DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The Queen Elizabeth 2’s Dubai owners on Monday outlined plans to turn the storied cruise liner into a dockside hotel that will keep many existing furnishings intact, ending years of speculation about the fate of the $100 million throwback.
A rare tour given to the Associated Press showed that while there is still work to be done, the conversion may convince future guests they have been transported back in time.
From books stacked neatly on a quarterdeck library shelf to the spiral staircase leading to the intimate champagne bar, little appears changed since the vessel’s final voyage in 2008.
Glass doorways, wall clocks, and even trash cans still carry the logo of the Cunard Line, which operated the QE2 for nearly four decades.
Boxy guest room televisions and ashtrays built snugly into corridor walls harken back to earlier eras. So do many of the color schemes in public areas like the Yacht Club lounge, with its wood-paneled walls and baby blue chairs.
Even the onboard slot machines remain in place — an incongruous site in a Muslim country where gambling is forbidden. Leili Gerami, the QE2 project director, said one idea is to turn the casino into a game center with machines that spit out prize tickets rather than cash.
The latest renovation effort is a comedown from a previous proposal to significantly overhaul the ship and convert it into a luxury hotel docked alongside one of the sheikdom’s manmade palm-shaped islands. Developers shelved those more ambitious plans when Dubai’s economy tumbled into crisis.
Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of Istithmar World, the Dubai state investment company that owns the ship, said the aim now is to open about 300 existing cabins as guest rooms. The company realized visitors want to see the QE2 as it originally looked, he added.