Iconic retired cruise ship the QE2 to undergo major revamp

The iconic ship, the Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2), now a floating hotel, will be renamed after major international hotel group Accor announced it was taking over management of the ship.

The former flagship of the Cunard cruise fleet was retired in 2008 and sold to developers with plans to turn her into a floating hotel. After many delays, QE2 opened as a hotel moored in Dubai’s Port Rashid in 2018.

Accor has announced that the ship will reopen this month and will later be rebranded as part of the MGallery Hotel Collection group boutique after a major refurbishment.

Once the renovation is complete, the new MGallery Queen Elizabeth 2 will only have 447 hotel rooms, compared to 1,300 previously.

Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC), the Dubai World subsidiary that owns the vessel, will work with the hotel group to develop its portfolio in Dubai.

“We are delighted to partner with Accor on this project. We are confident that the group’s expertise will elevate QE2 to a new era of operations,” said Saeed Al-Bannai, CEO of PCFC Investment.

“The Queen Elizabeth as we know it has made history and we are confident that Accor will be able to perpetuate its legacy while its strong heritage and reputation will remain a destination in itself, where guests and visitors can enjoy a unique experience” .

The renovated ship is also expected to feature nine food and beverage outlets, six retail outlets, a swimming pool, gym and 5,620 square meters of space for outdoor events.

QE2 will remain moored in Dubai’s Port Rashid, its permanent home since 2008, close to a number of major attractions including the Burj Khalifa and La Mer Beach.

Mark Willis, CEO of Accor India, Middle East, Africa and Turkey, described the move as a great opportunity to expand the company’s footprint in the UAE and bring diversity to MGallery’s portfolio, while by strengthening the presence of its brand.

“Not only are we in charge of Dubai’s only floating hotel, but we are also contributing to the Dubai 2049 Urban Master Plan, with the aim of charting a course for sustainable urban development while increasing the city’s attractiveness as a as a global destination,” Willis said.

“We are confident that once finalized, the MGallery Queen Elizabeth 2 will become a true must-see attraction, sharing its own stories with its guests while providing a truly unforgettable onboard experience.”

The legendary ship, long revered as one of the cruising world’s grand dames, was purchased from Cunard Line in 2007 by state-owned Dubai World, before being restored to its original design.

The PCFC spent $100 million to convert the cruise ship before relaunching it as a floating hotel in 2018.

The QE2 served as Cunard’s flagship from 1969, until the arrival of the Queen Mary 2 in 2004.

In her many decades as an ocean liner, QE2 circumnavigated the globe 25 times before finally settling in Dubai.

See also: Luxury liner Queen Elizabeth 2 reopens as floating hotel in Dubai

See also: What it’s like to sail with your own butler around the Mediterranean

Leave a Comment