Seas leaving Hamburg

The world's biggest cruise ship has departed from Southampton for an official naming ceremony in New York.

The 160,000-tonne Freedom of the Seas arrived in the city on Saturday to prepare for its first passenger voyage.

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.

Freedom, which boasts an onboard surfing pool with its own wave machine, left the city port on Wednesday.

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.

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

Other facilities include a family water park, and a full-size boxing ring.

Graphic showing the size of the ship

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