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QE2 News / QE2 in Dubai / QE2 Today

Updated on February 1st 2018 by Rob Lightbody

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This site is unconnected with QE2 Hotel.  The official website for Hotel QE2 is here -


The story since arriving in Dubai...

QE2 was handed over to her new owners, Dubai World owned Istithmar, at Port Rashid in Dubai on November 27th, 2008 after arriving the day before at the end of her final voyage. 
It was expected that she would go into Dubai Dry Dock for a 3 year radical rebuild however the global recession had knock-on effects for Dubai's QE2 project.  Dubai had bigger problems, and bigger projects to fund and finish first.  It also no longer needed the hotel rooms that QE2 was intended to provide...

QE2 in Dubai
The plan that wasn't to be. QE2 at a dedicated part of the Palm

QE2's Dubai Story - Part 1 (2008 - 2012)

As the months passed and rumours mounted, QE2 continued to sit where her last passengers left her, engines still running.  Cruise ships came and went, docking near her, their passengers unaware of what ship that sleek looking liner was.
Her former fleet-mates QM2 and QV visited during their world cruises and the new Queen Elizabeth also visited her namesake - QE2 forlornly blew blasts on her mighty whistle to them all in turn to say hello, and then to say goodbye...  

What little news there was during this time, came almost exclusively from The QE2 Story through our growing network of contacts.


In summer 2009, the ship was drydocked and prepared to sail under her own power to South Africa - a plan which sadly fell through at the last minute.


For 4 years, she was maintained by an expert V-Ships crew of 40 who lived on board. She received essential maintenance and one of her nine giant diesel engines was always running.  This provided power for lighting, air-conditioning, fire & safety systems.

By day, many passengers on other ships thought she was simply on a cruise visiting the port.  At night, all her lights were seen to be on and she looked ready to set off on another cruise.  Only the absence of the CUNARD logo from her sides, and the absence of passengers on her decks, told another story.

April 2011 - Rob Lightbody gets exclusive access to document QE2's condition.

sleeping beauty newspaper article In 2011, Rob Lightbody of gained exclusive access to the ship, lifting the secrecy that had surrounded the ship for years, spending 3 days on board with access to all areas, and extensively documented her condition.  You can see his photos here and his videos here.  Rob's visit hit the headlines including being featured on BBC TV News -

QE2's Dubai Story - Part 2, the dry dock years (2013 to 2015)

In December 2012, everything changed.  V-ships were abruptly asked to leave, with her live-aboard crew given just days notice after spending years aboard looking after her.  These photos record the condition they left her in.

Dubai Dry Docks World, another company within the Dubai World group, took control of the ship, and a crew from Oceanic Group was placed aboard with no handover from V-ships.  The ship's warm lay-up ended, and after a brief dry docking in January 2013, the ship was placed in cold lay up, afloat, within the Dry Docks facility of Port Rashid.

Ambitious plans were announced to relocate QE2 to Asia to become a floating hotel, however no firm location, operator or finances were announced, and no significant work was confirmed to have been carried out, leading us to conclude they were empty announcements.  Most online disagreed with us at this stage...

In March 2015, Khamis Buamin left Dubai Dry Docks in a 'shock exit'.  This made it clearer than ever that the plans noted above, would not be happening.  The ship was filthy, the plans were off.  Liner in Limbo, as the BBC Noted around this time.

2014-02-22 - 0078 - Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) - Dubai
This stunning photo was taken February 22nd 2014.  Click the photo to see more including the photographer.

QE2's Dubai Story Part 3 (2015 to 2018) - Docked at the original cruise terminal

In 2015, things finally started to look more positive for QE2, and by 2016 she had been moved round to the Dubai Cruise Terminal, the very cruise terminal which which she herself inaugurated on her maiden call to Dubai in March 1997 during her world cruise.  She was being washed down, and workers were seen going aboard.

QE2 in Dubai, 2016
QE2 as seen on Google Maps satellite view

August 2016 brought the surprising news that her lifeboat davits had all been cut off.  We profoundly disagreed with this move, even if, as suspected, it is to improve the space on boat deck.  The boats can be seen above, as can the "naked" boat deck.  Rob Lightbody wrote a feature for Maritime Matters about this, published in January 2017.   It also became apparent that the aft swimming pool had been removed or covered over.

QE2 as seen from the road in Dubai
March 2017 - QE2 as seen from the road - Photo © Andrew Grist


Throughout 2017 we saw that work was clearly ongoing, and there was reason to be cautiously optimistic.  Rumours were going around on social media in October 2017 that she is to open as a hotel in December, and this was then moved to "Spring 2018".

We continue to reach out to her operators for information and we offer to support them too, due to our hefty address book of important QE2 people!

You can see a comprehensive summary timeline of QE2 in Dubai here.

You can read about and discuss the latest news here.


So once again,  the world watches and waits to see what will happen to the Greatest Ship in the World.   Keep an eye on the forum for all the latest breaking news.