Britain's QE2 cruise liner is to become a floating hotel moored in Dubai after being sold by owners Cunard for £50m to a Dubai investment firm.
The 70,000 tonne ship, launched by the Queen in 1967, will become a hotel in 2009 moored off the man-made Palm Island complex in the United Arab Emirates.
The Queen Elizabeth 2, to give the ship its full name, holds 1,756 passengers and requires 1,015 officers and crew to keep it ship-shape.
It is set to retire from service in November 2008 having been succeeded as Cunard's flagship by the 148,000 tonne Queen Mary 2 in 2004.
Dubai World, the government-owned development group for Dubai, will be the ships' new owners through Istithmar, its investment arm.
Itstithmar has already acquired hotels in New York, including W Union Square and the Mandarin Oriental New York.
It also has a franchise agreement with Easyhotels for the Middle East and North Africa.
By Christopher Walton