When it comes to ocean-going vessels, they don’t get more iconic than the Queen Elizabeth 2, the legendary ship which was operated by Cunard as a transatlantic liner, and then a cruise ship, for almost 40 years. After completing her final voyage for Cunard on 11 November, 2008, her future remained uncertain, with a return to her spiritual home of Liverpool and a plan to scrap her all rumoured. However, it was announced earlier this year that she would live out her days as a luxury floating hotel and just recently, full details of this new chapter in her life have been announced.
QE2 holdings is to enlist the help of COSCO Shipyard Group to complete the refurbishment of the historic vessel, which will travel from its current home in Dubai to COSCO’s facility in Zhoushan, China, where the work will take place. The makeover is surely one of the most thorough ever undertaken and is scheduled for completion in 2015. During the renovation, the much-loved vessel will have her existing 990 staterooms converted into 400 premium suites, ranging from between 60 and 150 square metres. The ship’s ballroom will also be renovated and seven restaurants will also be refitted. The ship will also boast a total of 10 different lounges, a cinema, shopping mall and fittingly, a maritime museum, which will tell her illustrious story.
QE2 Holdings chairman Juma Buamim said: “No other ship can match the QE2’s prestige, or her legacy. She is an absolute icon of maritime history, one of the best and most powerful ships in the world … we are pleased to be working closely with COSCO Shipyard for the technical repair and refurbishment process, which will be carried out with the utmost respect to the QE2’s heritage and splendour…”
As far as the honour of being responsible for the ship’s interior design goes, it’s up for grabs, as QE2 Holdings has announced that it has invited seven interior architecture houses from around the world to compete for the job. As President and Chief Executive of QE2 Holdings Daniel Chui explained, the chance to remodel the inside of the prestigious vessel would surely be an honour for the winner: “The ship’s redevelopment is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for any interior design professional to create what will become one of Asia’s major waterfront tourist attractions. The goal for the final design is to preserve the soul of the QE2 — many of the original furnishings and much of the décor will be incorporated”.
The winner of the competition will be announced on November 30, after which more details of the QE2’s new look will no doubt begin to emerge.
By Simon Brotherton