The QE2 Hotel will open by the second or third week of April, according to the reservations team at PCFC Hotels, the operator of the new floating hotel for the former Cunard ocean liner.
A member of the reservations team informed Cruise Arabia & Africa during a reservations enquiry that booking were not yet open, but that the ship’s ‘soft opening’ would happen toward the end of April.
“We’re going to open our doors on the second or third week of April, so what we’re doing now is fielding calls and compiling a database of future guests interested in staying aboard QE2,” he said. Although the member of the reservations team gave Cruise Arabia & Africa his full name, we have withheld it here as the conversation took place off the record.
The former flagship of the Cunard fleet, Queen Elizabeth 2, generally referred to as QE2, has been undergoing a ship to floating hotel conversion in Port Rashid over the past three years. It is still unclear what changes have been made to the ship’s interior, but her lifeboats and davits have been removed.
Earlier this week the ship was towed from Port Rashid to Dubai Drydocks where further work will be done on her hull. The website QE2 Story has speculated that this may involve the sealing off of ballast intake valve and other openings in the hull that are no longer necessary.
A group of workers at Port Rashid involved in the conversion of the ship told Cruise Arabia & Africa that her propellers would also be removed and put on display for guests of the QE2 Hotel.
The former ocean liner has twin five-bladed variable-pitch propellers that are 22 feet in diameter and weigh 43 tons each.
Dubai Drydocks World is owned by DP World, which is in turn owned by Ports, Customs & Freezone Corporation (PCFC) in Dubai. There is no official website for PCFC Hotels, which appears to be a new subsidiary of the conglomerate.
A LinkedIn page for Guy Wilkinson, chief operating officer at PCFC Hotels, says that he is “is now dedicated to creating a new world-class chain of ‘smart’ budget hotels” at the company, suggesting that QE2 may not be the glitzy, glamorous five-star and super-expensive hotel that one usually expects of Dubai.
Sumaya Dabbagh, a Dubai-based hotel architect, has previously said that Dubai suffers from a shortage of three and four star hotel offerings, and that the city needs an additional 40,000 rooms ahead of Expo 2020.
“There is a real need now… for more affordable hotel rooms – three and four star hotels where big families can stay without paying five star prices,” she told Construction Week Online.