Historical cruise enthusiasts may be interested to learn that the former Cunard cruise liner, the Queen Elizabeth 2, will reopen this week as a 13-deck luxury hotel, dining, entertainment and events destination that will be permanently docked at Dubai’s Mina Rashid.
The project is the culmination of work by PCFC Hotels, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Dubai government’s Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation. The group has painstakingly restored the interiors to the ship’s original 1960s style.
The ship was built in Clydebank, Scotland. It was launched and christened on 20 September, 1967 by Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II. Her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City commenced on 2 May, 1969 and took 4 days, 16 hours and 35 minutes. Over her lifetime, the ship completed more than 1,400 voyages over its 40-years on the seas and had among its guests several members of the British Royal Family as well as Nelson Mandela.
The project has taken many years to come to completion, after another Dubai-based firm purchased the ship in 2007 but ran into financial troubles during the Global Financial Crisis.
The QE2 hotel will feature 224 rooms and suites across 13 categories. A majority of rooms and suites feature original portholes that will overlook either the Arabian Gulf or Dubai’s skyline. The top suites are a pair of Royal Suites, the Queen Elizabeth Suite and the Queen Mary Suite that can be booked by invitation only.
Onboard eating and entertainment options include a family-friendly Pavilion; The Golden Lion (resembling an English pub); and a Grand Lounge to play host to onboard entertainment.
Part of the relaunch will also include a spa, pool deck, an interactive museum about the ship’s history, 25 conference rooms and a shopping arcade. Some of these facilities will be completed later in 2018, with only selected rooms and 5 of 13 restaurants scheduled to be complete by the April 2018 opening.
Basic rooms start at AED 649 (about A$227). Open from 18 April.
Did you know?
The preceding Cunard ship to the Queen Elizabeth 2, The Queen Mary, is permanently docked at Long Beach in Los Angeles and is also now a floating hotel. It first set sail in 1936 and had played host to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, as well as regular guest Sir Winston Churchill who plotted several WWII strategies from onboard The Queen Mary. It last sailed in 1967 to Long Beach, where it has remained ever since.