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The Inspiring Redevelopment of the QE2: World Famous Liner to Open as Hotel

The Cunard Line's Queen Elizabeth 2 was the company's proud flagship for nearly 40 years, operating from 1969 to 2008 as a transatlantic liner and cruise ship. Over the course of her prolific service career, she covered almost six million miles, carrying 2.5 million passengers.

Following her retirement, the QE2 sailed to Dubai, where new owners made plans for her refurbishment and conversion into a floating hotel. When the 2008 financial crisis intervened, the future of the great ship seemed uncertain. However, ten years later, the vessel appears to be undergoing a quiet makeover in advance of a grand reopening at her current Port Rashid berth.

The Queen Elizabeth 2 arrives in Dubai in 2008. Image: Barcroft Media/Getty Images via Lonely Planet.

Eagle-eyed onlookers have recently noted updated signage at Port Rashid's Dubai Cruise Terminal 1, directing visitors to the "Queen Elizabeth 2, hotel main entrance" and "visitors parking." Meanwhile, a new website invites potential employees to submit applications and advertises "a royal experience" for future customers. The United Arab Emirates' The National suggests that guests will also pass through a museum celebrating the history and artwork of the historic ship before boarding the vessel.

Signage suggests an upcoming opening for the QE2 hotel. Image: SS/MS Queen Elizabeth 2 Facebook Page.

The Queen Elizabeth 2 was built in the shipyards of John Brown and Company in Clydebank, Scotland, and this February the Clydebank Post spoke with Rob Lightbody, who runs the website and forum "The QE2 Story." Lightbody told the Post:

“The new website provides concrete evidence that our wait is nearly over. After nearly 10 years of watching and waiting, we now expect that she will open as a hotel this year, and some of our members will definitely make a visit a top priority...She is in a great spot in Dubai, and hard to miss when all floodlit at night.”

The Clydebank Post also spoke with Clydebank MP Martin Docherty-Hughes, who added:

"The refurbishment and restoration of the QE2 is long overdue and must be done to the same high standard as that expected of a Clyde-built vessel.”

The Queen Elizabeth 2 at her current berth in Port Rashid, Dubai. Image: What's On.

The impressive revitalization of the Queen Elizabeth 2 has been attracting global attention, as fans of the ship eagerly await an official launch date. The successful redevelopment of this great transatlantic liner — and of Cunard's RMS Queen Mary — proves that it is high time for America's own flagship, the SS United States, to be revitalized and restored.

The Conservancy is committed to the reuse and redevelopment of the Big U, but cannot achieve this goal alone. America's Flagship needs your help. Donate today to help us ensure the future of the world's fastest ocean liner.

Check out our most recent update on the redevelopment of the QE2 HERE.


The SS United States has always been a soaring symbol of ingenuity, innovation, and the nation's ability to join arm-in-arm to advance common goals. It is inconceivable that she has endured all of these years, only to be lost now.

Become a member of the SS United States Conservancy today, and follow us on Facebook to help spread the incredible story of the SS United States!

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