By Daniel Shane
Company boss says iconic liner to sail to Singapore later this year despite interest from UK investors
Plans for the QE2, the iconic cruise liner bought by Dubai for $100m in 2007, to leave the emirate for Singapore in either August or September remain on track, despite reported interest from British investors.
Under a proposal announced in January, the ocean liner will sail to Asia later this year, where it will be converted into a 500-room floating hotel.
However, British investors last week claimed that negotiations were ongoing to strike a last minute deal with its Dubai owners, which would see the QE2 moored on the banks of London’s Thames.
The company managing the Asia plan for the ship, which is currently undergoing renovation in Dubai, denied that the ship could end up in London, and said that its own project remained on schedule.
“It is heart-warming to know that the British is interested in the QE2,” Daniel Chui, managing director Singapore-based Oceanic Group, told Arabian Business via email. “It further strengthens our... commitment to restore the ship to what we have envisioned for her.”
“We do not know how to respond to their interest and will only say the plan to have her sail to Singapore/Hong Kong later this year is on schedule,” he added.
Plans for the project were first announced in January 2013, with Dubai-based Drydocks World taking over management of the 45-year old vessel from Dubai World's investment arm Istithmar. At the time it was stated that the ship’s new home would be an unspecified city in the Far East.
The QE2 has been moored at Dubai’s Port Rashid since October 2011.
The renovation plans will include a shopping mall, a QE2 Café offering meals similar to those served during cruises, three Michelin-starred restaurants, convention and meeting facilities and an onboard maritime museum displaying QE2 and Dubai memorabilia.
The plan is just one of several that have been floated for the QE2 since it arrived in the emirate following its purchase from UK operator Cunard in 2007.
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.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Perhaps this is "We have another buyer already" salesman ploy to get the price up from the British investors. Maybe not. But money talks.