Newly launched cruise ship is world's biggest; Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas will carry 6,300 passengers and 3,000 crew

HELSINKI, Finland — Finnish shipbuilders say the world’s largest cruise liner has been launched into water for the first time.

Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas will be completed within a year before sailing to Miami to begin service. The ship was floated out Friday at a Turku shipyard dry dock in Finland.

It has 16 passenger decks with 2,700 cabins and can accommodate 6,300 passengers and 3,000 crew. It is 1,200 feet long and has an open-air arena the size of a football field.

Special features include a 750-seat theater modeled on an ancient Greek amphitheater, a skating rink and a youth area.

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The 225,000-ton vessel has a price tag of $2.5 billion Royal Caribbean International has ordered another Oasis-class cruise ship due to be launched in 2010.