A lot of people were led to believe when QE2 was sold, she would be preserved (as least similar as we all knew her). An article in The Times (London) tells an entirely different story. Father Eddie O'Donnell from Dublin sent us a copy of the paper.
QE2 to be ripped up for new life as a Dubai floating hotel
Ben Webster, Transport Correspondent
The QE2’s red funnel will be cut off, her decks stripped away and hundreds of cabins demolished when she retires to Dubai to become a floating hotel. The 41-year-old cruise ship appeared reluctant to submit herself to her fate yesterday: she briefly ran aground on a sandbank in the Solent on her way back from the Mediterranean, hours before beginning her final voyage.
Five tugs helped to refloat the 70,000-tonne vessel and she arrived an hour late at her home port of Southampton for a day of celebrations and a visit from the Duke of Edinburgh. But her retirement party was overshadowed by revelations about the refurbishment planned by her new owner, Dubai World, the Gulf state’s investment company.
It plans to make the QE2 a “hotel, retail and entertainment destination”. She will be moored on a specially constructed pier on Palm Jumeirah, a man-made island in the shape of a tree. Southampton and Clydebank, where the QE2 was built in the 1960s, both offered to provide a final home, but were unable to match the $100 million (£65 million) paid by Dubai.
The Queen launched Cunard's great new liner from John Brown's yard and gave her in ringing tones the name Queen Elizabeth II
Speaking from the portside as the QE2 left last night, Brian Parnell, the Mayor of Southampton, said he had been disappointed to learn that the word Southampton would be removed from the ship’s stern after she arrived in Dubai. “It is very sad. This is her 726th time here in Southampton.”
Little of the interior of the QE2 will be preserved and her famous silhouette will be altered by the removal of the funnel. In its place will be a tall glass funnel-shaped structure containing luxury suites. The old funnel is likely to be taken ashore to become part of a grand entrance to the ship.
The nine engines will be removed through the hole left by the removal of the funnel. The giant engine room, which many QE2 enthusiasts had hoped would be preserved and opened to the public, will become an entertainment complex. Almost all the 1,000 cabins will be ripped out and larger hotel rooms fitted in their place. The lifeboats suspended along the open deck will be removed. Dubai World has signed a gagging agreement with Cunard but has had a team on board for months drawing up plans for the two-year refurbishment, which will cost more than it paid for the ship.
More than 1,700 passengers have paid up to £18,000 each to be on the 16-night one-way trip to Dubai. Cunard had hoped to keep the gutting of the ship secret until after the voyage. The company had given the impression last June, when announcing the deal, that the QE2’s heritage would be preserved. Carol Marlow, Cunard’s president, said then: “There will continue to be a permanent home for her that will enable future generations to continue to experience fully both the ship and her history.”
Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Dubai World’s chairman, said at the time: “Dubai is a maritime nation and we understand the rich heritage of QE2. She is coming to a home where she will be cherished.”
The grounding on the QE2’s final day in Britain prompted a wave of superstition among passengers. Shirley Newcombe, from Durham, who was making her tenth voyage on the QE2, said: “She didn’t want to come in. That’s the opinion of quite a few of us on board. She doesn’t want to go to Dubai.”
Robert Lightbody from Glasgow, whose father maintained the ship’s engines, said: “I’m now thinking it would have been better had she been scrapped. Lots of long-term crew agree. What annoys me most is the way Cunard implied that she was going to be preserved intact.”
Commodore John Burton-Hall, 72, captain of the QE2 in the 1990s, said that she could have carried on sailing for many years. “I suppose it is better that she goes to Dubai than ending up being scrapped from a beach in Pakistan. But it won’t be the QE2 as we know her now.”[/color]
"Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” ~~ P. J. O’Rourke