Independence of the Seas - Worlds Largest Cruise on Way of ocean
The biggest cruise liner to be based in Britain took to the water yesterday at the Finnish shipyard where she is being built.
The £400 million, 160,000-tonne Independence of the Seas will be based in Southampton when she enters service in May. At the moment she is two-thirds complete, with 2,500 people working on her, according to Kvaerner Masa-Yards, the company building the liner.
At 1,112ft (340m), she will be bigger than the Queen Mary II and able to carry 4,375 passengers and more than 1,000 crew. This makes her the joint-biggest cruise liner in the world, along with her sister ships Liberty of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas, which are already in service. Facilities include a climbing wall and ice-skating rink.
The placing of the ship in Britain is an indication of the booming cruise market in the UK and Europe and the fierce competition between operators for a share of passengers.
But its reign as the biggest liner in the world will soon be usurped. Royal Caribbean, Independence of the Sea’s owner, is constructing a 220,000-tonne ship in the same yard called Project Genesis. The £700 million vessel, which will be able to carry 5,400 guests, is due to be completed in 2009.