Brazilian strippers, gambling, a mountain of food, disco dancing and political apathy - that was how nearly 3,000 Hong Kong people on Asia's biggest cruise liner marked 50 years of Communist rule. The SuperStar Leo left Tsim Sha Tsui last Friday evening and cruised the high seas before returning to Hong Kong just before midday yesterday. On Friday evening Sam Lo, an insurance clerk, was switching television channels when images appeared of the giant fireworks party in Beijing marking National Day. He quickly switched to another channel. 'Enough of that,' he said wearily. 'I watched the military parade for two hours this morning. It was like a film, it had nothing to do with me. It is not my army, but the Communist Party's army. I felt nothing.' Mr Lo marked the day watching an energetic performance by scantily clad Brazilian dancers and playing roulette and slot machines for two hours in the boat's 'Maharajah Club' casino. 'For me, National Day is just a day off work, nothing more,' he said. Serving drinks in the Maharajah, with a short black skirt and a big smile was Lu Li, on a working holiday from Fujian province. 'Unfortunately, the television we have in our quarters did not show the parade. I very much wanted to see it. It is a great day for China. I feel very proud,' Ms Lu said. 'But people from Hong Kong do not feel the same way. 'They lived under British administration for too long. Their sense of patriotism will take time to develop. The younger generation growing up will have it.' Mr Lo probably spoke for most of the more than 3,000 Hong Kong people on the cruise ship. The pomp and circumstance of the events in Beijing left most of them cold. 'My parents were refugees from the Communists,' said Amy Cheung, who works for a computer firm. 'So we have little feeling for what goes on in China. 'Recently I showed a colleague in my office simplified characters [used in the mainland since the 1950s] and she asked me if it was ancient Chinese. That is how much some young people know about China.' The ship provided so many activities that there was little time for passengers to ponder such weighty matters as the mainland's future over the next 50 years or whether the Communist Party will exist in 2049. There was the outdoor swimming pool, health club and jacuzzi, beauty salon, massage parlour, a basketball court, 18 bars and restaurants with live music in several of them, a karaoke bar, mahjong room and card room, two cinemas and a casino. The advantage of gamblers taking to the high seas rather than to a port, in China or Vietnam, means the casino stays open round the clock except for the hour or so while leaving and returning to Hong Kong waters. The games include baccarat, tableau, poker, tai sai, pai gow and blackjack, with stakes running into the tens of thousands of Hong Kong dollars. There is a swimming pool, electronics games and cinema for children, attracting many families who enjoy the sense of space and luxury, a brief escape from a cramped apartment and a stressful office. In the reception area is a hand-made US$35,000 (HK$271,000) carpet designed by Gianni Versace, decorated with designs of sea shells on a blue sea. In the evenings a band from Barbados gets the party into full swing with reggae and dance music next to the swimming pool. 'The Hong Kong people are less up-tight than those from Singapore, so they dance more,' explained the band's guitarist. 'Asians like shopping, eating and gambling,' said one of the Filipinos who account for about half of the 1,300 crew. 'Caucasians prefer historical and nature tours, so they like the port stops and can go exploring.' However, for 65-year-old Lau Ho-man, the day could not be like any other. 'I watched the parades on television in the morning but should not have,' she said. 'As a result, I could not sleep for several hours that evening. Of course the soldiers were impressive, but the event brought back so many painful memories of those 50 years. 'In 1949 no one knew where Canada was - but now everyone does and wants to go there.'