Iconic QE2 finally set for debut as floating Hotel

Iconic QE2 finally set for debut as floating hotel

Image via Rocky Grimes / Shutterstock.com

The long-awaited opening of former Cunard flagship QE2 as a floating hotel in Dubai is expected next Wednesday.

Local reports point to April 18 being a soft launch date, followed by a more formal opening later in the year.

According to an updated website, QE2 has 224 refurbished rooms and suites, 13 restaurants and nightlife venues, a shopping arcade and 25 meeting rooms and conferencing facilities.

The 13-deck ship is docked permanently at Port Rashid in Dubai as the first floating hotel in the Gulf region.

Guests will enter the ship from a terminal, which has been turned into a maritime museum featuring artworks from the ship, which was sold by Cunard to Dubai government investment company Istithmar World in 2007.

The ship travelled to Dubai a year later following a farewell voyage around the UK.

QE2 Shipping and PCFC Hotels are both wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Government of Dubai’s Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation.

PCFC Hotels, with investment in the hospitality, retail, real estate and technology sectors, is the operator of the QE2.

The website says: “Docked permanently at Dubai’s Mina Rashid, she has been lovingly restored to her former glory – revitalized with all the latest in smart technology.

“Step aboard and relax in her comfortable rooms and suites that offer an imposing backdrop of Dubai’s iconic skyline or the ocean beyond.

“Embark on a culinary journey across her 13 restaurants, bars and entertainment venues. Immerse yourself in her rich past at the onsite QE2 Exhibition.

“We’ve curated a seamless and unforgettable journey that blends old-world sophistication with a new level in hospitality.”

MSC Adds Lirica to UAE Lineup

Image result for MSC Lirica

MSC Cruises announced that the MSC Lirica will be in the United Arab Emirates for the 2018-2019 winter season, featuring newly extended cruises of 11 nights and 14 nights.

The MSC Lirica will be making her debut in the UAE in November 2018, offering longer itineraries, two overnight stays in Dubai, as well as cruises to India for the very first time.

Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO, added: “This will be our seventh season in the UAE and we have seen strong demand for our quality product offering from Dubai and Abu Dhabi. A strong Fly&Cruise programme means that guests from all around the world are able to enjoy this popular cruise region. Our modern ships and distinctive, quality cruise experience are an appealing way for holidaymakers to explore the rich and diverse experiences that the UAE can offer.

“Introducing India to MSC Cruises’ Winter 18/19 itineraries demonstrates how our significant investment plan is enabling us to expand our global footprint and establish a presence in a high-potential market, one that we expect to grow considerably over the coming years.”

Cruises will call into India from Dubai, with more calls at Abu Dhabi, Muscat and then crossing the Arabian Sea to Mumbai. The voyage also stops in Goa and Mangalore.

There is also an 11-night voyage calling at Sir Bani Yas, a private beach island.

The MSC Lirica will be offering ten cruises starting from either Dubai or Abu Dhabi with fly-cruise packages.

The MSC Splendida will also be based in the UAE for the winter 2018-2019 season offering seven-night cruises with two embarkation ports – Dubai on Saturday and Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Thomson Purchase QE2 From Cunard

QE2 Left to rust in Dubai

The www.CRUISE.co.uk team can exclusively reveal that the Queen Elizabeth 2 (the famous former flagship of Cunard) is set to be bought by Thomson Cruises.

The QE2 (as she is known) is currently floating in Dubai and her lease expires in November this year.

She left the Cunard fleet in 2008 and was previously bought by a company that intended to turn her into a hotel. She has since been left to rust in Dubai and there had been rumours she would be scrapped after pictures emerged of the disrepair she was falling into.

However, Thomson Cruises have announced that they will be purchasing her once her lease is up.

Helen Caron, Managing Director of Thomson Cruises said: “We are excited to have another new ship join our fantastic fleet. Passengers have already told us how excited they are for our newest ship [the Thomson Discovery] and they now have another new launch to look forward to.

“We will be making adaptations to increase the family friendly aspect of the QE2 and look forward to introducing families, couples and cruisers from all walks of life to a true ocean liner.”

It has not yet been revealed what these adaptations may be, but the ship can currently accommodate 1,892 passengers and 1,040 crew. There are five restaurants, two cafes, three swimming pools, a cinema and a casino.

It has also been rumoured that the ship will be called the Thomson Triumph but this has not yet been confirmed by the cruise line.

Traditionally the QE2 has made transatlantic sailings, however it seems likely that she could be sailing on Mediterranean itineraries once under Thomson’s control.