The QE2 is finally set to be renovated into a luxury floating hotel complete with three Michelin-starred restaurants, claim the owners of the ship, United Arab Emirates real estate developer Nakheel;
they reported the ship would be moved to a dry dock in Dubai to be converted into a five-star, 500-room hotel. Nakheel bought it for £50m, and the liner left Southampton for the last time on 11 November 2008; it is now being kept in the inner harbour in Port Rashid.
Daniel Chui, of Oceanic Group, which is advising the consortium, told the BBC: "We are going to lavish many millions of dollars on this magnificent ship to restore her to the splendour of her glory days as an icon of the very best the world has to offer." He added that "an international tourist city in the Far East" had been "firmed up" as its destination. This confirms reports that Chinese crew were seen boarding the ship three weeks ago, replacing the existing crew. The fears were that the iconic cuise liner would be sold to China for its scrap value...
As well as three top-notch restaurants, the refurbishment will include a shopping centre and a maritime museum. However according to several sources, there is no firm timetable for the QE2's upmarket renovation and journey east.
Khamis Juma Buamin, chairman of shipyard operator Drydocks World, said it will first undergo full checks for seaworthiness in Dubai that could take up to three months. The interior of the ship has been well maintained since its last voyage in 2008, and Dubai will retain ownership of the vessel after its conversion to a hotel.
Buamin said technicians will now do all the necessary upgrades to the hull, engine and other systems, but gave no cost estimate, noting it will be "a lot" to get the over-45-year-old ship ready for the seas.
The 963ft-long was once the Cunard flagship carrier, and carried almost 2.5 million passengers in more than 800 Atlantic crossings and cruises following its launch by HM Queen Elizabeth II from the John Brown Shipyard in Clydebank, Scotland in 1967.
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