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QE2’s final journey

QE2’s final journey

As the QE2 docks in Dubai, its owners hope that the ship will join the likes of Burj Al Arab and Burj Dubai, as one of the city’s icons and draw tourists from across the world.

November 27, 2008 11:46 by

As the massive Queen Elizabeth II (QE2) came into sight at the Mina Rashid port in Dubai on Wednesday, the crowds waiting at the dockside began cheering loudly, waving British and UAE flags. Their cheers were accompanied by the sound of a police marching band, as well as music a traditional UAE dance troupe swayed to.

For the gathered press, it was a sigh of relief. An Emirates A380 plane was supposed to fly-by at 3:15 pm, the QE2 was supposed to dock at 4:30 pm, but they were delays, and as the sun began to set, photographers and camera crew were worried they wouldn’t get good shots of the ship.

The A380 did fly- by, though because there was no announcement, many of the press missed it. The ship however did dock at around 5:40 pm, and its arrival threw all the gathered media into a frenzy; cameras flashing, video cameras rolling and reporters trying their best to get interviews from authorities.

After 40 years at sea, the luxury liner will be docked in Dubai permanently. QE2’s previous owner, shipping company Cunard , sold QE2 last year to Dubai World for approximately $100 million. Its current owners say that in two to three years, the QE2 is going to be transformed into a hotel with dozens of rooms, several restaurants, a performance theater and a spa. Some of the cruiser’s famous quarters, like the Queen’s Room, the Captain’s Quarters and the Bridge will not be altered.

But the transformation is bound to cost a lot of money, and during the current economic crisis, when many companies are canceling projects, is Nakheel, the company carrying out the development, adequately funded?
“Let me put it to you in perspective,” says Manfred Ursprunger,the CEO of QE2 Enterprises. “We are fully committed to the vision, the development. And we are committed to delivering it in two to three years.”

While we will have to wait to watch whether that happens, here are some interesting facts about the QE2.

· She has circumnavigated the world 25 times, crossed the Atlantic more than 800 times and carried more than 2.5 million passengers including many international celebrities. She has traveled more miles than any other ship ever built
· QE2 weighs approximately 70,000 tons, which is the equivalent of 14,000 elephants
· The ship consumes around 18 tons of a fuel an hour, or 433 tons per day.
· The amount of fruit juice used annually on board QE2 would fill the ship’s swimming pools nearly eight times over. 2,500 tea-bags are used each day, and passengers consume nearly 20 tons of lobster and 1 ton of caviar each year.
· QE2 cost slightly more than AED 160 million to build in 1969, since then around 15 times that amount has been spent on refits and refurbishments.
· She is 294 meters in length (the equivalent of 30 London buses parked end to end), 32 meters in width (equal to seven London taxis parked end to end) and 62 meters tall from keel to masthead.-AN

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