Istithmar World, DP World and the QE2 management today announced the iconic QE2 is to have a permanent home at the heart of Port Rashid, the hub of cruising in the Middle East.
The vessel will be moored next to the original cruise terminal at Port Rashid and converted into a 300 room luxury hotel, with top quality lifestyle facilities, while the terminal itself will be developed into a maritime museum.
Once converted, the QE2 will once again display the ship’s collection of art works and other historical assets acquired during nearly four decades as one of the world’s leading ocean-going cruise liners.
The 293-metre long vessel, which in its heyday could accommodate more than 2,900 people, together with the connected maritime museum, will be a leading tourist attraction at Port Rashid and add further to the attractions it offers as the leading cruise destination in the Middle East. DP World has been expanding Port Rashid’s capacity to cater for the growing demand for cruise tourism.
HE Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman, Istithmar World, said:
“The QE2 will be at the heart of Dubai in its permanent position at Port Rashid and contribute to the growth of Dubai as the city continues to develop and expand as a top tourist destination. The vessel is truly iconic and has a huge following around the world. Our vision is to enhance the facilities on board but retain the very strong sense of history that is a fundamental part of her attraction. Having the QE2 moored as a floating, top class hotel, right on the waterfront in the centre of Dubai, will also add further life and activity to the surrounding area.”
Mohammed Al Muallem, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, DP World, UAE Region said:
“We are delighted that the QE2 will be the centrepiece of Port Rashid. Together with the planned Maritime Museum, it reinforces Port Rashid and Dubai’s status as a leading cruise and maritime tourism destination. We are excited about the potential for Port Rashid to further develop as a tourist destination in its own right.”
Leili Gerami, Spokesperson and Project Director, QE2, said:
“Even in its retirement the QE2’s majestic profile continues to attract much attention and there is considerable interest and enthusiasm for the next phase of her long life. It is our desire to tap into the continued public fascination for the great passenger liner and its amazing history as a cruise ship with unrivalled luxury, style and prestige. We believe the hotel on board the QE2 will be one of the finest anywhere.”
She added that the museum and redevelopment of the QE2 are expected to be completed within 18 months. In the meantime, the QE2 will continue to operate as an exciting venue for exclusive events.
Dubai’s cruise tourism has been growing rapidly. The award-winning Dubai Cruise Terminal at Port Rashid hosted 108 cruise ships with 396,554 passengers in 2011 and 71 vessels with 275,000 tourists during the first half of this year. This figure is projected to touch 145 cruise ships and 500,000 passengers by 2015, according to Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), DP World’s strategic partner.
In April, five cruise ships docked at Dubai Cruise Terminal simultaneously, bringing with them over 19,000 tourists, the largest number of visitors handled at the Port Rashid facility on a single day.
DP World’s vision is for Port Rashid to eventually be able to serve as many as seven large cruise vessels at one time.
Source: DP World, July 2, 2012