September 12, 2008

Port to bid farewell to the Queen Elizabeth 2

This article appeared on the Mount Desert Islander site

An extract from the article follows:

"BAR HARBOR — The Queen Elizabeth 2 is scheduled to make her final stop in Bar Harbor on Friday, Sept. 19. The QE2 is expected to arrive at 7 a.m. and make her final departure at 6 p.m. The royal nautical legend is going to be revamped as a luxury floating hotel, retail and entertainment center at a luxury resort in Dubai after she arrives there in November.

The 40-year old ship first visited Bar Harbor on July 23, 1981 and has been here almost every year since with the exception of her involvement in the Falklands War and another year when there was a plan to decommission her that didn’t materialize.

Earlier this year, the ship’s owner, Cunard Line, announced that it was nearing time for the QE2 to retire. The ship was sold for $100 million to Istithmar, the investment arm of Dubai World, a company owned by the government of Dubai.

The QE2 will be delivered to Dubai World, where she will relinquish her assignment as an ocean-going passenger vessel and be refurbished and customized for her new home in Jumeirah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In 2009, the vessel will be berthed at a specially constructed pier at The Palm Jumeirah, the world’s largest man-made island.

Palm Jumeirah was opened in 2001 and is the centerpiece of a series of man-made islands off the coast of Dubai. Palm Jumeirah has been called the eighth wonder of the world. The complex of reclaimed lands was created by state-owned development company, Nakheel.

The island has doubled Dubai’s existing coastline and also doubles the number of beachfront hotels in the city.
For 35 years QE2 was the flagship of the Cunard Line until replaced by RMS Queen Mary 2 in 2004. Built in Clydebank, Scotland, she was considered the last of the great transatlantic ocean liners prior to the construction of the QM2. Before the QE2 was upgraded with a diesel power plant in 1986, she was also the last oil-fired, steam passenger steamship to cross the Atlantic in scheduled liner service.

The ship has a gross weight of 70,327 tons and is 963 feet long. She had a top speed of 32.5 knots using her original steam turbine powerplant, which was increased to 34 knots when she was refitted with a diesel electric powerplant.

In her civilian capacity, the QE2 carries 1,900 passengers and 1,015 crew.
The QE2 participated in the Falklands War in 1982, carrying 3,000 troops from the British Fifth Infantry Brigade and 650 volunteer Cunard crew to South Georgia Island in the south Atlantic.

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