Cunard flagship Queen Mary 2 sets sail on its first voyage following a £90m investment. Hayley Platt reports on a cruise sector that still appears buoyant despite global headwinds.
They say it's a dog's life - at least it is for this one. A personal walker on hand to exercise your pooch if you so wish. Followed by a snooze in one of 10 new luxury kennels installed by Cunard. It's part of a £90 million refurbishment of the Queen Mary 2. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CUNARD, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, SIMON PALETHORPE, SAYING: "We've put in place new carpets which total 10 football pitches, the paint which you can see on the outside of the ship took 15,000 litres. It's taken 1 million man hours." The QM2 is the only true ocean liner still operating. Cunard has been crossing the transatlantic pond for 175 years. Once the preserve of the privileged. Today it's far more affordable. Though money isn't always the primary consideration. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CUNARD, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, SIMON PALETHORPE, SAYING: "I think that people tend to ring fence their travel and their holiday spend in many instances and I think for cruising it's something people become passionate about and maybe a little addicted to." Once on board there's plenty to do. That's if you don't get lost among the ship's 17 decks. That's one more than Harmony of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship. But with demand growing it's unlikely to stay that way for long. In 1990 the global cruise industry had around 3.7 million passengers. Last year there were over 22 million. And it's forecast to reach 25 million by 2019.