Largest cruise ship squeezes under Danish bridge

Largest cruise ship squeezes under Danish bridge

The world’s largest cruise ship cleared a crucial obstacle Sunday, lowering its smokestacks to squeeze under a bridge in Denmark.

The Oasis of the Seas - which rises about 20 stories high - passed below the Great Belt Fixed Link with a slim margin as it left the Baltic Sea on its maiden voyage to Florida.

Bridge operators said that even after lowering its telescopic smokestacks the giant ship had less than a 2-foot (half-meter) gap.

Hundreds of people gathered on beaches at both ends of the bridge, waiting for hours to watch the brightly lit behemoth sail by shortly after midnight (2300GMT; 7 p.m. EDT).

“It was fantastic to see it glide under the bridge. Boy, it was big,” said Kurt Hal, 56.

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Company officials are banking that its novelty will help guarantee its success. Five times larger than the Titanic, the $1.5 billion ship has seven neighborhoods, an ice rink, a small golf course and a 750-seat outdoor amphitheater. It has 2,700 cabins and can accommodate 6,300 passengers and 2,100 crew members.

Accommodations include loft cabins, with floor-to-ceiling windows, and 1,600-square-foot (487-meter) luxury suites with balconies overlooking the sea or promenades.