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     January 11, 2004
 
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  Page 2 of 3

  Ship Shape
  World's Largest Cruise Ship Set for First Transatlantic Luxury Voyage  Continued  

With their ever-increasing size, and with the new luxury features, the ships themselves may be becoming a more important vacation destination than the countries their sailing to. And navel architects say such cruise ships are not even near their maximum possible size.

Experts on terrorism say a ship the size of the QM2 is a potential target. But some people see it as a safe option.

"Yes, basically is," said Liz Lourie, a prospective passenger. "And the bigger the better, because the bigger the safer."

‘The Same Hobnob'

To get on board the first trans-Atlantic crossing, you have to be rich or clever, or both.

Dan Tobey of Philadelphia, among the increasing number of Americans who are booking ocean cruises, booked his Queen Mary 2 ticket two years ago. To say he is an ocean cruise buff would be an understatement.

"The Queen Mary 2 will be my 31st sailing," Tobey said. "I must have spent weeks deciding what to pack. … Believe it or not, I actually have a second tuxedo packed in here.

"I'm in the cheap seats," Tobey added. "But you know what? I'm on the ship. I'm eating the food. I'm going to be walking around the same decks, the same hobnob."

Cruise Boom

The departure of the Queen Mary 2 may set new standards for maritime travel. And there are a lot of people hoping it does the same for the cruise industry.

"Most of the travel industry has been really static, or in a bit of a decline since 9/11," Glab said. "The cruise industry has been the exception. Their passengers' numbers have continued to grow."

There are several reasons.

Continued
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