Dubai’s New Queen Is a British Legend — An Iconic Ship to Shore

Nov 29, 2008 9:13am

By Lara Setrakian, ABC News Dubai The great dame of ocean liners – the queen, really – sailed into port one last time this week. On the World News Webcast we called her the latest British expat to move to Dubai. The Queen Elizabeth 2, the legendary oceanliner and longtime flagship of the Cunard Line, retired from its ranks with a one-way trip to Dubai. Here she’ll be converted into a floating hotel with room for five restaurants, apartments, a spa and a broadway-scale theater in the space where the engines now sit. The QE2′s signature smokestack is to be refitted as a luxury five-floor penthouse. It was earlier this month that the QE2 left its home in Southampton for her new home, Dubai’s Palm Island. She retires with an illustrious past: over her four decades of service she’s circled the globe 25 times, carried 2.5 million passengers, and sailed 6 million nautical miles – the equivalent of going to the moon and back fourteen times. The QE2′s welcome was, true to locale, over the top. A flotilla of yachts, including the ruler Sheikh Mohammed’s M/Y Dubai, flanked the ship on her way into Port Rashid. There were fireworks, flags waving, and an Arab band on bagpipes. It’s true that in the city of business and bling, the QE2 is more trophy for her new owners. But on the flip side, Cunard and Dubai both note that if she hadn’t found a home in the Persian Gulf, she’d likely be torn apart in a British shipyard. Service as a floating hotel is the QE2′s second life. “Dubai will add value to the QE2 and the QE2 will add value to Dubai,” Abdulrahman Kalantar told me. Kalantar is with Nakheel, the state-owned real estate giant that bought the QE2 for $100 million. ABC News was given a rare chance to board the QE2 after she pulled into   Rashid. I felt extremely lucky – it may well have been the last chance to see her in cruise ship form before the Dubai makeover. The interiors were a mix of old Britannia and late 1960′s chic. To get a look yourself watch our Good Morning America report on the QE2 in Dubai. While on the ship we caught the very emotional moment when the QE2 was officially handed over from the Cunard Line to Dubai. Her captain and senior officers watched as the house flag came down and the fog horn sounded for the last time, a sign that the Queen is docked. Long live the Queen. Read More Blogs From Lara Setrakian Read More Blogs from the ABC News Staff

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