After months of rumors, it seems the Queen Elizabeth 2 is headed for a new beginning in Asia as a hotel ship.
The current owners of the vessel did not say where it is going, although Oceanic Group will be involved in the project as the group recently managed the Oriental Dragon cruise ship sailing from China.
Plans call for the ship to sail to Asia and be turned into a luxury hotel, with millions in investment forecasted.
Meanwhile, when Cunard sold the ship in 2008, the plan was basically the same, with the world economy getting in the way.
Statement from Oceanic Group:
QE2 Dubai, has the pleasure to announce that MS Queen Elizabeth 2 Known popularly as (QE2) will be moved today to Drydocks World Dubai for undertaking classification checks prior to her renovation as a luxury floating hotel.
Before her retirement to Dubai on 11th November 2008, the QE2 took regular cruises around the world as well as operating a scheduled liner service across the Atlantic Ocean between Southampton in the UK and New York. She carried 2.5 million passengers, sailed nearly six million miles and completed 806 trans-Atlantic crossings during 39 years of service for Cunard.
QE2 Dubai has created a large consortium to convert the QE2 into a five-star hotel with 500 rooms managed by a prestigious international hotel as an operator. The Oceanic Group, a group of deeply-experienced advisers to cruise operators and managers in Asia, will take the lead in managing this project while Drydocks World Dubai will carry out extensive technical and operational checks prior to her move into Asia..
The vision for the QE2 is for her to become a landmark cultural and tourist attraction-a beacon of luxury, glamour, quality and tradition - in the heart of a leading Asian city that shares her rich maritime heritage and is prepared to give this very special ship the prominent waterfront home she so richly deserves. The consortium will lavish many millions of dollars on this magnificent ship to restore her to the splendor of her glory days as an icon of the very best the world has to offer.
A number of Asian cities have expressed interest in securing this historic attraction. We have firmed up with an international tourist city in the Far East as her first destination.
The chosen city shares the passion of the partnership for preserving the history and reputation of this great ship that holds a special place in the collective memory of the many a million passengers that have sailed on her during nearly 40 years of service. The renovations and upgrades planned will respect and safeguard the immense heritage embodied in her fine lines and luxurious fittings.
His Excellency Khamis Juma Buamim, Chairman of Drydocks World & Maritime World, said: “We are greatly privileged to be part of this move to create history with this project, which is perhaps one of the most defining moments in maritime travel. This prestigious project will no doubt be another milestone in not only Drydocks World but in Dubai’s expanding portfolio of world-leading attractions. We are pleased to be in partnership with the QE2 consortium and the Oceanic Group in the very challenging project. I have no doubt that together we will achieve total success in this endeavor.
Mr Daniel Chui, Managing Director, Oceanic Group, said: “The QE2 is starting the next exciting journey of her long and illustrious career. We feel truly privileged to be part of the consortium that will take responsibility of this incredibly important piece of maritime history. We are honored that we have been chosen to manage this project to restore a truly historical icon to the days of her former glory. We promise to give the world a truly spectacular attraction.”
Plans for the upgrading of the QE2 also include a shopping mall with the finest world leading brands, a QE2 Café offering meals similar to those served during cruises, three Michelin-starred restaurants, convention and meeting facilities. There will also be an onboard maritime museum displaying QE2 memorabilia and her rich history, along with a collection of treasures of Dubai.