Built in France, christened in England and now on its way to you guys in Florida, The Queen Mary Two, Cunard's latest cruise liner, defies the modern trend to build everything pocket-sized.
This ship is as long as 41 London double-decker buses, she is as tall as a 23-storey building and at 990 million dollars she is simply the most expensive passenger ship ever built. Inside she is glitzy, chandeliered and romantically reminiscent of the "Titanic" film set – before they flooded it with tons of ice-cold water, obviously.
So now you have images of sweeping along gilded corridors flirting with De Caprio-esque strangers from behind a silk- gloved hand – but be warned ... it's not just a large lump of ice that can scupper a cruise.
Recently, a British couple joined their ship - The Sunbird - in Jamaica for a glamorous two weeks ...and ended up with that sinking feeling. 3 days into the trip, the couple - Andrew Alpin and his partner Hazel Harrison - took a tour of the tiny island of Cozumel in the western Caribbean, and returned to the quayside 15 minutes late because Hazel had fainted due to the heat.
Now, it was still in dock so obviously they tried to board. But no – the Norwegian captain said they should have got there on time, and he forbade their embarkation – and off the liner sailed without them. Undaunted by this, our intrepid couple leapt on a taxi boat and made another attempt to board.
Once again the captain refused, handed them over to immigration where they were interrogated. Eventually they were released to take a flight to Havana to rejoin the ship at its next stop. After a 600-dollar journey to the Cuban capital they were detained again - this time by Mr. Castro's customs officials.
Once granted their freedom, the pair needed a lie down but with little money and no hotel booking they found themselves at the mercy of a local taxi driver – who drove out to Havana's slums where the car promptly broke down. Eventually the terrified duo got back into town and safely rejoined their ship.
Back in London, they were compensated with nearly 5 thousand dollars for their 36-hour nightmare, but really want to know why the captain chose their holiday to redefine the term - Petty officer.
By Petrie Hosken