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World’s largest cruise ship makes U.S. debut at Port Canaveral

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Port Canaveral welcomed the world’s largest cruise ship before dawn Thursday, as Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas made a historic first call at a North American port. The large cruise ship arrived at the port’s Cruise Terminal 1 from Malaga, Spain, carrying nearly 5,500 cruise guests and 2,200 international crew members.

“We are proud of the trust that Royal Caribbean’s partners have placed in us. Although the ship will be homeported in Miami, our cruise partner believes in the port’s capabilities as its first U.S. port of call,” said Canavera said Capt. John Murray, chief executive of the Port of Meal. “As a brand new vessel from a foreign port, it is important that customs clearance and Coast Guard inspection operations run smoothly and efficiently to avoid time delays and maintain a positive guest experience.”

The 6,680-passenger, 2,200-crew cruise ship Symphony of the Seas, which cost more than $1 billion to build, arrived in Port Canaveral after crossing the Atlantic to clear customs and undergo required U.S. Coast Guard port state regulatory inspections. Symphony has been sailing the Mediterranean from Barcelona, ​​Spain, since its maiden voyage on April 7. About 5,500 passengers and all crew members were required to disembark and clear customs at port. Passenger re-embarkation is carried out in stages, with the crew returning to the ship first, while the passengers remain ashore during the screening process. Many cruise guests enjoy visiting the Kennedy Space Center or shopping at historic Cocoa Village, while others choose to re-board and enjoy the many amenities aboard the Symphony.

“Today was a busy day at our ports. I am so proud of our port workers, our partners at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Coast Guard. Many dedicated professionals and great teamwork supporting the world The arrival of the largest and most advanced cruise ship in the industry.”

Port Canaveral navigator Doug Brown, who helped the Symphony into port this morning, said the ship’s sheer size has changed the way he works. “The bigger it is, the longer it usually takes to respond to different rudder and engine commands, so I plan accordingly,” Brown said. “We were lucky this morning with really good weather so we didn’t have to deal with the wind and currents as much, we just had to focus on the sheer size of the boat.”

The Symphony departed Port Canaveral this afternoon as scheduled and will arrive at Port Miami tomorrow. Two tugs from Petchem Tugs and Seabulk Towing escorted the Symphony from Port Canaveral in a traditional over-the-water salute.

Symphony is Royal Caribbean’s 25th ship and its fourth Oasis-class ship. It joins Harmony of the Seas two years ago, Oasis of the Seas (which debuted in 2009 and is currently homeported at Port Canaveral) and Allure of the Seas (which began service in 2010). The 18-deck Symphony was the previous record holder, was around 1,000 gross tons more than the Harmony, and had more cabins.



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