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Is Delighted to Present …

 

Dubai has an exciting new luxury floating hotel, the ex Trans-Atlantic Liner RMS Queen Elizabeth 2, which later became a popular Cruise Ship so lovingly known as the ‘QE2’. However, after arriving in Dubai late in 2008 sadly there was a ten year hiatus as she was laid up due to the global financial crash at that time. However, due to an amazing takeover of the QE2 this great ship has finally opened in Dubai as a 5 Star luxury floating Hotel “Queen Elizabeth 2” in April 2018.

However, before looking at her new role as a luxury Hotel in Dubai, I will provide an introduction to this superb Classic Liner Ship which was built as a Trans-Atlantic Liner, and later she had an amazing career as a popular cruise ship until her sale in 2007 to a Dubai consortium who intended to rebuild her into a luxury hotel at Palm Jumeirah. Although, this never came about due to the great financial recession, and this was followed by a long layup until the revival that saw the QE2 finally become a far superior Luxury Hotel berthed at Mina Rashid!

1. Introducing the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2:

This world-renowned ocean liner was originally built by the great John Brown Shipyard on the Clyde, Scotland in 1969 at a cost of £368 Million (UK pounds) or around US$20,091,000.

Here we see the great new and revolutionary liner the Queen Elizabeth II still under construction

Please Note: Photographs on this feature are by the author, or from his maritime collection, as provided by “PCFC Hotels.” There are

also photographs as noted individually. When a photographer is unknown *Please see the photo notes at the bottom of the page

She one of the last few liners built, and she has proudly sailed the oceans since the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 departed on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York on May 2, 1969. There is no doubt the QE2 has endeared herself to countless thousands of passengers. She commenced her days as an oil fired Steamship, although she was never prefixed SS “Steam Ship”, but RMS, being “Royal Mail Ship”.

RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 is seen with her original funnel just five months after her maiden voyage in 1969

Photograph is by & © Bill Davidson

In 1986/1987 the Queen Elizabeth II was given brand new modern diesel power plant which proved to be far more cost effective and they remain in place to this day.

The great QE2 as we remember her much later as a fine and popular Cruise Ship

This magnificently designed and much loved liner and later a cruise ship has sailed close to 6 million miles during her time in service, and whilst the airlines came to dominate trans-Atlantic travel with their Boeing 747s, tended to take passengers from the slower crossings to and from the UK and the United States, etc. However, the amazing QE2 continued to be loved by people from all around the world and thus she transported an amazing 2.5 million passengers, and she sailed across the Atlantic just over 800 times.

2. 2007 an Eventful Year for the QE2:

On February 20, 2007 whilst the QE2 was on her annual “World Voyage” her running mate and Cunard’s new flagship the Queen Mary 2 (which was on her maiden “World Voyage”) met each other in Sydney Harbour, Australia with great fanfare.

The QE2 and QM2 meet in Sydney on February 20, 2007 during their “World Voyages”

Provided by Cunard Line Australia

Amazingly, this was the first time that two great Cunard Queens had met together in Sydney since the original Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth served as troop ships in 1941.

Troop ships Queen Mary and the newer Queen Elizabeth meet just off Sydney heads in 1941

On June 18, 2007 came an announcement from Cunard that they had sold the QE2 to the Dubai investment company “Istithmar,” being an arm of the state-run conglomerate “Dubai World” for 50 million pounds (US$100 million). The QE2 completed her final farewell cruises in 2007 and 2008 before heading off to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

It is worthy to know that over the years, some of RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 had some of the most famous guests onboard such as; British Royalty including HRH Queen Elizabeth II, her son Prince Charles and Princess Diana, King Hussein of Jordan and academy award winning actress Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Bob Hope, Paul Newman, the Beatles, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, David Bowie, Buzz Aldrin also Rod Stewart and many more.

3. QE2 Bound for Dubai:

The QE2 departed Southampton for the final time at 7.15 PM on November 11, 2008 commencing her farewell voyage (aptly named “QE2's Last Voyage”. After her arrival; in Dubai she would be officially handed over to the “Nakheel Company”, behind the Palm Jumeirah, part, of “Dubai World”, where she was to be transformed into a hotel. One of the plans set down was to have her funnel removed and placed on the dock, and her top decks (Boat Deck up) were to be fully glass enclosed, turning the ship almost into a building of sorts. Thankfully as we now all know this never eventuated.

QE2 arrived in Dubai late in the day of November 26, 2008 with a flotilla of around 120 smaller vessels accompanying her, led by the MV Dubai being the Mega Yacht of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai. The HMS Lancaster of the British Royal Navy escorting the QE2 to Dubai remained just astern of her.

The QE2 amongst this grand flotilla of vessels was also greeted with a low fly-by of an Emirates Airbus 380 and thereafter came a huge fireworks display, while thousands of people gathered at the Mina Rashid (which is currently her new home in 2018), waving British and the United Arab Emirates flags.

 QE2 triumphant arrival in Dubai on November 26, 2008, but her glory would be short lived

She arrived at the time of the height of the real-estate bubble, however the global economic crash suddenly came about and the plans for Hotel QE2 went down with it (thank goodness!). This economic crash left the QE2’s owners in debt for billions of dollars. Rumours continue to circulate year after year that the ship was going be sold, or she was going to Hong Kong to become a hotel there, but nothing ever eventuated. For years she remained laid up at Port Rashid near Dubai’s historic downtown creek, an elegant ship of a reminder of that huge economic crash. Sadly she had been reregistered in Port Vila, being the small Island nation of Vanuatu in the Pacific somewhat north east from Australia. I saw her there looking newly painted, when we visited Dubai on the Dawn Princess during our 106 day “Around the Word Voyage” on September 21, 2009.

The QE2 is seen during her lay-up in Dubai - Note that she is registered in Port Vila

the MV Dawn Princes was berthed slightly astern of the MS Queen Elizabeth 2

Photograph by & © Reuben Goossens

4. Hotel Queen Elizabeth 2 - Mina Rashid:

Three years ago, the Dubai Government’s “Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation” (“PCFC Hotels”) took over the QE2 project.

“It marks the first foray into hotels for the Corporation”, said Mr. Hamza Mustafa the Chief Executive of “PCFC Hotels.” He also said that “the Corporation planned to open other hotels in the future.”

A fine photograph revealing the location of the Terminal, and the mighty QE2, with the marina just astern of her

For the liner to become a hotel in Dubai she had to go through an 2.7 million man-hours of transformation to become a superb luxury floating hotel, and she is now permanently docked at a spacious terminal and reception space at Mina Rashid, located next to a marina in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

DUBAI: Having visited this amazing city and explored its many wonders, I highly recommend a visit be assured you will come home with memories that will last forever! I suggest that you visit the following site for the top 20 suggestions, as I personally have done 19 of them, all except for Dubai's landmark building is the Burj Khalifa, which at 829.8 meters is the tallest building in the world, as it was not completed when I was last there.

Visit … www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions-/dubai-uae-dub-dubai.htm, and remember to stay on board the luxurious “Hotel Queen Elizabeth 2” for below you will discover why she is so amazing, as her new owners have done her proud, mixing the great days of the Cunard retaining the magic of the wonderful QE2 throughout most of the ship, yet providing superb modern updated Cabins, Rooms and Suites for you absolute comfort! But her complete story from a Ship to 5 Star Hotel now commences.

Queen Elizabeth 2 enters Dry-Dock:

The QE2 was moved to dry-dock on March 18, 2018 and a great deal of work commenced on her with countless workers worked on her around the clock. For only the third time in history, the QE2’s hull was stripped back to bare metal, and she was fully repainted with fresh new paint.

The Queen Elizabeth 2 is seen in Dubai’s-Dry-Dock Nº 3

In addition, all her openings below the waterline were welded shut; this included her bow thrusters, as well as her stabilisers, and then sadly her propellers were removed. Of course her lifeboats and the davits had already been removed, and this gave them the opportunity for the boat deck to be widened. Her stern now featured Her name; “Queen Elizabeth 2” and directly below her name, they added a distinctive “DUBAI” tourism logo and then beneath this where the ships registration was originally Southampton, then Port Vila, now it shows “Mina Rashid” in larger and a bolder style of lettering.

Upon her return to her berth, the ship was hooked up to Dubai’s power grid, yet she remains fully afloat in the Persian Gulf. Whilst the Press visited the ship on Tuesday April 17, 2018 they could feel her “list ever so slightly” while walking through portions of her completed passageways.

Although the major restoration work has been completed, the Queen Elizabeth 2’s features, facilities and some amenities will be unveiled to the public in several phases, with the soft opening “Hotel Queen Elizabeth 2” having taken place on Wednesday April 18, and the “Grand Launching” will take place in October this year!

Here we see the main entrance to the terminal, which contains the reception as well as a QE2 and Cunard Maritime Museum

Note that onboard the QE2 all the lifeboats and davits have been removed in order to provide more deck space

5. Soft Opening and Terminal / Reception:

During the “soft opening,” international Media and invited Guests were able to check out a selection of restored Standard Cabins, Deluxe Rooms and Grand Verandah Suites, as well as 5 of the 13 planned Restaurants and Bars.

At the reception, with a large number of important Guests in attendance, Mr. Hamza Mustafa the chief executive of “PCFC Hotels,” the Dubai’s World subsidiary who owns the Queen Elizabeth 2, said;

“There is a huge following around the world for the QE2 because of how famous she is and what she stands for”.

On this special day, Queen Elizabeth 2’s past running mate the Queen Mary 2arrived in Dubai for a visit during a cruise and Captain Peter Philpott and a good number of senior Officers were invited to the reception.

Mr. Hamza Mustafa (centre right) and Senior Vice President of “DP World” Mr. Adnan Al Abbar (centre left)

welcomed Queen Mary 2’senior s Captain Peter Philpott (centre), and his officers to the opening of the hotel

The reception was housed in a beautifully designed boat-shaped structure on the specially designed quay that will now welcome all “Hotel Queen Elizabeth 2” guests. Inside are portraits of United Arab Emirates rulers that hang directly opposite portraits of a young HRH Queen Elizabeth II as well as one of Samuel Cunard, founder of the Cunard company that built this great and very last ever true Trans-Atlantic liner to be built by the original Cunard Line, for as ship lovers well know that later the Cunard was obtained by Carnival Corp., PLC, which changed the company and its new ships greatly!

The Reception Desk in The Boat Shaped terminal

 

The Terminal Cafe

 

This is a part of the QE2 & Cunard Museum Exhibit

 

The Museum Exhibit within the Terminal features a replica of a Tourist

Class cabin from 1969, there is also a life-sized replica of the ship’s bridge

Currently, 7 of “Hotel Queen Elizabeth 2” 13 decks are open as a Hotel, with 224 standard Cabins, Deluxe Rooms and Grand Verandah Suites available. Prices range from US$150 per night in the standard Cabin to $15,000 per night in the Deluxe Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary Suites.

Please Note: The next three sections will cover “Hotel Queen Elizabeth 2” excellent facilities, such as some of her accommodations (6), Public Venues (7) and a fine range of quality Restaurants and other dining facilities onboard (8).

From this evening angle we can see the QE2’s finest accommodations

6. Accommodations:

Guests to Hotel Queen Elizabeth 2 can choose from a wide selection of rooms, from a Standard 17-square-metre Cabin to a 76-square-metre Royal Suites. The two Royal Suites are the “Gem in the Crown” of this once Grand Liner and they are named after the Queen’s Mother and Grandmother. Each offers a private spacious Veranda, a Conservatory and Dining Room, a luxurious Bedroom and a glamorous Bathroom.

Passage to cabins and rooms

 

Part of the bedroom to the huge Deluxe Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary Suites as mentioned above

 

Just a small view of the famed multi level Duplex Suites

 

Relaxing on a Suite balcony as well as enjoying fine views

 

Captains Club Veranda Room

 

A family on the Captains Club Room balcony enjoying the views

 

Captains Club Room with three portholes

 

Captains Club Room looking inwards

 

This is yet another style of a Captains Club Room

 

Deluxe Room

 

Standard Cabin outside Cabin

 

Guests come from around the world and stay onboard Hotel Queen Elizabeth 2

 

A typical bathroom for many rooms

As you will have noticed from the accommodations above, the refurbished ship has retained its original porthole windows in all its rooms, as well as many of her interior design features in other areas, including the period furniture, renowned paintings and a great deal of famous memorabilia.

A view of Hotel Queen Elizabeth 2 as seen from the marina 

7. Public Venues Onboard:

A good number of the Restaurants Lounges and Bars have retained original names as well as the original décor as in the QE2’s former years. Among those to be unveiled on Wednesday are the ship’s original dining venues, such as the “Midship Lobby” (amidships on Two Deck), “The Chart Room” (starboard amidships on Quarter Deck), a sophisticated and historical lounge and bar “The Golden Lion” (starboard amidships on Upper Deck) being a traditional English Pub, and what is potentially one of Dubai’s oldest. “The Grand Lounge” (just forward of the Yacht Club on Upper Deck) is a cabaret-style lounge with a weekly entertainment programme.

This is one of the QE2s most famous features is the “Midship Lobby”, and lights illuminate this fine venue and it looks

simply sublime. The murals surrounding the walls tell the story of the great Cunard Liners over the years

The “Midships Lobby” is located on Two Deck

 

Here we see the much loved intimate Chart Room Bar

 

The magnificent Grand Lounge remains completely unaltered

 

Passage beside The Golden Lion Pub, starboard looking forward

 

 

Above & below: Here we see three photographs of the Golden Lion Pub/Bar

 

 

 

On the port side of the Golden Lion is the Casino which can be visited but the

slot machines are no longer are in working order being more of a museum item

 

Just forward of the Golden Lion Pub and the Casino is the ships Theatre

 

Here we see a stairwell with an original painting of HRH Queen Elizabeth II

 

We can either take the stairs or the lifts seen here and to all decks of the ship/hotel

 

Although her lifeboats and davits have gone, she still looks like a fine Liner!

8. Dining Venues On Board:

Several of the original restaurants have retained their original names and décor. The once great liner has a total of 13 bars and restaurants open at this time with more to follow. The popular “Pavilion” (aft on One Deck), is a popular family Restaurant that has a covered terrace with fine views of the marina aft of the ship. The “Lido” (aft on Quarter Deck) being the hotel’s all-day dining Restaurant with a spacious deck that goes right to the stern, and then there is the greatly loved “Yacht Club” (aft of Upper Deck), this dining venue is a chic rendition of the former venue, it also offers a unique take on the traditional afternoon tea. However, the hotel’s signature restaurant is the glamorous “Queen’s Grill,” famed for offering British fine-dining dishes and a tasting menu recreating classic dishes from the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2’s first year sailing the Atlantic in 1969, and on Hotel Queen Elizabeth 2 it continues to do so!

The Yacht Club Restaurant

 

The Queens Grill for luxurious fine dinning

 

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Here we see some stunning dishes served in the Queens Grill

9. Daily Heritage Tours:                                                                                                                                                                      

These special tours of this great liner are available each day at 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm and 9pm, they commence at the QE2 Heritage Exhibition, this guided tour takes ‘Passengers’ through the ship where they will learn about the history of the vessel, view original rooms and artifacts and obtain a glimpse of the accommodations. Tours cost AED 150 per person which includes a voucher of AED 100 to spend at any of the hotel’s food and beverage outlets. The tour timings are subject to alteration. For further or advance information please email info@qe2.com.

Hotel Queen Elizabeth 2 awaits your arrival, be assured of an amazing time aboard this historic Liner!

 

View the Official Hotel Queen Elizabeth 2 website

 

Or use the following link … www.qe2.com

Reuben Goossens.

Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & Lecturer.

Commenced in the Passenger/Cruise Shipping Industry in 1960.

Australia.

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Photographs on cruise-australia.com & .net are: 1. By the author. 2. From the author’s private collection. 3. As provided by Shipping Companies and their Publicity Companies as well as by private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are some photographs provided without details regarding the photographer concerned., therefore I hereby invite if owners of those images to be so kind and make them-selves known to me, in order that due credit may be given!!

 

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