The end of Queen Elizabeth 2 "the cruise ship" is near. The legendary Cunard ocean liner will pull into Dubai's port of Mina Rashid tomorrow at 3 p.m. (Dubai local time), concluding a career at sea and relinquishing the title of most famous cruise ship in the world.
The ship will be gutted, rebuilt and reborn in some two to three years as a floating luxury hotel berthed on The Palm Jumeirah, a massive manmade island shaped like a tree.
QE2's afternoon arrival in Dubai will begin a day of "celebratory" events. The ship will sail to its berth joined by a flotilla of private yachts (including the massive yacht owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai), the Royal Navy and the Coast Guard. Later, an Emirate Airlines A380 Airbus will make a fly-by, and in proper festive fashion, there will be a huge fireworks display.
The iconic Cunard vessel wound up its final cruise, having departed from Southampton on November 11 to much pomp, circumstance, being cheered on by thousands (relive the day with our QE2 Blog).
The official handover, from Cunard to Nakheel, the Dubai-based real estate development company responsible for the transformation, will occur on Thursday.
Rumors have swirled about planned changes -- replacing of the iconic funnel with a glass "funnel" housing penthouse suites, changing the famed engine room into a theater space -- but official plans from Nakheel have yet to be revealed.