Whether it be a first time experience or a nostalgic return to one of the last legendary ocean liners, travellers now have a chance to (re)discover the famous Queen Elizabeth 2 as she opens her doors in Dubai.
A BRIEF HISTORY
On 20 September 1967, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Phillip and 30,000 spectators arrived at John Brown’s shipyard on Clydebank for the launch of Queen Elizabeth 2.
“I name this ship Queen Elizabeth the Second. May God bless her and all who sail in her.” were the words spoken by Her Majesty, followed by the ceremonial shattering of a bottle of Australian wine against the huge bow.
Sleek and handsome, QE2 was a style icon illustrating the renaissance of British design in the 60s. Her exterior resembled a yacht more than a typical passenger ship. Her steel and aluminium body housed interiors, made with materials such as Formica and glass reinforced plastic. She was smaller than her predecessors in length, breadth, draft and tonnage, which made her nimble enough to pass through the Panama and Suez Canals. A total of nine engines gave her speed and power that were incomparable for her time. She cruised at an average speed of 28.5 knots, with a top speed of 34 knots, making her transatlantic journeys in a total of five days.
In her lifetime the QE2 completed 1,400 voyages (including 812 transatlantic journeys and 25 tours around the world), sailed some 6 million nautical miles, carried almost 2.5 million passengers and served as a troopship in the Falkland War of 1982. After nearly four decades, she was retired in Dubai in 2008.
THE QE2 HOTEL
Docked permanently at Dubai’s Mina Rashid, the legendary Queen Elizabeth 2 has been lovingly restored to her former glory and revitalized with the latest in smart technology.
The Middle East’s first floating hotel accommodates its passengers in 224 rooms* divided in 13 categories of rooms and suites. All rooms feature a King or single bed, complimentary Wifi access, a 49 inch flat-screen TV, bathroom with bathtub and shower, a vanity table, iron and ironing board, a safe, coffe and tea making facilities and a mini-bar with complimentary bottled water.
Guests staying in one of the Standard Rooms or Standard Rooms with Seaview can expect a mix of dark wood and fresh panelling, comfortable bedding and redefined vintage appliances. A vast quantity of the guest rooms features the original portholes that peer out to the Arabian Gulf or the iconic Dubai skyline.
Inside the Superior Rooms or Superior Rooms with Seaview guests can expect the comforts and conveniences of the Standard Rooms but with a little bit more space to relax after busy day onboard. Measuring from 23m² the Superior Rooms offer sea or city views through original port-hole windows. Next to the King or twin bed there is a sitting area to relax or watch the 49 inch flat-screen TV. The bathroom comes complete with bidet, bathtub and shower.
The larger Deluxe Rooms and Deluxe Rooms with Seaview offer a spacious and elegant home-away-from-home blended with the classical elegance of the Queen Elizabeth 2. The rooms offer similar amenities as the Superior Rooms, including a sitting area, complimentary Wifi access, 49 inch flat-screen TV and a bathroom complete with bidet, bathtub and shower.
For a true executive experience guests can book the Captain’s Club Room. The Captain’s Club Rooms feature large windows, a separate living area, a bathroom with bidet, bathtub, shower and bathrobe and slippers.
For a real maritime experience, the Captain’s Club Rooms with Balcony offer a functional and relaxing living space as well as an open space from which to enjoy a unique seaview or the sights of the city. Guests can step onto their spacious balcony and start the day with a healthy breakfast while they enjoying the marvellous city or seaview.
The luxurious Suites onboard Queen Elizabeth 2 feature the smartest in-suite technology and authentic dark wood and vintage finishings, blended with decadent furnishings and premium amenities.
Most suites offer ultra large or floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Arabian Gulf or the skyline beyond. Guests can choose between Junior Suites, Executive Suites, Duplex Suites or live as the QE2’s former 25 captains in the Captain’s Cabin Suite.VIP passengers can reside in unsurpassed luxury in the suites that were once literally reserved for royalty. The Royal Suite – the Queen Elizabeth or Queen Mary Suite – comes complete with a large bedroom, expansive living quarters, a mezzanine level, conservatory and a large veranda offering the best views aboard. Each passenger checking in to a Royal Suite will enjoy a fully personalised selection of in-suite amenities as well as the finest branded bathroom toiletries.
With 13 restaurants*, bars and entertainment venues Queen Elizabeth 2 is set to become one of Dubai’s most iconic destinations for dining, nightlife and events. From authentic British cuisine and time-honoured watering holes to trendy outdoor bars and restaurants.
The Lido, the Queen Elizabeth 2’s all-day dining restaurant presents an expansive buffet, live stations and a roastery serving up a daily changing choice of meat. Just like on a sailing ocean liner guests can pair this with a selection of value drinks packages to make the most of the experience.
Guests can recapture the true essence of the Queen Elizabeth 2 with a visit to The Queens Grill. This fine-dining venue is open for lunch and dinner and serves the best of refined British cuisine with a twist on the classics. A dedicated vegetarian menu is also available. Visitors who want to give their taste buds a flashback can order the iconic Queens Grill Tasting Menu that serves a selection of some of the exact same dishes available on the ship’s maiden voyage in 1969. Adjacent to the restaurant is a dedicated G&T bar.
The QE2’s original Yacht Club has been tenderly restored with an injection of contemporary chic. Commanding impressive views of Dubai’s skyline from the boat deck, this venue exudes maritime charm combined with the luxury social scene for which Dubai is renowned. Guests can choose from an extensive list of champagne and world wines, a premium liquor selection and a delicious canape menu. Shisha is served outside and a live DJ takes care of the ambience with a track list of popular commercial house music. The Yacht Club also offers a new twist on afternoon tea with the choice of a Champagne Afternoon Tea or a Hendricks High Tea.
The Golden Lion, a traditional British pub, offers a wide selection of draught beers, live sports, pool tables and darts and features a collection of commemorative shields from the QE2’s ports of call. Adjacent is QE2’s original casino where the old slot machines (now decommissioned) serve as mementos of a bygone era. At the heart of the entertainment on board the QE2 is the Grand Lounge. From musicals and comedy acts, to dancing and discos – a daily changing programme of entertainment at The Grand Lounge makes for an exciting dinner experience.
The Chartroom Bar is one of the QE2’s favourite spots to meet, relax and catch-up over a bottle of wine or a selection of craft beers. Located mid-ship on the Quarter Deck, the Chartroom Bar is a time-capsule – maintaining the same nautical interiors of its former years. Red carpeting, period lounge tables and thoughtful mood lighting all centred around the bar with its original world-map. The Pavilion on One Deck, is a family-friendly indoor and al fresco dining experience that boasts fantastic views of the distant Dubai skyline. It serves a selection of international dishes, including pizza from the woodfired oven, as well as a live BBQ – washed down with a choice of great value beverages including one of Dubai’s only wine taps.
The Queen Elizabeth 2 is located at Dubai’s Mina Rashid port and can be booked online at www.qe2.com
*Some rooms and amenities may not be available before the grand opening which will take place in October 2018.
Pictures courtesy of Queen Elizabeth 2 / PCFC Hotels