Iconic cruise ship Queen Elizabeth 2 will be upgraded into a luxury floating hotel with 500 rooms and will be moored in an Asian harbour, its Dubai owners said in a statement on Thursday.
The ship "will be moved today (Thursday) to Drydocks World Dubai for undertaking classification checks prior to her renovation as a luxury floating hotel," said the statement by Drydocks World, a maritime holding company belonging to the Dubai government.
QE2 will be converted into "a five-star hotel with 500 rooms managed by a prestigious international hotel as an operator" in partnership with the Oceanic Group, which has operations in China, Hong Kong and Singapore.
The refurbished QE2 will also include a shopping mall, restaurants and an onboard maritime museum, the statement said, without specify where the ship would be based in Asia.
Dubai World bought the QE2 for about 50 million pounds (81 million dollars) from US cruise operator Cunard in 2007, when the economy of Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates was growing at a breakneck speed before the global financial crisis.
Launched by her British namesake in September 1967, the QE2 was Cunard's longest-serving ship. The 963-feet- (294-metre) craft can carry up to 1,778 passengers and more than 1,000 crew.