The luxury liner the Queen Elizabeth Two is being sold by cruise operator Carnival to a private equity company owned by the Dubai government. The plan is to turn the ship into a floating hotel, shopping and entertainment centre.
Bill McLear of World of Cruising magazine said this was unexpected, but fitting: “I think it’s a rather good idea. It’s taken us all a bit by surprise. Obviously she is over 40 years old now and can’t sail forever. This is the end of an era.”
The ship is to be permanently moored on a specially-constructed pier from 2009 off Dubai’s man-made Palm Jumeirah island in the Persian Gulf. Dubai is paying 75 million euros for the liner as part of efforts to the turn the island into a major tourist destination.
The ship will be refurbished to recreate its original interior decor and fittings. An on-board museum will be devoted to the its history.
Since going into service in 1969, the QE2 has carried more than 2.5 million passengers, made over 800 transatlantic crossings and cruised around the world 25 times.