QE2 in Dubai

Queen Elizabeth 2 sits alongside the pier in Port Rashid Dubai

QE2 arrived in Dubai on 26 November 2008 at the end of her final Cunard voyage from Southampton. The ship was escorted by HMS Lancaster as well as a flotilla of smaller boats as she made her arrival into Mina Rashid. During her arrival the QE2 was overflown by an Emirates Airbus A380 and was also met by the Royal Yacht Dubai.

On 27 November QE2’s final Cunard passengers departed. Later that day the Cunard House Flag was lowered for the final time, with ownership passing to Dubai.

Original Hotel Plan

It was expected at the time that QE2 would begin a planned refurbishment to become a floating hotel; originally to be located at The Palm Jumeirah islands. At the time there was much talk of a multi-million dollar refurbishment, which included proposals to replace QE2’s funnel with a glass penthouse.

However, the Global Financial Crisis impacted on the plans for QE2’s hotel refurbishment, leaving the ship alongside at Mina Rashid for many years. In 2009, word spread that QE2 was to sail to South Africa to become part of a Dubai sponsored marina development in Cape Town; in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. QE2 was moved to the Dubai Dry Dock and given an extensive external overhaul in anticipation for her expected voyage south; and she was registered in Port Vila under the flag of Vanuatu. However the Cape Town move never eventuated, and QE2 remained in Dubai, being located at both Mina Rashid and the Dubai Dry Docks during her time there.

QE2 Hotel Dubai

In late 2017 the QE2’s hotel conversion commenced, with hundreds of workers going aboard the ship through the year to work on the conversion of the liner into a static hotel. Changes to the ship include refurbished cabins, new carpeting, refreshed wall covering and improved air conditioning.

Exterior alterations include the (tragic) removal of the ship’s 20 lifeboats and the widening of the Promenade Deck, while the One Deck Pool was decked over, creating a large open deck space at the back of the ship.

QE2 was taken under two to the Dubai Dry Docks in March 2018. Here she was repainted in a Royal Blue Hull (similar to how she was painted from 1994-1999); while new signage was placed on her superstructure and stern. Other works included the removal of the ship’s two propellers as well as the sealing up of underwater hull openings; such as bow thrusters and stabilisers; which are no longer needed in her static role.

The ship opened to the public during a ‘soft launch’ on 18 April 2018. A variety of refurbished cabins as well as some public areas are now available for public visits and bookings are being taken on travel websites. In 2022 it was announced that Accor Hotels have taken over the management of QE2 Hotel and plan to further refurbish and enhance the ship.