(7 a.m. EDT) -- Norwegian Cruise Line's first custom-made ship for the Chinese cruise market, Norwegian Joy, has completed its journey along the River Ems from the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany to the Netherlands.
The 3,850-passenger ship departed the shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, on Sunday, sailing backwards toward the sea, before arriving in Eemshaven, the Netherlands, ahead of its sea trials.
The 17-hour "conveyance" -- as it is known -- drew spectators along the route, a traditional one for the company in the centuries since it has been at its inland location.
To have a successful conveyance for ships of any size, conditions must be exact: Wind speeds must be 20 knots or less, tidal barriers must be closed and there needs to be either a full or new moon.
The 168,800-ton Norwegian Joy departed Meyer Werft at approximately 9 p.m. local time, making a narrow passage in reverse through the shipyard's locks -- passing the structure with just 1.2 meters separating the ship from the "bumpers" installed along the locks.
Measuring 1,094 feet long and 136 feet wide, the ship is the second in Norwegian's Breakaway-Plus class and the first that has been purpose-built for China.
"We are thrilled Norwegian Joy has officially begun her journey to China," said David Herrera, president of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings China. "As the first custom-built ship for the Chinese cruise market, she will offer a First Class at Sea experience for our guests and we cannot wait to officially welcome her to the fleet this June."
The ship will spend a month doing sea trials, before being formally delivered to Norwegian Cruise Line on April 27th. It will then set sail for China, where it will be showcased through a grand inaugural port tour featuring one-day events at the ports of Qingdao, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong, as well as VIP partner cruises from Norwegian Joy's homeports of Shanghai and Tianjin.
The inaugural celebration on June 27th in Shanghai will include an exclusive concert led by her Godfather, iconic Mandopop artist Wang Leehom, and an overnight cruise for honored guests.
The ship has a number of new features, including:
-- By Adam Coulter, Managing Editor, U.K.