The QE2, the majestic ocean liner that has carried millions of people across the Atlantic during its 40-year history, has been sold to a Dubai-owned company for $100 million, the company said Monday.
State-owned Istithmar said it plans to turn the giant 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 Carnival Corp., will end its days as a tourist attraction, opening to the public in 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.
“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’s president, Carol Marlow, said in the statement.
Launched in 1967 by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, the QE2 became the longest-serving ship in Cunard’s 168-year history. The vessel has crossed the Atlantic more than 800 times and has carried more than 2.5 million passengers, Istithmar said.
“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.