Photos: Quantum of the Seas River Ems Conveyance

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Royal Caribbean’s newest and most technologically advanced ship departed the Meyer Werft shipyard on Monday for the 26-mile journey down the River Ems to the North Sea where final outfitting and testing will take place.

The trip, known technically as the conveyance, is a unique process that every ship ever constructed at Meyer Werft has taken since 1795 because of the shipyard’s protected inland location in Papenburg, Germany.

At 168,666 gross tons and measuring 348 meters long by 41.4 meters wide, the Quantum of the Seas is the largest vessel ever built by Meyer Werft, which also makes it largest ship to go through conveyance process.

“With Quantum being the largest ship that has ever been built at Meyer Werft, there are some power lines that need to be rerouted, and some bridges along the river actually have to be lifted out of the way with a crane to allow the ship to pass, including one that is used by one of the main railways into Holland,” continued Dahlgren.

The conveyance requires assistance from two 9,000 horsepower tugs, which will actually maneuver the Quantum of the Seas backwards down the river at a speed of two or three knots. The stern-first technique allows for easier handling and protects the ships delicate azipods and propellers since the rear of the ship always stays in the center of the river.

The journey is expected to take about 10 hours total, but due to the delicate maneuvering required, there is no formal timeline for the trip.

“For hours we are actually taking the ship along this very, very tight channel where there is only about two to three feet of distance on each side between the ship and the river bank,” said Patrik Dahlgren, Vice President for Marine Operation at Royal Caribbean International. “We can’t set a firm date or time for the conveyance because it’s all timed with the tides and weather conditions to help balance the movements of the ship along the river.”

Quantum of the Seas will next dock in Eemshaven, The Netherlands, where she will undergo sea trials before delivery this November.

Following an inaugural winter season sailing out of New York Harbor, Quantum of the Seas will make its way to Shanghai, China this spring where the vessel will be homeported.

Below are some more photos of the conveyance:

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Watch: Quantum of the Seas Float-Out at Meyer Werft

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Here’s Quantum of the Seas passing the Weener railroad bridge with only a few inches to spare.

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Photos courtesy Royal Caribbean International