Still making history
One of the world's most famous cruise ships, the legendary Queen Elizabeth 2, is setting sail on a new chapter in her history.
The QE2, which had her maiden transatlantic voyage as a Cunard Line flagship in 1969, has been born again as a floating hotel in Dubai.
The liner opens her doors to the public this Wednesday, April 18, as a hotel, dining and entertainment destination at Mina Rashid, near Dubai's Gold Souk.
The 'soft opening' is the first step in a transformation overseen by the Dubai government-owned PCFC Hotels, it says, with rooms available from around AED766 (€169) on its opening week.
The historic, 13-deck liner retains its period furniture, renowned paintings and famous memorabilia. The original porthole windows also remain, though guest rooms have been "modernised" and equipped with the latest technology.
Staterooms range from ‘cabin’ style standard rooms starting at 17m², to the 76m² Royal Suites "belonging to the Queen herself", PCFC says.
After some four decades of service with Cunard (completing 806 transatlantic crossings and 25 trips around the world) the QE2 was bought by Dubai and made her way to the Emirate. There, she sat moored at a city dock for almost 10 years.
Once complete, the 13-deck ship will offer 13 restaurants and bars, and an interactive QE2 Exhibition adjacent to the hotel lobby.
The official opening takes place in October.
It's hard to tell which gave me the bigger thrill: waving down at the tiny beachgoers as we glided out of Fort Lauderdale and into the open sea, or walking through the Windjammer buffet for the first time and salivating at the Wonka-worthy array of food there for the taking.