QE2 News / QE2 in Dubai / QE2 Today
Updated on September 2nd 2017 by Rob Lightbody
QE2 today is still mostly intact but is laid up at Port Rashid, Dubai, after 9 years in Dubai. Work appears to be ongoing slowly to open her up in a static role, but an expected opening date is currently unknown.
The story since arriving in Dubai...
QE2 was handed over to her new owners,
Dubai World owned
Istithmar, at Port Rashid
in Dubai on November 27th, 2008 after arriving the day before at
the end of her final voyage.
It was expected that she would go into Dubai Dry Dock for a 3 year radical rebuild however the global recession had knock-on effects for Dubai's QE2 project. Dubai had bigger problems, and bigger projects to fund and finish first. It also no longer needed the hotel rooms that QE2 was intended to provide...
The plan that wasn't to be. QE2 at a dedicated part of the Palm
QE2's Dubai Story - Part 1 (2008 - 2012)
As the months passed and rumours mounted, QE2 continued to
sit where her last passengers left her, engines
still running. Cruise ships came and went, docking
near her, their passengers unaware of what ship that sleek
looking liner was.
Her former fleet-mates QM2 and QV visited during their world cruises and the new Queen Elizabeth also visited her namesake - QE2 forlornly blew blasts on her mighty whistle to them all in turn to say hello, and then to say goodbye...
What little news there was during this time, came almost exclusively from The QE2 Story through our growing network of contacts.
In summer 2009, the ship was drydocked and prepared to sail under her own power to South Africa - a plan which sadly fell through at the last minute.
For 4 years, she was maintained by an expert V-Ships crew of 40 who lived on board. She received essential maintenance and one of her nine giant diesel engines was always running. This provided power for lighting, air-conditioning, fire & safety systems.
By day, many passengers on other ships thought she was simply on a cruise visiting the port. At night, all her lights were seen to be on and she looked ready to set off on another cruise. Only the absence of the CUNARD logo from her sides, and the absence of passengers on her decks, told another story.
April 2011 - We visit & Document QE2
In 2011, Rob Lightbody of TheQE2Story.com gained exclusive access to the ship, lifting the secrecy that had surrounded the ship for years, spending 3 days on board with access to all areas, and extensively documented her condition. You can see his photos here and his videos here. Rob's visit hit the headlines including being featured on BBC TV News - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-13265118.
QE2's Dubai Story - Part 2 (2013 to 2015)
In December 2012, everything changed.
were abruptly asked to leave, with her live-aboard crew given
just days notice after spending years aboard looking
These photos record the condition they left her in.
At this point a project called 'QE2 London' felt forced to reveal themselves and their plans by the unexpected events. They had thought they were close to signing a deal. This website embraced this as sounding absolutely ideal for this British Icon.
QE2s London's Plan
The change came about as a result of Khamis Buamin, Chairman of
Dubai Dry Docks.
Dubai Dry Docks World,
another company within the Dubai World group, took control of the ship, and a crew from
Oceanic Group was placed aboard with
no handover from V-ships.
The ship's warm lay-up ended, and after a
brief dry docking
in January 2013, the ship was placed in cold lay up, afloat, within the Dry Docks
facility of Port Rashid.
Ambitious plans were announced to relocate QE2 to Asia to become a floating hotel, however no firm location, operator or finances were announced, and no significant work was confirmed to have been carried out, leading us to conclude they were empty announcements. Most online disagreed with us at this stage...
In March 2015, Khamis Buamin left Dubai Dry Docks in a 'shock exit'. This made it clearer than ever that the plans noted above, would not be happening. The ship was filthy, the plans were off. Liner in Limbo, as the BBC Noted around this time.
QE2's Dubai Story Part 3 - Things Looking Up?
Later in 2015, things started to look up, however, and by 2016 she had been moved round to the Dubai Cruise Terminal, the very cruise terminal which which she herself inaugurated on her maiden call to Dubai in March 1997 during her world cruise. She was being washed down, and workers were seen going aboard.
August 2016 brought the surprising news that her lifeboat davits had all been cut off. We profoundly disagreed with this move, even if, as suspected, it is to improve the space on boat deck. The boats can be seen above, as can the "naked" boat deck. Rob Lightbody wrote a feature for Maritime Matters about this which was published in January 2017.
March 2017 - QE2 as seen from the road - Photo © Andrew Grist
In 2017 we've seen that work is clearly ongoing. There is reason to remain simultaneously concerned and optimistic. We continue to reach out to her operators for information and we offer to support them too.
As the 50th Anniversary of QE2's launch is celebrated at events in the UK, we await news of the ship. Watch this space, but after 9 years, maybe don't hold your breath...
So once again, the world watches and waits to see what will happen to the Greatest Ship in the World. Keep an eye on the forum for all the latest breaking news.