DUBAI (AFP) – The booming Gulf emirate of Dubai said on Monday it has bought the Queen Elizabeth 2, one of the world’s most majestic cruise liners, for 100 million dollars from Britain’s Cunard Line.
The passenger ship will be berthed at a man-made island off the coast of Dubai and turned into a luxury hotel from 2009, Istithmar, the investment arm of the state-owned Dubai World development company.
The ship, which was launched by Queen Elizabeth II herself in September 1967, is the longest-serving cruise liner in Cunard’s 168-year history and was their longest-serving flagship.
Since she came into service in 1969, the ship has undertaken 25 world cruises, has crossed the Atlantic more than 800 times and has carried more than 2.5 million passengers.
Istithmar said its refurbishment programme would aim to recreate the ship’s original interior and would also include a museum celebrating its rich history.
The ship will berthed at a specially constructed pier on a huge multi-million dollar palm-shaped artificial island off the Dubai coast.
The Palm Jumeirah, which is one and a half times the size of New York’s Central Park, is part of Dubai’s plan to become a global tourism and business hub.
Other mega-projects under construction include the world’s tallest tower and the Dubailand theme park.