Tuesday, June 19, 2007
A Dubai-owned company announced that it bought the Queen Elizabeth 2, a giant ocean liner launched in 1967, for $100 million. State-owned Istithmar said it plans to turn the passenger ship into a first-class floating hotel, retail and entertainment destination, berthed off Dubai's manmade Palm Jumeirah island. The aging vessel, bought from the Cunard Line division of Miami-based Carnival Corp., will end its days as a tourist attraction, scheduled to open to the public at the beginning of 2009, Istithmar said in an e-mailed statement. Istithmar is a division of Dubai World, a government-owned holding company that also owns Nakheel, the developer of Palm Jumeirah.
Queen Elizabeth 2"We are delighted that when her legendary career as an ocean liner ends there will continue to be a permanent home for her that will enable future generations to continue to experience fully both the ship and her history," Cunard president, Carol Marlow, said in the release. The QE2 was launched in 1967 by British Queen Elizabeth II and became the longest-serving ship in Cunard's 168-year history, Istithmar said. The vessel has crossed the Atlantic Ocean more than 800 times and has carried more than 2.5 million passengers. "QE2 at The Palm Jumeirah will become one of the must-see experiences of Dubai and of the Middle East. We are investing in creating a truly global tourism destination," Dubai World Chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said in the statement. Istithmar said its refurbishment program will recreate QE2's original interior decor and fittings.