The Dubai-based owner of the iconic QE2 cruise liner has announced the appointment of COSCO Shipyard Group to refurbish the ship into a luxury floating hotel.
QE2 Holdings said in a statement that the cruise ship, which has hosted kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers and celebrities throughout its legendary 40-year history, will depart from Dubai and arrive in COSCO Shipyard’s facility in Zhoushan, Zhejiang Province.
Once there, it will receive a makeover that is scheduled for completion by 2015.
The existing 990 staterooms will be converted into 400 premium suites ranging from 60 to 150 square metres.
The statement said COSCO Shipyard will be responsible for all the technical repairs and coordinate with an appointed interior renovation contractor to revamp the accommodation and ballroom, as well as the refitting of seven restaurants, 10 lounges, a cinema, a maritime museum displaying QE2 memorabilia, and a shopping mall.
Khamis Juma Buamim, chairman of QE2 Holdings and Dubai’s Drydocks World, said: “No other ship can match the QE2’s prestige, or her legacy. She is an absolute icon of maritime history, one of the best and most powerful ships in the world. Therefore, our decision on a partner was critical.
“We are pleased to be working closely with COSCO Shipyard for the technical repair and refurbishment process, which will be carried out with the utmost respect to the QE2’s heritage and splendour. China COSCO’s expertise in cruise ship conversion will complement our extensive experience in comprehensive ship repair work and upgrades.”
Yan Chengxiang, vice president of COSCO Shipyard, added: “QE2 Holdings’ decision to carry out this work with us is a reflection of COSCO Shipyard and COSCO Group’s leading position in China’s shipbuilding industry, and it also should also generate optimism for a sector that is rapidly transforming.”
QE2 Holdings also announced that it has invited seven international interior architecture houses to compete for the interior design contract.
Daniel Chui, president and chief executive of QE2 Holdings and managing director of Oceanic Group, said: “The ship’s redevelopment is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for any interior design professional to create what will become one of Asia’s major waterfront tourist attractions.
"The goal for the final design is to preserve the soul of the QE2 — many of the original furnishings and much of the décor will be incorporated — while creating a modern luxury hotel.”
Originally set to be refurbished as the central attraction in a maritime-themed development on Palm Jumeirah, this plan was scrapped in the wake of the financial crisis and the downturn in the Dubai property market.