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Last Updated: Monday, 26 February 2007, 19:11 GMT
UK base for world's largest ship
Independence of the Seas graphic
The ship will be the length of 37 double decker buses
The world's largest cruise ship is to have its home port in Hampshire.

Royal Caribbean International's 160,000-tonne Independence of the Seas will be based in Southampton when it starts passenger services in May 2008.

The ship, which is being built in Finland, will be 1,222ft (372m) long and able to carry 3,600 passengers.

It will be larger than Cunard's liner QM2, which currently holds the record at 150,000 tonnes, and the recently announced P&O vessel Ventura.


Independence of the Seas' features will include an ice rink, surfing facilities and a children's water park.

Robin Shaw, Royal Caribbean International's UK and Ireland managing director, said: "Basing a ship this size in Southampton shows that there is huge potential to attract new people to cruise holidays.

"The image of cruising is changing rapidly and we want to do more to highlight the adventure and excitement of life onboard.

"We're targeting people of all ages to take holidays on our ships."

Cruises from Southampton on board Independence of the Seas, which will be the sister ship of Freedom of the Seas, will start from 349 a person for a four-night cruise to Ireland and Guernsey.

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