World's biggest cruise ship takes to the ocean despite coronavirus delays

The 'Wonder of the Seas' has floated out in France, but will not sail until 2022 because of the pandemic

The vessel that is set to become the world's largest cruise ship has been floated out in France as construction continues on the 72-metre-high liner.

Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas was tugged into port by seven boats on Saturday at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in France's Saint-Nazaire. The ship does not yet have her engines, so had to be towed into position. Construction on the 230,000-gross tonne vessel will now continue at the port before her delayed delivery to cruise operator Royal Caribbean.

Initially scheduled for completion in Spring 2021, Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas is now not set for completion until 2022 because of delays arising from the global pandemic.

When the ship does finally does set sail, it will depart from a new year-round home base in Shanghai, China.

Dubai sailing delayed

The mega cruise ship had also been scheduled to sail to Dubai in 2021 as part of its initial season at sea. Those plans for the 5,448-guest cruise ship have been temporarily shelved due to the pandemic.

Royal Caribbean is billing the gargantuan vessel as its boldest design yet and the Oasis-class ship will feature seven different neighborhoods, one of which is set to be a New York-style Central Park. The cruise liner will give travellers "thrilling experiences, imaginative dining, unparalleled entertainment and the latest technology," the cruise operator said in a statement.

The Symphony of the Seas, also operated by Royal Caribbean, is currently the largest cruise ship in the world. The 18-level ship has a similar neighbourhood design as the one touted for Wonder of the Seas, and also offers passengers access to giant swimming pools, a zip-line, water park, laser tag and Broadway-style performances.

Some sailings scheduled for mid-2021 on the Wonder of the Seas will now be operated by other cruise liners owned by Royal Carribean, including the Spectrum of the Seas and the Voyager of the Seas. The ships will depart China to cruise to several ports in Japan next year.