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Queen Elizabeth 2 to become a luxury hotel

Staff writer |
For the first time since November 2008, the fate of the Queen Elizabeth 2 is known for sure. She will be cruising blue waters again as a luxury hotel.

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Teh great luxury liners have always been a symbol of wealthy people, new age and hope and the greatest of them all is the Queen Elizabeth 2.

Before November 2008, when she was retired in Dubai, the Queen Elizabeth 2 took regular cruises around the world and operated as an Atlantic liner between Southampton in the United Kingdom 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.

The Queen Elizabeth 2 is moored in Dubai where she is being prepared to set sail again as a luxury hotel. Istithmar World, a subsidiary of Dubai World, bought the Queen Elizabeth 2 from Cunard for nearly $100 million in June 2007.

Khamis Juma Buamim, chairman of Drydocks World and Maritime World, said that the Queen Elizabeth 2 will set sail from Dubai on October 18, reaching Singapore on November 1, where it will berth for three days before leaving for a Chinese shipyard for its complete transformation. The all new ship should be ready by 2014.

"Dubai owns the QE 2 and will never sell it. The ship is ours.. we are not scrapping or destroying it... we are taking exceptional care of her and we will make it iconic," said Mr. Buamim.

The floating luxury liner will be a 400 all suites hotel, with some larger suites intended for a longer stay on board.

"People can rent or even buy these suites. Prices haven't been finalized but these will be really expensive," added Mr. Buamim.

Nearly $90 million will be spent by QE2 Shipping, a consortium of private investors, for renovation of the legendary ship. Seven out of nine engines have been overhauled, with the ship fully ready to start its new journey.

Rong Sheng, Cosco, China Merchant and China Shipping yards were invited to Dubai for ship inspection and teams are preparing the work scope based on those inspections. The yard where the renovation and transformation of the vessel to a hotel will take place will be announced by mid-August. The cost of maintenance will be around $2.5 million per year.

Asked if the floating hotel will be ever moored on Dubai shores, Mr. Buamim said: "Dubai is the home of QE2. You never know it may come back."

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