World's Largest Cruise Ship Takes to Sea for the First Time

Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas will be 230,000 tons of fun when it debuts next year.

Royal Caribbean

Cue the Foreigner—fresh off launching the previous largest cruise ship in the world last year, Royal Caribbean just floated its newest mega ship Symphony of the Seas out of dry-dock in France on Friday for the first time, marking the (very short) maiden voyage of the 1,188-foot, 230,000-ton vessel and upcoming record-holder.

When it officially sets sail in 2018, the Symphony of the Seas will spend its first summer visiting several Mediterranean ports of call before coming back across the pond for a winter of Caribbean cruises. But there's a lot of work to be done between now and then—it may be sea-worthy, but it's basically a shell at this point.

Royal Caribbean

When the interior and its 2,803 staterooms are completed, all 5,497 guests will be able to enjoy a smorgasbord of amenities beyond the usual cruise fare, from a 10-deck slide to an entire water park to a "Bionic Bar" with robot bartenders (but no go-kart track, sadly). Like its sister ships, the Symphony is so large it's been divided into seven different "neighborhoods," fitting for a ship whose headcount outnumbers that of most small towns in America. There's also a new "adventure" teased on the website, with more details to come.

The Symphony and its fellow Oasis-class ships are true leviathans, about 30 percent bigger than the next-largest competitor ships, but Royal Caribbean will have to move quickly if they want to retain their title. MSC Cruises just announced their plans for their own world-beater, promising to carry more passengers than any other ship when it launches in 2022.