Approximately two dozen assorted superficial caricatures are assembled here and carried along on a ferociously expensive, 4-month luxury cruise. All have in common the possession and display of wealth, plus the desire for more; all are frantically approaching or passing middle-age; and all of the husbands are cowardly boors, while all of the wives seem to be frustrated, malicious, and avaricious. The one exception to the latter is Maud Southerton, who whisks about the decks administering her wit, charm, and compassion to the wounded and needy. Two horrendous scandals enliven the boredom of the passengers: a drunken, elderly man mistakenly enters the cabin of a sex-starved, middle-aged woman; both are overcome with guilt; and the woman has a ""nervous breakdown"", from which she seemingly recovers in a matter of days with vague reference to ""an injection"". The second scandal involves the theft of a very valuable emerald necklace by one of the passengers, and it is later discovered that it has been stolen by an Italian prince whose outstanding characteristic is his use of pancake make-up... A meagre attempt at social criticism, not to mention entertainment.