Among the destination booths, Italy's was the most popular today. Sure, as a cruise destination, Italy's ports -- such as Naples, Venice, Livorno (Tuscany) and Trieste -- are all among the most desirable ship calls in the world.
But that's not what brought the throngs here today. No, instead credit the free lunch. Indeed, even before it was ready, folks 20-plus strong were waiting patiently in line to sample the Caprese salad (mozzarella and cherry tomatoes) on a skewer, the marinated eggplant, Italian bread and espresso.
For cruise aficionados, we're going to have to admit that we found the area for Italy's Fincantieri even more interesting than the foodstuffs. The booth for its major shipyard in Marghera was displaying a large model of Cunard's still-under-construction Queen Victoria. Aside from the fact that the ship looks as if it were completely covered in balconies, we spotted some interesting new touches; you could see, for instance, the new Queens Grill-only outdoor dining area. Queen Victoria will be the first ship in the fleet to have that exclusive feature.
By the way, another juicy Queen Victoria tidbit emerged during an otherwise head-on-desk few moments at the State of the Industry yesterday. During a chat about fuel efficiency (admittedly geared to technical folks rather than general cruise enthusiasts), we learned that Cunard will spend millions of dollars extra on fuel for Queen Victoria merely because the hull is painted blue. Seems that any hull other than a white one requires more energy to cool and heat.