Will she or wonít she? QE2 tipped as a Cape Town floating hotel

Juy 14, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

Topping the cruise rumour market this week are reports of the passenger liner Queen Elizabeth 2ís possible move from Dubai to Cape Town.

According to these reports cash-strapped Dubai firm Nakheel, a division of the Dubai royal familyís DP World development empire, has applied to place QE2 on a permanent mooring in the V&A Waterfront, in which DP World holds the principal share.

Readers will be aware that when QE2 was withdrawn from service a year ago by Cunard, the most famous passenger ship was sold to the Dubai company for £50 million with the intention that it became a floating hotel and tourist attraction. Elaborate plans of removing her funnel to a plinth alongside, and adding an extra 30m to her length to provide additional accommodation and public areas were unveiled, but that was before the economic crash of October 2008.

Since then a number of reports have suggested that QE2 could be returned to cruising, albeit temporarily, or the ship might even return to the UK. Meanwhile QE2 sits quietly in Port Rashid harbour awaiting her fate but this week reports emerged that Nakheel had requested permission to moor the vessel in the V&A harbour at Cape Town, where she would become a floating hotel and tourist attraction.

But other ports, including several in the Middle East have also expressed interest in playing host to the QE2. The advantage that Cape Town holds is that Nakheel would retain full control of the ship whereas in another port that might not be so.

Tourism authorities in Cape Town have acknowledged the report and say that the decision lies first with Transnet National Ports Authority although the Department of Tourism would also have to consider the desirability of having QE2 added to the equation of available hotel accommodation in Cape Town. A decision would be made shortly, reports said.

DP World and Transnet have both declined to comment on the stories, with Transnet saying it would be inappropriate at this stage.


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