Fit for a Queen


By Mary Mullaj

After four decades as a luxury ocean liner, and with 25 world cruises and 800 transatlantic crossings under her belt, the Queen Elizabeth 2 will become a floating hotel in Dubai. The QE2 still remains the fastest cruise liner, but she was built in the sixties, and is now facing some competition from newer craft. This is an opportunity for the ship to retire gracefully from service as an ocean liner, as well as a chance to preserve the ship and her heritage. The QE2 was used as a troop transport ship in addition to carrying generations of travelers across the Atlantic and around the world, logging upwards of five million miles.

The Queen Elizabth 2 will make her final voyage in November next year, coming to rest at a specially built pier off the coast of Dubai. The ship will be permanently moored off the man-made island of Palm Jumeirah, where many celebrities have bought property. Then the ship will undergo refitting before being opened as a being a hotel as well as a shopping and entertainment destination.

Formerly the flagship of the Cunard Line, the ship was bought in a $100 million deal by Istithmar. Istithmar is the government of Dubai’s investment arm. Even though the construction boom in Dubai has created many new buildings, hotel rooms are still at a premium. In the purchase of the famous ship and the imaginative conversion into a floating hotel, the government demonstrates its commitment to transforming Dubai into an attractive, luxurious, and unique global tourist destination.