The ocean liner ‘Queen Elizabeth 2’ (‘QE2’) was recently refurbished in Dubai Drydocks and taken to a permanent berth at Port Rashid, Dubai, where she is due to open as a floating hotel on 18th April, before a more formal opening in October.
‘QE2’ has been laid up in Dubai since ceasing trading with Cunard in 2008. This month, after cleaning, new livery on her bow, re-coating and the removal of her propeller, tugs moved the ‘QE2’ to Dubai’s old cruise terminal. Her new operator, QE2 Dubai, said the vessel will have 12 attractions, including restaurants, theatres and nightclubs.
In a potted history courtesy of Maritime Executive, the 1969-built former transatlantic liner was originally purchased by Dubai World subsidiary Istithmar, which planned to use her as a floating hotel. However, her sale coincided with the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008, which had a heavy impact on Dubai, and plans for her conversion were delayed. She was nearly sold to Chinese buyers for scrap in 2012, before being finally rescued by another group of Emiratis.
In 2002, she had set a world record as the first merchant ship to pass 5 mill nautical miles of travel. As the market changed in the 2000s, she retired from the transatlantic liner route and entered service as a full-time cruise ship, with round-the-world and Mediterranean itineraries.
However, the looming 2010 SOLAS requirements meant that costly changes would be required for her to continue in operation, and Cunard made the decision to retire her before the convention’s entry into force.