Crowds mistake Rosyth ferry for QM2
ONE is the world’s largest, longest, tallest and most expensive ocean liner.
The other is a standard car ferry which completes a daily trek from Rosyth to the Belgian port of Zeebrugge.
Spotting the difference between the two ships should be easy.
But hundreds of people missed the boat when they lined the Capital’s coast to admire the Queen Mary 2 as she set sail from the Firth of Forth on Tuesday evening.
Because instead of waving goodbye to the thousands of passengers on board the luxury liner, the confused crowds went wild for the ferry.
And less than one hour later, the giant QM2 majestically sailed past an empty shoreline on her voyage to the fjords of Norway.
Bus driver Michael Moran, 57, from Morningside, said he couldn’t believe so many people could mistake an ordinary car ferry for the enormous ?540 million cruise ship.
“I was driving away from the city, along King’s Road in Portobello, all the way through Joppa and along the coast to Musselburgh and there were cars parked at every vantage point waiting to see the QM2,” he said.
"There must have been at least a few hundred people there, all waiting patiently for the liner to sail past.
"Just before 6pm every day I see the Rosyth ferry in the Forth, and so when it went past on Tuesday evening I really didn’t think anything of it at all.
“But then everyone got back into their cars and started driving away. It just didn’t make sense.”
Mr Moran, who drives the number 26 route for Lothian Buses, said all the crowds had disappeared when he made his return journey. "I thought maybe I had missed the QM2 sailing past. However, when I got back to Portobello, there she was. She sailed right past me and she really is a huge ship. It was quite a sight.
“I realised everyone had mistaken the car ferry for the QM2. It’s almost unbelievable when you see the difference in sizes. They don’t even compare.”
The QM2 is nearly four football pitches long at 345 metres and is the height of a 21-storey building. It weighs more than 150,000 tons and comfortably carries 2620 passengers.
The Superfast X ferry, which operates the Rosyth-Zeebrugge service, is only 203 metres long and has only ten decks. It weighs 30,000 tons and carries a maximum of 717 passengers.
Although the car ferry boasts two restaurants, a casino and a disco lounge, it pales against the QM2’s ten dining areas, the world’s first planetarium at sea, the largest ship ballroom and the largest wine collection away from dry land.
And while a seat on the ferry will cost you as little as ?84 for a return journey, a top-class suite for a 15-day Caribbean cruise this December on the QM2 is currently being advertised for more than ?8000.
A spokesman for operator Superfast said: “Perhaps the people who left early were so impressed they went to buy their tickets for a Superfast ferry.”
Forth Ports, which operates both Leith and Rosyth ports, said they were “delighted” to have welcomed the QM2 on Tuesday.
However, their spokeswoman added: “The Superfast ferry is also a very distinctive service. It is the only sea link between Scotland and Europe and it sails from Rosyth every day. She is a familiar sight on the Forth.”
A spokesman for VisitScotland said: “It’s unfortunate some people mistook the Superfast ferry for the QM2 and missed the world’s biggest and most expensive passenger liner. For those people lucky enough to see the boat they were treated to a spectacular sight.”
The huge ship, which was too big to dock at Leith, was anchored at the Hound Point oil terminal near South Queensferry on Tuesday morning, and passengers were taken ashore by launches and bussed into the Capital.
A police spokesman said there was “heavy traffic” along the shore all day from people eager to see the QM2.
The vessel, which left Edinburgh at 6pm on her way to Geiranger in Norway, is due to return to her home port of Southampton in eight days.