Sneak peek at the world's biggest cruise ship

Harmony of the Sea takes her maiden voyage in just eight weeks. Photo / Supplied
Harmony of the Sea takes her maiden voyage in just eight weeks. Photo / Supplied

The world's biggest cruise liner takes its maiden voyage in three months' time, but for now, she remains under construction in a shipyard in France.

Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas boasts a 10-storey slide that twists and turns, robot bartenders at the "Bionic Bar" and 12,000 different types of plants and trees.

When it sails out of Southhampton, England, on May 20, it will officially be the largest passenger ship in the world - carrying 5497 passengers and weighing in at 227,000 tons.

The massive liner will cost  "somewhere north of a billion dollars". Photo / Supplied
The massive liner will cost "somewhere north of a billion dollars". Photo / Supplied

It was recently revealed that the ship will cost "somewhere north of $1 billion" and will be 20 per cent more efficient than the other two Oasis class ships.

The latest pictures from the SFX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire show that while the ship is still under construction, it's really starting to come together.

Its most talked about feature, the Ultimate Abyss waterslide, starts at over 45m above sea level and will soon send excited cruisers on a wild ride down 10 storeys.

It's been described as Royal Carribean president Michael Bayley's dream feature and will be the biggest of its kind at sea.

The ten storey waterslide is still under construction. Photo / Supplied
The ten storey waterslide is still under construction. Photo / Supplied

The ship will be the third of its kind to join the company's Oasis class of ships, which includes Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas - both launched to great fanfare.

The Harmony will also have the "fastest internet connection at sea" for those hoping to stay connected with family back on land.

Also on offer will be high-diving shows at the "Aquatheatre", a nine-deck-high zip-line, the largest kids' area at sea and a Central Park, complete with greenery.

And Jamie Oliver's restaurant Jamie's Italian will also be on board.

With 3000 workers constructing the ship, Royal Caribbean's Head of Operations told the Daily Mail it was sure to be ready to sail in eight weeks - and the maiden voyage has even been brought forward a week.

About 3,000 workers are constructing the ship. Photo / Supplied
About 3,000 workers are constructing the ship. Photo / Supplied

Its first voyages will focus on the Western Mediterranean, with seven-night trips to Barcelona, Mallorca, Provence, Florence, Pisa, Rome and Naples.

In November, it heads to the company's home base in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for eastern and western Caribbean sailings.

Royal Carribean also celebrated another milestone today, as the New Zealand-bound liner Ovation of the Seas was floated out of its construction hull and into the water for the first time.

Currently housed at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, it is the third largest cruise ship in the world. The Ovation is in its final stages of construction, with less than two months until completion and ten months until she arrives in New Zealand.

Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas is floated out of drydock. Photo / Supplied
Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas is floated out of drydock. Photo / Supplied

"Today marks a truly momentous milestone in the local cruise industry: our first ever newbuild now floats on water for the very first time.

In just 10 months she will call our region home and proudly claim the title of the newest, largest and most technologically advanced cruise ship to ever sail in our waters," said Adam Armstrong, regional commercial director, Royal Caribbean.

Ovation of the Seas will sail from Southhampton in April, before heading to Beijing via Dubai and Singapore. On November 30, she will sail from Singapore to Sydney before heading to her new home down under.

Ovation will offer three Australia and New Zealand cruises as well as a repositioning sailing on her return to Singapore, departing Sydney 23 January 2017.

- nzherald.co.nz

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