New images purportedly show QE2 during Dubai layup
New images have been published of the former Cunard Line flagship Queen Elizabeth II (QE2), which is currently in cold layup at Drydocks World in Dubai awaiting an uncertain fate.
The images, published by the Middle East cruise website Cruise Arabia claim to show QE2’s interior in its current state, but it isn’t clear when the images were taken and their authenticity can’t be verified.
However, they do provide a fascinating and no doubt distressing glimpse for fans of the QE2 into her deteriorating condition amid a series of failed plans to turn her into a floating hotel first in Dubai and then in the Far East and London.
QE2 was purchased by Istithmar, Dubai World's private-equity arm in 2008, but has since been the subject of a number of failed schemes and rumoured plans.
Ever since the financial crisis, her future has become increasingly uncertain.
It was anticipated that QE2 would be moved to Dubai Drydocks sometime in 2009 to begin a series of far-reaching refurbishments which would result in her being converted into a floating hotel however, as of 2011 no confirmed destination for the QE2's retirement and reopening has been announced.
However, on 24 June 2009, QE2 moved under her own power into the Dubai Drydocks for inspection and hull repainting before her (then planned) voyage to Cape Town's V&A Waterfront to serve there as a floating hotel for the FIFA World Cup 2010 onwards.
Those plans fell through.
In early 2010, due to the continued poor financial performance of Dubai World, there was much media speculation that QE2 would be sold to become a floating hotel in London, Singapore, Clydebank, Japan and Fremantle.
On 28 September 2011 there were news reports that a plan was being formulated to return QE2 to the United Kingdom by berthing her in Liverpool. The same week, Nakheel confirmed that she would no longer be berthed on The Palm Jumeirah as a floating hotel.
Nakheel suggested that QE2 would remain at Port Rashid to become an integral part of the growing cruise terminal, but these plans also fell through.
On 23 December 2012, it was reported that QE2 had been sold for scrapping in China for £20 million, but those reports were denied outright by Cunard Line.
On 17 January 2013, the Dubai Drydocks World announced that the QE2 will be sent to an unknown location in Asia to serve as a floating luxury hotel, shopping mall, and museum.
It is unclear whether these plans are still going ahead, while a separate group of investors in the UK continue to push for the ship to be moved back to London. The "QE2 London" Plan includes a £20 million bid for QE2 and a further £40 million refurbishment that will create more than 2,000 jobs in London, with the QE2 docked near the O2 Arena. It has reportedly obtained the support of London Mayor Boris Johnson.
The full set of pictures of the QE2 in Dubai can be found here.