'One of a kind': World’s biggest cruise liner pays fleeting visit to Durban

2010-03-24 00:00

The world’s biggest, longest, widest and most expensive cruise ship, the Queen Mary 2, paid the Durban port a brief visit yesterday, attracting hundreds of people who jostled to catch a glimpse of the magnificent cruise liner.

The 150 000 ton liner, which belongs to the Cunard fleet of cruise ships, entered the harbour at 6 am, when passengers disembarked to explore the city.

Local media were given a tour of the luxurious ship, which has 54 South African crew members and 100 South African guests on board.

The Queen Mary 2, which was built in France, has the capacity for 3 000 passengers.

Guests are spoilt for choice when it comes to entertainment: there is a 493-seater cinema, a planetarium for astronomy shows and virtual reality movies, a formal ballroom and a two-level night club.

Those who are technologically challenged can learn about computers at a dedicated computer learning centre.

The ship also has the largest library at sea, featuring 8 000 hardbacks, 500 paperbacks and 200 audio books. There is also an art gallery.

Special guest Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has delivered several guest lectures to passengers, said the liner is “one of a kind” and that he was excited about being a guest.

Cunard president Peter Shanks said people all over the world are talking about South Africa and the World Cup and it is a special time for the Queen Mary 2 to visit South African waters.

“It’s great that these famous brands have come together. This is a great time for South Africa. We are also privileged to have Mr Tutu with us,” he said.

Shanks also made a special presentation to a South African couple, Barbara and Dennis Gregory. In 2008, they were travelling on the Queen Mary 2 when their camera fell into the water, taking all their cruise pictures with it. A fishing trawler found the camera and returned it to Cunard’s head offices.

Shanks handed over a framed picture to the couple.

The ship left yesterday evening for Cape Town, where it will spend three days.

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