Latecomers delay exit, ship nearly misses show

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 March, 2007, 12:00am

Despite the less than favourable environs, almost 400 Hong Kong and mainland passengers joined the Queen Mary 2 cruise yesterday.

The ship entered Hong Kong early yesterday via the East Lamma Channel and departed for Singapore at 7pm.

However, a spokeswoman for the liner said late-arriving passengers caused a delay, making it almost miss the Symphony of Lights show at 8pm as it was off Kennedy Town rather than in the middle of Victoria Harbour as it was supposed to be.

'We could see a bit of the light show. It's normal to have late-arriving passengers,' she said.

The world's largest ocean liner can serve 2,592 guests and its 14 passenger decks are outfitted with everything imaginable. There are 10 restaurants catering to just about every palate, including the three-storey Britannia Restaurant, which can seat 1,300 diners at any one time.

The ship has the only floating planetarium, which doubles as a cinema. Passengers can take in workshops and lectures on topics from art appreciation to comedy. The liner is also stocked with works of art that guests can bid for in regular auctions. Brand-name shopping and gambling at the casino is available, although the ship must be in international waters for betting to be legal. Travel Association president Paul Leung Yiu-lam, who toured the transatlantic liner yesterday, said the interior was not as luxurious as expected. 'For a ship like Queen Mary 2, it should be really luxurious and six-star. But everything is just so-so to me,' Mr Leung said.

The ship is mid-way though an 82-day round-the-world journey.

After Singapore, it will dock in Kuala Lumpur, Cochin in India and Dubai. It will then cruise the Mediterranean Sea with stops in Athens, Rome, Le Havre in France and Southampton, England. It will cross the Atlantic Ocean and arrive at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on April 2.

The Queen Mary 2's smaller sister ships, Queen Elizabeth 2 and the new Queen Victoria, which will set sail in December, were expected to visit Hong Kong next year, Commodore Bernard Warner said. However, the Queen Mary 2 is not scheduled to return to the city anytime soon.