Cunard Line has sold QE2, cruising's most storied vessel, to Dubai World. The ship, which will be delivered to its new owners in November 2008, will be transformed into a luxury hotel, retail and entertainment complex at Dubai's The Palm Jumeirah, the world's largest man-made island.
Cost? A cool $100 million.
QE2's future has been somewhat in doubt as we approach the year 2010. That's because it's then that stringent new Safety of Life at Sea rules and requirements go into effect and it's been no secret that the 38-year-old ship would require a fairly massive infusion of cash to bring it up to speed. Still, the beloved QE2 was thought to have been such an icon that any investment would potentially be worthwhile.
Since QE2 was christened by Her Majesty The Queen in September 1967, the ocean liner has sailed 25 world cruises, crossed the Atlantic more than 800 times, and carried more than 2.5 million passengers.
The ship's actual purchaser is Istithmar, the investment arm of Dubai World, which is a wholly owned company of the Government of Dubai. The company says that it will refurbish QE2 to mirror its original decor and fittings and that one feature onboard will be a museum.
How do you feel about QE2's being sold? What would you want to share with us regarding your own QE2 memories? Would you visit the ship when it's launched in Dubai? Tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org; please put "QE2" in subject line.
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor
Image of QE2 appears courtesy of Cunard; image of The Palm Jumeirah appears courtesy of The Palm Trilogy.