July 16, 2007

Sailing on the QE II

This interesting article from newsday.com

"The writing was on the wall more than three years ago. In January 2004, when Cunard introduced the 151,400-ton QM2, the clock started ticking for the QE2.

It was only a matter of time before the dowager -- and, by then, dowdier -- 70,327-ton QE2 would be retired. Even after a few face-lifts -- at a price tag that outstripped the venerable vessel's original construction costs more than tenfold -- the QE2 no longer could gloss over her wrinkles. And, last month, Cunard announced the inevitable.

The QE2 will make its final voyage in November 2008. After a renovation and some additional cosmetic surgery, the 40-year-old oceangoing queen will end its days as a luxury hotel and mall. According to Cunard, the QE2 will be permanently docked in Dubai at The Palm Jumeirah, the world's largest man-made island.

The cruise line announced that the QE2 would be sold to Dubai World, an investment arm of the Dubai government, for $100 million. Beginning in 2009, the vessel will be berthed at a specially constructed pier in the Arab emirate.As namesake of England's still-reigning monarch, the QE2 was launched in 1967. Once the fleetest in Cunard's fleet, the ship would become the world's swiftest ocean liner when, shortly after its maiden voyage in September 1969, the famed SS United States retired. (The SS United States still holds the record for fastest passenger-carrying ship.) The QE2 is the longest-serving ship in Cunard's 168-year history and the line's longest-serving flagship.

Since it sailed into service, it has undertaken 25 world cruises, crossed the Atlantic more than 800 times and carried more than 2.5 million passengers.As befits an outgoing queen, several farewell voyages are planned before the ship's Dubai dry-docking.

A 10-night farewell cruise, aptly on a British Isles itinerary, will depart Southampton, on the south coast of England, on Sept. 30, 2008. The sailing will include maiden calls to Dublin and Belfast. It will stop at the Clyde (Greenock), where the QE2 was built, before journeying to Cork (Cobh), Liverpool (Cunard's ancestral home), Edinburgh (South Queensferry) and Newcastle. Fares start at $2,455.

On Oct. 10, QE2 will leave Southampton along with Cunard's current flagship, Queen Mary 2, and embark on a final tandem crossing to New York. Fares for the six-night crossing start at $1,175.On Oct. 15, both liners will sail from New York's harbor as QE2 begins its "Farewell to America" crossing. It will be the QE2's 806th and final Atlantic crossing, and both ships will arrive in Southampton on Oct. 22. Fares start at $1,065. The ship's final "final voyage" will depart Southampton Nov. 11, headed for Dubai. It will call at Lisbon, Gibraltar, Civitavecchia, Naples, Malta and Alexandria and pass through the Suez Canal before journeying to its new destiny on Nov. 27. Fares start at $4,615.But the QE2's departure will not leave Cunard's royal fleet bereft. This December, a new queen -- the 1,980-passenger Queen Victoria, currently under construction -- will join the Queen Mary 2, which, according to Cunard, is the world's fastest liner. For information, call 800-528-6273 or go to cunard.com.

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...