Allure of the Seas, one of the two largest cruise ships ever built, is to be based in Europe for the first time next year.
The 6296-passenger 362-metre Allure of the Seas, an "Oasis-class" ship owned by Royal Caribbean International, will use Barcelona as its home port from summer 2015 from where it will embark on a series of week-long cruises around the Mediterranean.
Both Allure and its sister ship Oasis of the Seas have the same gross tonnage (225,282 GT), but Allure is officially 5cm longer - an unintentional difference that may have been due to the air temperature when it was measured.
Oasis of the Seas, which was launched in 2009, will complete its first mini-season of sailings around the Mediterranean later this summer culminating with a port call in Southampton on October 15 – a first for the mega-ship.
Anthem of the Seas, the second "Quantum-class" ship in the fleet will be based in Southampton following its spring 2015 launch sailing on summer cruises to the Mediterranean from April before moving to its Florida base in Fort Lauderdale during the winter.
There is little chance of getting bored on board the 16-deck Allure. The ship has an outdoor park with 22,000 plants and trees and features a zip line; 20 pools and whirlpools; an outdoor AquaTheater home to a cast of high-dive acrobats; a fairground-style seaside boardwalk and more than 20 dining outlets.
"From surfing to scuba diving, sushi restaurants to designer shops, and DreamWorks characters the ship is the perfect solution for families," said RCI managing director UK and Ireland Stuart Leven.
Bookings for Allure of the Seas' Mediterranean season calling at Palma de Mallorca, Marseilles (for Provence), La Spezia (for Florence and Pisa) and Civitavecchia for Rome and Naples go on sale on February 18. Cruise-only prices from £799 ($1465) per person.
The Telegraph, London