When the Times of London reported that Nakheel -- the government-owned developers tasked with transforming QE2 from classic ocean liner to floating luxury hotel -- would lay off 500 workers and delay certain projects, media outlets and Cruise Critic members raised an important question: How would the cutbacks impact the QE2 project?
For now at least, Nakheel remains "officially" committed to the project, which involves proposed changes like replacing QE2's funnel with glass structure housing penthouse suites; creating a 500-seat theater for West End-style shows; and gutting cabins and public spaces to make room for larger rooms and apartments. In a recent statement, Nakheel says, "The plans for QE2's full restoration and refurbishment are ongoing as we continue to investigate all our options in leveraging this fantastic asset. We have no intention of selling the ship to any party whatsoever."
But as Nakheel continues to weigh its options, we posed another question on the Cunard forum: What should happen to QE2 if Dubai did cut her loose?
At press time, 140 Cruise Critic members have voted in our poll, which includes options such as "become a floating hotel," "donate parts to be used for the next Queen Elizabeth" (due out in 2010), "re-enlist as a war transport vessel" and "head to the scrap yard."
About 40 percent of those who voted said she should "Become a Southampton-based floating hotel," and 38 percent said she should "become a floating museum of ocean liner history." On both, posters expressed a desire to see the ship returned to the United Kingdom. Member gaelsail noted, "If a floating hotel, [it] has to be on the Clyde (in my opinion)." Shogun concurred: "Return her to the place of her birth, turn into a museum for Cunard, Cruising and the Clyde as well as place to teach seamanship."
Roughly 18 percent wanted the iconic red and black funnel to resume sailing for Cunard. But others (about 4 percent) decided they'd like to see the ship "resume cruising for another line." Winchester summed it up: "I chose -- let another line run her. Carnival/Cunard have made the mistake of letting her go and the corporate stiffs do not deserve another shot at her."
And though there were many QE2 preservationists, others were resigned to a more funereal fate. About 17 percent voted that the ship should "Head to the scrap yard -- she's had her day in the sun." Druke I wrote, "I said preserve her as a museum, but scrapping might be the best alternative."
In the "other" category, the Real PM opined that "The QE2 would be best served as the QE2 condominiums, a ship that would continue to sail around the world with her tenants as passengers, those who would love being a continuous part of the famous ship..." Member garigoun takes things a step further with a suggestion for a grand exit: "It should be emptied of all hazardous fluids except for enough fuel to run a small generator for about an hour. It should be rigged overall with the most magnificent firework display ... Cruise ships from every company should surround it at a safe distance ... at sunset the fireworks should start ... about two minutes after they finish, the [generator] should kick in and illuminate the funnel all round ... Suitable music should begin extremely loudly ... After about 10 minutes there would be a muffled explosion as the bottom was blown out and she would slip beneath the waves with the funnel still lit up and the music playing."
What should be QE2's fate if the Dubai project falls through? There's still time to have your say. Vote in the poll!
--by Dan Askin, Assistant Editor
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Will QE2 Stay in Dubai? Our Members Speak Out
February 18, 2009