DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — After more than four years sitting idle in a Dubai port, the storied passenger liner Queen Elizabeth 2 is bound again for the high seas as part of deal to convert the vessel into a luxury hotel in Asia, officials said Thursday.
The precise destination of the QE2 was not disclosed. But a map noted its planned voyage ending in China, raising speculation about seaports such as Shanghai or Hong Kong.
‘‘We promise to take good care of her,’’ said Daniel Chui, managing director of Oceanic Group, a Singapore-based maritime company leading the renovation of the vessel into a 500-room hotel.
The deal marks the latest twist in the fate of the QE2, which has been docked in Dubai since it was purchased by the state investment company Istithmar World in 2007 for $100 million at the height of the city’s boom era. In July, plans were revealed to keep the vessel in Dubai as a hotel and hub of a seafaring center.
But Dubai’s economic rebound has been spotty, and officials have already pledged huge investments in new entertainment and retail projects. It’s also another sign of the expanding economic influence of China, which has a fast-growing tourism sector.
There is no firm timetable for the QE2’s journey east. First, it will undergo full checks for seaworthiness that could take up to three months, said the chaiman of the shipyard operator Drydocks World.