June 5, 2009

QE2 owners dismiss sale rumours

This on: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/hampshire/8085096.stm

The owners of the QE2 have denied speculation that the cruise ship will be sold on instead of being turned into a floating hotel.

Cunard sold the Southampton-based liner for £50m to real estate developer Nakheel in the United Arab Emirates.

The company has told the BBC the ship will not be sold off, even though work on the refurbishment has not begun.

Nakheel has said it will make the QE2 the centrepiece of the Palm Jumeirah development on the Dubai waterfront.

BBC South Transport Correspondent Paul Clifton said the designers were "yet to finalise a concept for the refurbishment".

“ The company says the engines are used regularly, the propellers are turned ” BBC South Transport Correspondent Paul Clifton

Last year, Nakheel said the QE2's giant red funnel would be sliced off and placed on the waterfront.

It said a glass penthouse - the most exclusive hotel room in Dubai - would be built in its place.
Every cabin was to be replaced with new, larger bedrooms and the engine space filled with a theatre, ahead of a scheduled opening in 2010.

"Nothing has happened [since the ship was handed over in November] and critics suggest nothing will," said Mr Clifton.

"Other Nakheel projects have been delayed during the recession.

"But the company says the engines are used regularly, the propellers are turned and the teak decking protected.

"Nakheel states firmly that the ship will not be sold on."

Following four decades of service, the QE2 left its home port of Southampton for the last time in November 2008 on a valedictory two-week cruise.

Tens of thousands of people lined Southampton Water on 11 November to see the 70,000-tonne ship leave UK waters for the last time.

Nakheel has said the ship's anchor will be given back to the people of Southampton.

During its life, the QE2 has served as a troop ship in the Falklands Conflict in 1982, been around the world 25 times, crossed the Atlantic more than 800 times and carried more than 2.5 million passengers.

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