FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – The world’s biggest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, arrived in Fort Lauderdale at Port Everglades Thursday morning.
The Allure is the twin to the Oasis of the Seas which also calls Port Everglades is home port. But according to its captain, the Allure is almost two inches bigger.
Hundreds of eager onlookers are watching her arrival from John U. Lloyd State Park as she is welcomed by a flotilla of fireboats, private watercraft and other maritime escorts.
“It is awe inspiring it makes you think what people thought about the titanic,” said cruising fan Charles Bolick.
The megaship is four football fields long, has 16 passenger-decks and features a tree-lined park, Starbucks Café and 3D movie theatre among many of its onboard amenities. There’s also a Coney Island-style Boardwalk and a wide array of retail options including a Britto Gallery fashioned by South Florida pop artist Romero Britto.
Like Oasis, Allure cost $1.5 billion to build. It can hold at least 5,400 passengers and 2,400 crew.
“You can take a cruise like this for low, money it is cheaper than other vacation you can do and yet everyone comes back happy,” said Richard Fein, Chairman of Royal International.
Allure will sail weekly from Port Everglades to the eastern and western Caribbean starting next month, alternating the same routes with Oasis. It will sail out Sundays and Oasis on Saturdays, because even the new $75 million terminal built at Port Everglades for the super-sized ships can’t hold both at the same time, according to Adam Goldstein, chief executive for cruise-line Royal Caribbean International.
Business from Allure and Oasis should help Fort Lauderdale surpass Miami as the world’s busiest cruise port by 2013, becoming the “cruise capital of the world,” Port Everglades Director Phil Allen told The Sun Sentinel.
CBS4′s Jorge Estevez contributed to this report.