Ovation of the Seas: Australia's first purpose-built cruise giant sent down River Ems, Germany

Australia's first purpose-built cruise ship, Ovation of the Seas, has hit the waters for the first time in Germany.

The 346-metre long and 41-metre wide vessel made a 12-hour journey from the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, in northwestern Germany, where the ship was constructed, sailing down the River Ems back to the North Sea.

The 167,800-tonne ship is one the largest to have come out of the shipyard and been transported down the river. Thousands of spectators stood along the river bank to watch  Ovation make the 41 kilometre journey down the river at about two to three knots – the ship's first journey.

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Ovation, the world's newest cruise ship, will be launched in April 2016, when she departs Southampton, England for Beijing, China on a 52-day 'Global Odyssey' cruise. She will make her way to Australia for her maiden season Down Under on 30 November 2016 on a 15-night Singapore-to-Sydney cruise which will stop in Fremantle, Adelaide and Hobart. She will be based in Australia for a season from December.

The $US1 billion ($A1.3 billion) ship will be the biggest and most technologically advanced cruise ship to sail into Australian waters. The ship is said to offer a number of first-time sea experiences, including a skydiving experience on the Ripcord by iFLY, unobstructed ocean views from the North Star observation pod and cocktails mixed and served by ​robots at the Bionic Bar.

The ship will also offer high speed internet so passengers can connect and stream as quickly as they would onshore and introduction of the Royal iQ app which allows passengers to keep track of onboard bookings and events.

The mega-liner will be the largest cruise ship to be based in Australia to date with 18 decks and 2090 staterooms, and a capacity to carry 4180 guests at double occupancy. It will take the record from Explorer of the Seas, a 3800-guest, 138,000-tonne ship, which is the current title holder for largest ship to be based in Australia.

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