THE boss of the company converting Southampton’s former liner, Queen Elizabeth 2, into a luxury floating hotel has sent a message to her old home port: “We promise to take good care of her.”
Daniel Chui, managing director of the Singapore-based maritime company Oceanic Group, undertaking the transformation of the vessel into a 500-room hotel, said: “We will lavish many, many millions of dollars on this magnificent ship to restore her to the splendour of her glory days.
“QE2 will become an icon of the very best the world has to offer.”
For more than four years, ever since QE2 left Southampton for the final time in 2008, the ship has sat idle in Dubai at the centre of intense speculation over her future role.
The global recession forced the city-state to abandon ambitious plans to turn the former Cunarder into a tourist attraction in Dubai, but then earlier this month it was announced that QE2 would become a five-star, floating hotel.
Initially it was suggested that QE2 would be heading for China, probably either Hong Kong or Shanghai, but now the consortium behind the conversion has not ruled out a return to Dubai.
The consortium, formed by Drydocks World Dubai and the Oceanic Group, said it plans to turn QE2 into a “landmark cultural and tourist attraction, a beacon of luxury, glamour, quality and tradition”.
Drydocks chairman Khamis Buamim said: “I expect the ship to become a moored hotel in January 2014, and she still may return to Dubai.”
Plans for the upgrading of QE2 also include a shopping mall with the finest world-leading brands, a QE2 Cafe offering meals similar to those served during cruises, three Michelin-starred restaurants, plus convention and meeting facilities.
There will also be an onboard maritime museum displaying QE2 memorabilia along with a collection of treasures of Dubai.