Page last updated at 15:21 GMT, Tuesday, 11 November 2008

The woman who lives on the QE2

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Beatrice Muller has lived on the ship for several years

With the QE2 heading into retirement, many people are losing their favourite place to spend a holiday and the crew is losing a workplace.

But 89-year-old Beatrice Muller is actually losing her home. She is the QE2's only permanent resident.

Some years ago she sold her property in the US to live on the liner full time.

"I have been on this wonderful ship off and on for 14 years. This is now my only home," she told BBC News.

Cruise ship holidays had never appealed to Mrs Muller until, in 1995, she stepped on board with her husband, Bob.

Both were taken by it and and returned year after year until Mr Muller died on board in 1999 as the ship sailed out of Bombay.

I'll keep on staying at sea
Beatrice Muller

Mrs Muller, from New Jersey, has no grandchildren and most of her friends had died or moved, so her sons suggested she live on board.

Nine months later she moved into a cabin on the legendary 67,000-tonne liner. With an average speed of 24.75 knots it is probably the world's fastest retirement home.

She pays about 3,500 a month and says she prefers it to any retirement home.

With elegant surroundings, lavish meals, cocktails and dancing every night it is easy to see why Mrs Muller fell in love with the ship.

She said: "We're spoiled to death, we get to see the whole world and meet the most incredible people."

In the morning she reads a print-out of The New York Times, works on her memoirs and calls on friends.

Then she plays bridge until tea, followed by cocktails and dancing.

Once the liner reaches Dubai, Mrs Muller, known as Bea to the crew, will be without a home, although she has no plans to return to dry land.

"I'll keep on staying at sea, I don't want to go back to housekeeping," she said.

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