by Kevin Griffin of The Cruise People writing in cybercruises.com
Good news came from Dubai recently. After five years of lying dormant, the former Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth 2 is not now going to be lengthened and converted with a see-through funnel and lifeboats removed, but will remain much as she is and will be converted to a 300-room hotel at Port Rashid, near where Dubai’s cruse ships call.
Talks are now under way with three hotel groups, including Dubai’s Jumeirah chain, to manage the new hotel.
Although many will not want me to make the comparison, the ex-Cunarder Queen Mary, which entered service in 1936, now operating as the Queen Mary Hotel in Long Beach, has 314 rooms. So in terms of size the two operations will be similar.
Queen Elizabeth 2, on the other hand, was launched by Queen Elizabeth II in 1967 and went into service in 1969.
Istithmar, part of Dubai World and owners of the QE2, has announced that the revised hotel plan is to come into operation within 18 months as the centrepiece of an entertainment village that will include a maritime museum. Istithmar bought the ship from Cunard for about $100 million in 2007 and plans to open the ship on the man-made island of Palm Jumeirah were shelved with the recession. The ship is now registered in Port Vila, Vanuatu.