Borrowing a book from the library may be the last thing one would expect to do on a cruise ship.
But for those on board luxury cruise company Cunard's flagship Queen Mary 2, browsing the ship's library may not be too far off their daily agenda. The ship has the largest floating library in the world, stocking roughly 10,000 books.
Yet, that is only the tip of the iceberg when talking about the 345m-long ocean liner. It is one of the longest-cruising luxury ships in the world, with some guests paying up to $366,707 for a full 134-day round-the-world voyage. Guests can taste some of the finest chocolates at the first marine Godiva chocolate cafe, and experience the wonder of astronomy in the first planetarium at sea.
Queen Mary 2 docked in Singapore yesterday at 7am as part of its world voyage, which started from New York on Jan 3. It departed from Singapore at 7pm on the same day.
Launched in 2004, the Queen Mary 2 is the world's only ocean liner offering regularly scheduled transatlantic crossings between New York and Southampton in England. It was remastered in 2016 at a cost of more than $145 million. It was reported to cost £460 million (S$850 million at current rates) to build, making it one of the most expensive ships in the world.
The ocean liner, which has a 1,238-member crew, has 1,360 staterooms, of which nearly 75 per cent have balconies.
"Queen Mary is well known for offering a rich and diverse experience. It is the reason why so many people have chosen to stay on board all 134 days of this tour," said Mr Farriek Tawfik, South-east Asia director of Cunard and Princess Cruises.
The ship would often invite local performers from the countries it docks at to perform. For example, during its recent stopover in Hong Kong, the 2,705 guests could watch a traditional lion dance performance - a first for many, especially those from the West.
For Singaporean housewife Yvonne Quek, who disembarked from Queen Mary 2 yesterday afternoon, the ship has undoubtedly won her heart. The 53-year-old has already made plans to travel on the ship next year, during her voyage from Dubai to Southampton.
"The best part about Queen Mary is that it's always bustling with activity. After dinner and dancing, there are still different kinds of performances, activities and music till 2 or 3am. You never run out of things to do there."