PALMA is preparing to welcome the Queen Mary 2, the biggest liner in the world, who will be sailing into port for the first time on Friday morning.
She will be arriving in Palma from Vigo and from here will sail to Barcelona on Saturday and Malaga on Wednesday. She is due to moor up at about noon, later than originally announced.
A varied programme of events has been organised by the local authorities, who are keen to attract more cruise ships to port.
This sector has been growing rapidly in recent years, and some tour operators have their liners based in Palma.
The entertainment will include folk dancing on the pier, while the tourism authorities have arranged for a gift package containing information on the Balearics to be placed in each cabin.
All the port's tugs will sail out to greet the liner, sounding their sirens and firing their water hoses in welcome.
Although she won't be open to the general public for security reasons, there will be a reception on board for the local authorities.
The Queen Mary 2 has a gross tonnage of approximately 150'000 tons and is 345 metres long (45 more than the Eiffel Tower).
She has 14 passenger decks, the equivalent of a 20-storey building, and her amenities include five swimming pools, a 1'000-seat theatre, a shopping centre and a planetarium, the first installed on board a ship and with seating room for 500.
The library has 8'000 volumes, and there is also a museum on maritime history, a collection of art valued at five million dollars, and one of the most luxurious spas to be found on the high seas.
The QM2 is, in fact, a floating city. Her power station can produce enough electricity for a town of 300'000 inhabitants (more than the population of Ibiza, Formentera and Minorca).
Her Rolls Royce engines were made in Norway and can lift a Boeing 747. She has a top speed of 30 knots, and security measures include 200 cameras rolling 24 hours a day, while a team of divers inspects the hull in every port.
She is environmentally friendly, with an incinerator which can burn eight tons of food remains a day and a recycling plant which treats 1'100 cubic metres of water a day.
The restaurants provide 10'000 meals a day in 3'250 square metres of kitchens (the equivalent of two Olympic swimming pools).
The Palma visit is the prologue of her first Olympic Cruise to Athens for the Games between August 3 and 12, and she will be returning to Spain from Athens on September 30.
She will be arriving in Palma with about 2'000 passengers on board and will be clearly visible from any high part of the city.