ALTHOUGH I fully appreciate the benefits to the local economy of the cruising industry, the fuss and publicity surrounding the arrival of Britannia leads me to enquire if I am the only one who deplores the sheer ugliness of these modern cruising liners which, in general appearance, are like featureless blocks of flats on ships’ hulls?

I have loved ships all of my life, and have a large collection of books about the ships of the past, and many pictures. As a schoolboy I made models of all the graceful liners of that period, such as the first Mauretania and, of course, Queen Mary, the most beautiful of them all.

Against my own inclinations I was persuaded to go down to the harbour area when Queen Mary II arrived for the first time, and it happened that on the way in she passed a heavily laden container ship.

In general outline there was little difference between them, and if the containers had been painted white, at a distance they could almost have been taken for sister ships.

DENNIS B. WILSON, Southampton.