December 5, 2004
QM2: "FATTIES" BREAKING THE FURNITURE? A STORM...
ARTICLE FROM TH UK "SUNDAY TIMES" of 5 Dec 2004, writes:
"The Queen Mary 2, the world's biggest cruise liner, is being fitted with reinforced furniture amid claims that overweight American passengers have broken some of the existing seats, writes Katie Samuel. The £500m ship, which made its maiden voyage from Southampton at the beginning of this year, is to be fitted with the new furniture next year by Alstom Chantiers, the French shipyard company that originally built the vessel.
According to one former crew member, the broken chairs are in the ship's bars and 10 restaurants. Alstom has blamed the broken furniture on unexpectedly obese travellers who caused chairs to buckle. "There are some problems with the chairs because some of our passengers are heavier than we imagined",a company spokesman told The Sunday Telegraph. "It's not an English problem; it's probably more American."
The ship, currently in the Caribbean and due back in Britain in April, carries 2,620 passengers and 1,253 crew. A spokesman for Cunard, which owns the Queen Mary 2, confirmed that a major refit of the ship was taking place next year but added that exactly what work would be carried out had not yet been decided. Obesity experts said rising numbers of overweight people were choosing cruise holidays to avoid the practical problems and embarrassment of air travel. Narrow aisles and small seats into which bulky people must squeeze can make planes uncomfortable and annoy other passengers. Some airlines have tried making overweight travellers pay for two seats, while some customers have complained at having to sit next to the obese. Dr Ian Campbell, president of the National Obesity Forum, said: "I am not surprised overweight people are breaking charirs . . . the seating is designed for a lighter person from the past."
And - not surprisingly- the storm this article caused on the groups was very weighty...