PHOTOS: Australia's two biggest cruise ships crossing paths for the first time in Sydney Harbour

Photo: Supplied.

The two largest cruise ships in the Southern Hemisphere have met for the first time last night in Sydney Harbour.

The Explorer of the Seas is the newest — and biggest — addition to the Royal Caribbean International family weighing in at 138,194 gross tons and measuring at 311 metres long and 38 metres wide. It surpassed its sister ship, Voyager of the Seas, which is 138,000 tons and also 311 metres long.

The Voyager of the Seas features 15 decks, 10 pools and whirlpools, mini-golf course, ice-skating rink as well as 14 bars, clubs and lounges, while the newer Explorer of the Seas has also been outfitted with a 894 square metres Vegas-style Casino Royale, FlowRider surf simulator, state-of-the-art fitness centre including a solarium.

“We’ve invested US$160 million in makeovers on both ships in recent years and the result is two spectacular cruise ships offering the biggest choice of incredible Australian-first features including ice skating rinks, exceptional dining options, Broadway-style shows, 3D cinemas, completely refreshed public spaces and staterooms, rock climbing walls, full size sports courts and the Royal Promenade – an indoor street running the length of the ship with shops, a cafe and bars,” said commercial director of Royal Caribbean International, Adam Armstrong.

Both ships gathered over 10,400 passengers from 30 different countries in Sydney’s harbour on Saturday evening after the Explorer of the Seas concluded a 16-night trip through Australia and New Zealand. The Voyager of the Seas is expected to leave Sydney for a seven-night Tasmania trip on Monday.

The success of the cruising industry in Australia which has been growing for over 12 years with an estimated $3.2 billion annual worth in Australia will also see to the arrival of the Royal Caribbean’s $1.3 billion Ovation of the Seas in Sydney in the summer of 2016.

The spectacular gathering follows the arrival of 5 P&O cruise ships in Sydney harbour earlier this week — the first time the cruise line has had its entire fleet in the harbour at the same time.

The Explorer of the Seas is the newest Australian cruise ship of Royal Caribbean International. It is one of five cruises ships in the Voyager Class — a total investment worth more than $389 million.

Photo: Supplied.

It will be based in Sydney for the next five months until April in which it will run 16 cruises throughout Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific before returning again in 2016 in the summer.

Photo: Supplied.

Over $222 million has been spent on upgrades and refurbishing the two newest members of the fleet which feature an outdoor poolside movie screen, remodelled interiors, international dining options and even duty-free shopping on the Royal Promenade.

Photo: Supplied.

The ships arrived into Sydney harbour last night with over 10,000 guests on board, passing each other either on side of Fort Denison.

Photo: Supplied.

The meeting was a spectacle with many gathering in Sydney’s harbour near the Opera House to watch the two biggest ships in Australia meeting for the first time.

Photo: Supplied.

The Explorer of the Seas is expected to inject nearly $44 million into the Australian economy during the next five months — nearly $41 million will come from passenger spend in Sydney alone.

Photo: Supplied.

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