x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Shipyard is chosen to renovate Dubai-owned QE2

Plans to convert the Dubai-owned QE2 liner into a floating luxury hotel in Asia took a major step forward on Tuesday after the selection of a Chinese shipyard to refurbish the vessel.

SAN FRANCISCO // Plans to convert the Dubai-owned QE2 liner into a floating luxury hotel in Asia took a major step forward on Tuesday after the selection of a Chinese shipyard to refurbish the vessel.

QE2 Holdings, which owns the ship, announced the work will be done by Cosco Shipyard at its yard in Zhoushan, Zhejiang Province.

The vessel will sail there from Dubai, where it has been docked since 2008, and the work is due to be completed in 2015.

The 990 staterooms will be converted into 400 luxury suites ranging in size from 60 to 150 square metres.

Cosco will work with an interior renovation contractor that has yet to be appointed.

The ballroom will be refurbished and there will be seven restaurants, 10 lounges, a cinema, a museum with QE2 memorabilia and a mall.

“No other ship can match the QE2’s prestige or her legacy,” said Khamis Buamim, chairman of QE2 Holdings and Dubai’s Drydocks World.

“She is an absolute icon of maritime history, one of the best and most powerful ships in the world. Therefore, our decision on a partner was critical.

“We are pleased to be working closely with Cosco Shipyard for the technical repair and refurbishment process, which will be carried out with the utmost respect to the QE2’s heritage and splendour.”

Mr Buamim said in July that the conversion work would cost US$90 million (Dh330m). It is not yet known where in Asia it will be docked, although Singapore and Hong Kong are thought to be under consideration.

Cosco won the contract from several other bids.

“The Zhoushan shipyard is one of Cosco’s largest and newest, and it certainly has the capacity to host a cruise ship of the QE2’s stature,” said vice president Yan Chengxiang.

QE2 Holdings said it had invited seven international interior design houses to put forward plans for the conversion. The public will be able to see the designs at www.qe2hotels.com, and the winner will be announced on November 30.

The retired liner, which sailed the world for 40 years, went to Dubai after a division of the Dubai World conglomerate bought her from the Cunard Line for US$100 million (Dh367.3m).

Plans to use her as a luxury hotel at the Palm Jumeirah were dropped after the economic crash, and a number of other proposals also came to nothing.

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