queen elizabeth 2 qe2 dubai

20 February 2009 – Queen Elizabeth 2 docked at Port Rashid, Dubai. Image by Indigodelta

The Queen Elizabeth 2, the ocean liner known as the QE2 that plied the Atlantic for almost 40 years, will be moored in Asia as a 400-room luxury hotel after plans to keep the ship in Dubai were scrapped.

Drydocks World, a unit of state-owned Dubai World, signed an agreement with Oceanic Group Pte Ltd., a cruise company with offices in Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai, to convert the ship into a five-star hotel, the companies said today.

“The QE2 is not being scrapped, quite the opposite,” Oceanic Group Managing Director Daniel Chui told reporters in Dubai today. “We will lavish many, many millions of dollars on this magnificent ship to restore her the splendor of her glory days.”

Istithmar World PJSC, a state-owned company based in Dubai, bought the 963-foot (294-meter) ship from Cunard for $100 million in 2007. It announced plans in July to convert it into a 300-room hotel to be moored in the emirate. The government last year dissolved the board of Istithmar World and assigned its management to the board of parent company Dubai World.

Drydocks Chairman Khamis Buamim said he expects the ship to become a moored hotel in January 2014 and that it still may return to Dubai. The companies haven’t decided where to moor the ship in Asia, he said.

The QE2 made its official maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York in 1969. The ship, operated by Cunard, had capacity for more than 1,900 passengers and a crew of more than 1,000, according to a website about the vessel.

“As a luxury hotel, the QE2 will take her place alongside the great heritage hotels of Asia, including the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong, the Peace Hotel in Shanghai, the Grand Hotel in Taipei and the Rex Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City,” Oceanic Group said on its website.

- Zainab Fattah, Copyright 2013 Bloomberg.

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