The large Queen Elizabeth II cruise ship is being turned into a floating hotel.
Istithmar World PJSC, a government-owned company in Dubai, which bought the cruise liner for $100 million from Cunard in 2007, has finally decided to do something with the ship. They're going to make it a hotel with most of its original features.
The original plan for the QE2 was to turn it into a completely refurbished luxury hotel. However the ship has been moored at Port Rashid, off the Palm Jumeirah for years due to a tough and worsening economic situation in the United Arab Emirates.
Istithmar also believes that tourists would rather see the QE2 as it originally looked rather than a redone version. Therefore the ship will maintain most of its features and won't undergo major renovations. It will be turned into a 300-room hotel which is expected to open within 18 months.
"We are not making major changes. We will preserve its tradition and the way it was," he said at a news conference near the ship's mooring. "It's a great vessel and it will continue its journey to serve the tourist sector in Dubai," said Istithmar Chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem to Fox News.
While many may already consider cruise ships to be a floating hotel, this cruise ship won't be moving. It will remain at the downtown Port Rashid to serve as a tourist attraction. There are also plans to expand the cruise ship terminal there so that up to five ships can dock at once. There are also plans to create the Dubai Maritime Museum which will contain 25,000 artifacts and maritime artworks, Bloomberg.com reports.
The ship has been at the port since 2008 as officials tried to decide what should be done with it. Some were beginning to suspect that it would just be used for scrap. On New Year's Eve, the ship was used for a party by an event planning company, making it the first time the ship had a large group of guests since it went out of commission in 2008.
There is no word on how much the conversion project will cost, however neither DP World Ltd (DPW), which owns and operates Port Rashid nor Istithmar will be responsible for financing the project. Chairman Sulayem expects banks to jump on the opportunity to finance the project . "This will not affect the financial commitments of Istihmar. There are plenty of resources available," Sulayem told Fox.
The Queen Elizabeth II was launched in 1967. Between 1969 and 2008, it made at least 26 trips around the world.