The world's largest cruise ship arrived in Southampton this morning.

The Harmony of the Seas slowly emerged on the horizon around 5.40am against the dramatic backdrop of dawn breaking above the city.

She was led by a tug spraying two arcs of water with another following behind.

Excitement rippled through the small crowd of people gathering in Mayflower Park - two even wearing pajamas.

(video courtesy of Heath Dixon)

They clapped as she sounded her fog horns several times.

John Kennedy, 70, and his wife Roz, 68, from West Wellow, were some of the first to arrive at 4.45am to photograph and film Harmony's arrival.

The couple, pictured, have been there to see other ships arriving including Independence, Oasis and Anthem of the Seas.

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John said: "We are ship mad! We have seen 20 ships come in and we really wanted to see Harmony as she's the biggest."

Joe Taylor and Lee Emery, both 16, rode down on motorcycles from Hedge End, following her along the coast.

Joe said: "She's the biggest in the world. She is massive and a lovely ship."

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Lee said: "It has definately been worth the trip. I'm surprised just how big she is."

Dad Alex Wickham came from Netley with children Harvey, six, Chloe, 11 and partner Melissa Baker.

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Alex said: "We are the biggest cruise fans. Harvey tracks the ships every morning and he woke up at 3am this morning asking if it was time to go. He's learning about Titanic at school and it's  amazing to think this is four times bigger."

Harmony of the Seas sailed up Southampton Water to berth near Mayflower Park at about 6am.

She is making her making her bow in the city, giving residents their first chance to see the 227,000 ton behemoth travelling up Southampton Water and in to port.

The vessel has cost more than $1billion to build, making her the most expensive ship in the Royal Caribbean line's 25-strong fleet.

And apart from the sheer scale of the ship it will also boast a host of fantastical features ranging from robot barmen and giant slides to a central park.

The ship is 361 metres long, making her more than three times as long as Big Ben is tall, and will carry 6,000 passengers.

She will depart from Southampton on a series of getaways to the western Mediterranean.

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Passengers will able to enjoy stopovers in exotic locations such as Barcelona, Marseille and Naples, with her first cruise leaving Southampton on May 29.

And there will be plenty to keep passengers occupied during cruises.

At the heart of the ship will be its park, taking its inspiration from New York's Central Park and offering an opportunity to take a stroll, have a coffee and stop for a bite to eat.

Cruise-goers will never want for new flavours to try out, with 16 restaurants including everything from household names such as Jamie's Italian, Far Eastern cuisine and cuisine designed to tempt all of the tastebuds, such as liquid lobster and vanishing noodles at Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine.

And drinks with a difference will also be served up, with robotic barmen picking from dozens of spirits to create cocktails in its Bionic Bar.

Harmony of the Seas will feature the Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea which will send thrillseekers from deck 16 to six in a matter of seconds, while it also boasts water cannons, a jungle gym and a zip line.

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