Cunard Line today announced the sale of QE2 to Dubai World, in a US$100 million deal which will turn the iconic liner into a first-class tourism destination at The Palm Jumeirah in Dubai.
QE2 will be delivered to Dubai World in November 2008, where she will cease her role as an ocean-going passenger vessel and be refurbished and adapted for her new home. From 2009, the vessel will be berthed at a specially-constructed pier to create a luxury floating hotel, retail and entertainment destination at The Palm Jumeirah, the world's largest man-made island.
The ship, which was launched by Her Majesty The Queen in September 1967, 40 years ago this year, is the longest-serving ship in Cunard's 168-year history, and was their longest-serving flagship. Since she came into service in 1969, she has undertaken 25 world cruises, has crossed the Atlantic more than 800 times and has carried more than 2.5 million passengers.
QE2 has been purchased by Istithmar, the investment arm of Dubai World, a wholly owned company of the Government of Dubai. Nakheel, developer of The Palm Jumeirah, is also a Dubai World company.
Carol Marlow, president and managing director of Cunard, said:
"We are delighted that when her legendary career as an ocean liner ends there will continue to be a permanent home for her that will enable future generations to continue to experience fully both the ship and her history."
Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of Dubai World, said:
"QE2 is without a doubt one of the wonders of the maritime world, and is easily the most famous serving liner in the world today. I am delighted we will be able to create a home for her on the newest wonder of the world, The Palm Jumeirah."
"QE2 at The Palm Jumeirah will become one of the must-see experiences of Dubai and of the Middle East. We are investing in creating a truly global tourism destination."
"Dubai is a maritime nation and we understand the rich heritage of QE2. She is coming to a home where she will be cherished."
Istithmar said its refurbishment programme will aim to recreate QE2's original interior décor and fittings. QE2 at The Palm Jumeirah will also include a museum celebrating the rich history of the ship.