The chairman of Dubai’s Drydocks World, the owners of the iconic QE2 ocean liner, said he will not be sorry to see the back of the ship when it leaves the emirate in October.
But he said Dubai had “fantastic” plans and the funding in place to rebrand it when it arrives at its new home in the Far East, it has been reported.
“It really has a magic feeling about it when you go inside. We need now to really rebrand it well and I think hopefully with the plan we have and the money we are going to spend it is going to be fantastic,” Khamis Juma Buamim, chairman of Dubai’s Drydocks World, told the 7DAYS newspaper in an interview.
Last month, Buamim announced the QE2 had been transferred to a new entity called QE2 Shipping and is likely to leave Dubai on October 18.
The QE2 is being converted to a floating luxury hotel at Drydocks World and Buamim confirmed all necessary registry documentation with the flag state on the ownership of the vessel had been completed.
The cruise liner is set for a gala farewell sail off party in Dubai and is expected to reach Singapore on November 1 where she will stay for three days before proceeding to Hong Kong for another three days and thereafter leave for the selected shipyard in China to complete her transformation.
Despite its impending departure, Buamim said he wasn’t sorry to see the back of the ship, which Dubai for around $100m bought in 2007 and which has languished in Port Rashid ever since. “I don’t think sentimentally, I think about money. Where the money is, I’ll go,” he was quoted as saying.
“This is a great ship. The question is: “Where is it commercially and economically viable? We look at things from a business perspective. At the end of the day, we own the ship. Wherever it goes it is still Dubai.”
A number of international concept designer houses including Benoy, Francis Leung of Hong Kong, Ong & Ong, Wilson Associates and Jeday Associates have been invited to submit their plans for the transformation of the QE2.
It has been decided that the QE2 will be an all suite hotel with suite sizes varying between 60 and 150 square metres. Some larger suites are intended for long stay residences.
Submitted designs will be placed on the QE2 hotels website where public opinion will be invited against set criteria to choose the best design.