CRUISE ships have often been dubbed floating hotels – but the latest addition to the international fleet is more like a floating city.

Harmony of the Seas towered over other vessels as she arrived in Southampton yesterday, watched by people who got up before dawn to see the largest ship of her type make a dramatic entrance.

The 227,000-tonne vessel is 210ft tall – as high as seven double-decker buses stacked on top of each other.

She is 361 metres in length, making her more than three times as long as Big Ben is tall, and can carry 6,780 passengers.

Facilities on board include 16 restaurants, a 1,300-seat theatre, and a Central Park-style area boasting trees up to 20ft tall.

But the size of the ship is matched by a raft of fantastical features that include robot barmen and Ultimate Abyss, an enclosed slide that sends thrillseekers on a 100ft journey from decks 16 to six.

The world’s largest cruise ship appeared on the horizon against the dramatic backdrop of dawn breaking over Southampton.

Excitement spread through a crowd of spectators who had gathered in Mayflower Park to watch Harmony of the Seas enter the port for the first time.

Those waiting to greet her included dad Alex Wickham, who travelled from Netley with children Harvey, six, Chloe, 11, and partner Melissa Baker.

Alex said: “Harvey is learning about Titanic at school and it’s amazing to think this is four times bigger.”

Harmony of the Seas cost $1 billion, making her the most expensive ship in Royal Caribbean’s 25-strong fleet.

Michael Bayley, the company’s president and chief executive, said: “She is redefining holidays and intriguing a new generation of travellers with a bold and unexpected line-up of first-at-sea innovations.”

The ship has 3,000 staterooms - and those without windows or a port hole have virtual balconies with real-time views of the views outside.

Harmony of the Seas will sail from Southampton on a series of short getaways to northern Europe before embarking on her maiden cruise on May 29, arriving in Barcelona on June 5.

Two days later the ship embark on her first summer season before travelling to her home port of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.