The Symphony of the Seas casts off in Saint-Nazaire

The world's biggest cruise liner, the Symphony of the Seas, was handed over by French shipbuilder STX to the US giant Royal Caribbean International ahead of her maiden voyage in the Mediterranean.

The ship, built to accommodate 9,000 passengers and crew, cost a staggering €1.1bn, weighs 228,000 tonnes and is 362 metres (1,188 feet) long - just 20 metres shy of the length of the Empire State Building.

This makes the behemoth marginally bigger than its sister ship, the Harmony of the Seas, which STX France delivered to Royal Caribbean in 2016.