DUBAI // The QE2 is to have its new home at the Palm Jumeirah after its transformation into a floating luxury residential accommodation and hotel is completed. The world-famous liner will be moored at a new upscale marina development that will be established as a cultural centre and tourist attraction on the artificial island.
Its maiden voyage was in 1969, and it will embark on its last journey from Southampton, England, to Dubai in November. Nakheel, the Dubai-based property developer, will begin construction of the ship's eventual home in September. The project is scheduled for completion in 2011. The British vessel was purchased last year for US$100 million (Dh367m) by Nakheel's parent organisation, Dubai World. The ship will feature elegant apartments, a private club, bars and restaurants, retail space, a wellness centre and gardens.
There will also be a maritime museum on board to commemorate the vessel's rich history. Johann Schumacher, the director of Palm Jumeirah, said: "The arrival of QE2 is one of the most anticipated events of the year and Nakheel is proud to be the custodian of such a historic treasure. The world's most famous ocean liner will form the focal point of an exciting new development that will be a spectacular and must-see attraction on Palm Jumeirah."
Contrary to popular assumption, the ship was not named after Queen Elizabeth II, but an earlier liner, the RMS Queen Elizabeth, which was in turn named after the late Queen Mother, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. The QE2 has circumnavigated the world 25 times, made more than 800 crossings of the Atlantic and carried more than 2.5 million passengers, including kings and queens, prime ministers and presidents, astronauts and various members of The Beatles. It survived a 30-metre wave during Hurricane Luis in 1995 while on a trip from Southampton to New York. The vessel has also broken speed and endurance world records.
The QE2 made history in May 1982, when it was used as a troop ship in the Falklands War. It set sail for St Georgia in the South Atlantic on May 12 1982 with 3,000 troops on board. A group in Britain tried unsuccessfully to block the sale of the QE2, claiming that the ship was of historical interest and should be kept in the United Kingdom. It is now arguing that the liner's art and royal memorabilia should be prevented from leaving the country.