The former QE2 ocean liner bought by a division of Dubai World more than 10 years ago is to finally complete its relaunch as a luxury floating hotel in October this year, its owners have said.

The cruise liner, which was launched at a naming ceremony by Queen Elizabeth II in 1967, was run by cruise line operator Cunard for almost years before being bought by Istithmar, a private equity division of Dubai World, in a $100 million deal announced in June 2007. Istithmar took possession of the liner in November 2008.

Initially, it was planned that the vessel would be anchored off Palm Jumeirah as a tourist destination, but this was put on hold in the wake of the global financial crisis and Dubai World’s restructuring. It remained docked at Dubai’s Port Rashid for years until plans for its conversion into a 300-bed floating hotel were announced in 2012.

On Monday, PCFC Hotels – a division of the Dubai government’s Ports, Customs and Free Zones Corporation – said that people would be welcomed aboard from Wednesday as part of a soft launch ahead of its relaunch planned for October.

The 50 year-old cruise liner has been converted into a 13-deck hotel with 13 restaurants and bars (five of which will initially be open) and an exhibition detailing the vessel’s grand history.

In a press release announcing  the soft opening, Hamza Mustafa, the CEO of PCFC Hotels, said: “To finally open the QE2 is a dream come true for my team and I. It is one of Dubai’s most highly anticipated projects and we know that a lot of people are going to be very excited to see her for the first time, or to step back on board the vessel that created so many wonderful memories during her 40 years at sea.”

“We have dedicated more than 2.7 million man-hours into transforming this legendary ocean liner into the multi-faceted tourist destination that she is today and I am very proud to reintroduce her to the world as she embarks on the next stage of her celebrated journey.”

In pictures: How the restored QE2 cruise liner looks

(Writing by Michael Fahy; Editing by Mily Chakrabarty)

(michael.fahy@thomsonreuters.com)

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© ZAWYA 2018

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