Tags: Dubai | Buy | QE2 | for | $100 | Million | Floating

Dubai to Buy QE2 for $100 Million Floating Hotel

Monday, 18 June 2007 12:00 AM

DUBAI, June 18 -- Dubai said on Monday it had agreed to buy the Queen Elizabeth 2 for $100 million and turn the famous cruise ship into a floating hotel and museum to draw tourists to one of the Gulf emirate's man-made islands.

State-owned private equity firm Istithmar will become the new owner of the QE2, the longest-serving ship in the 168 year history of the Cunard line, which belongs to Carnival Corp., the world's largest cruise operator.

The liner will be anchored off the 560 hectare (1,384 acres) Palm Jumeirah, the smallest of three islands shaped as palm fronds that government-owned developer Nakheel is building off Dubai's coast.

The cruise ship, which will also have shops on board, will arrive in Dubai in 2009 as part of a drive to turn the island into a tourist destination, Nakheel spokesman Charlie Taylor said. Around 6.5 million people visited Dubai last year, more than any Arab destination except Egypt.

"The refurbishment programme will aim to recreate QE2's original interior decor and fittings," Istithmar said.

The ship came into service in 1969 and has crossed the Atlantic more than 800 times, carrying more than 2.5 million passengers, according to the statement.

"Dubai is a maritime nation and we understand the rich heritage of QE2," the statement quoted Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of Istithmar's parent, Dubai World, as saying.

Istithmar is the investment arm of Dubai World, which owns Nakheel and Dubai Ports World, the port operator that bought rival P&O, a 165-year-old British company, in 2006.

© reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.

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DUBAI, June 18 -- Dubai said on Monday it had agreed to buy the Queen Elizabeth 2 for $100 million and turn the famous cruise ship into a floating hotel and museum to draw tourists to one of the Gulf emirate's man-made islands. State-owned private equity firm Istithmar...
Dubai,Buy,QE2,for,$100,Million,Floating,Hotel
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2007-00-18
Monday, 18 June 2007 12:00 AM
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