The World’s Largest Cruise Ship Is Setting Sail

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Whether its entirely Disney-themed voyages, exclusive luxury suite-only vessels or Picasso-lined dining rooms, cruise ships seem to be getting increasingly more grand, offering guests more and more activities and entertainment options in the process. It seems as though the Royal Caribbean cruise line might be able to outdo all competitors though, as the company’s highly anticipated new ship, the Harmony of the Seas is finally ready for passengers.

The vessel, under construction since 2013, is the largest cruise ship in the world, measured at 1,187 feet (or over a fifth of a mile) in length. The boat took its maiden voyage earlier this week, departing from a French shipyard for a port in Southampton, England.

The Harmony of the Seas will begin carrying a full passenger load starting next week, leaving from Southampton for a number of other European destinations, such as Rotterdam, Netherlands, Cherbourg, France and Barcelona, Spain.

All currently scheduled voyages are predictably sold out, as there as been a great deal of hype surrounding the ship since its construction began three years ago. In addition to the boat’s immense size, it features a number of jealousy-invoking amenities, including 23 swimming pools, a 100-foot high water slide, a park with almost 1,100 plants and even performances of the musical Grease.

This luxury didn’t come cheap though, as it cost around $1.5 billion to build the ship, and it will take a crew of 2,100 to operate the vessel full time.

With vacationers likely flocking to the ship for the foreseeable future, tickets could reach some sort of Hamilton level of inaccessibility—so now may be a good time to plan your vacation for the summer of 2019.

Dillon Thompson is a travel intern with Paste and a student at the University of Georgia.