Former cruise ship the Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) looks set to become a dockside hotel in Dubai by the end of next year. Four years after her final voyage, the liner's owner, Istithmar World, has ended years of uncertainty about her future by announcing its plans to open 300 cabins as guest rooms.
The Dubai state investment company bought the QE2 from Cunard for $100m in 2007. The delay in making a decision about the future use of the ship stems from the financial crisis which has impacted Dubai in recent years.
Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of Istithmar, said that he intended to preserve much of the ship's original decor, including the wood-panelled walls. "We are not making major changes," he said. "We will preserve its tradition and the way it is."
The conversion of the QE2 to a hotel is expected to take around 18 months, with an opening unlikely to take place before the end of 2013. The liner will be anchored permanently in Dubai's Port Rashid.
Launched in 1967, the 70,327-tonne QE2 carried around 1,900 passengers on each of its 26 voyages around the world, as well as making 30 Atlantic crossings every year.
By Francesca Cook
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