Middle East Cruise News

QE2 Dubai ready for October 2018 phase 2 launch ahead of 2018/19 cruise season

The QE2 Dubai is all set for her official launch as a floating hotel in Dubai, six months after her phase 1 ‘soft launch’ which brought the city its first ever floating and ‘living museum’.

In October 2018, just as the new cruise season in the region gets started, QE2 Dubai will celebrate the completion of phase 2 of the extensive refurbishment that has seen the former Cunard ocean liner transformed into a static hotel and events venue.

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QE2 Dubai with conceptualisation of redeveloped Port Rashid.

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While her April launch brought many of her staterooms and lounges online, including the famous Golden Lion Pub, the Yacht Club, Queen’s Grill and Lido Buffet, the phase 2 launch will include the opening of all 224 cabins, as well as her spa and redeveloped pool deck.

The project has been a mammoth task, according to hospitality procurement consultants HPG International Middle East & Africa (HPGI MEA), who were brought in to handle the logistics of the ship’s transformation.

“The larger challenge was time itself. The industry average for a project of this scale is approximately 12 to 14 months,” says Darryl Rego, Managing Director of HPG International Middle East & Africa.

For QE2 Dubai, however, they had just three months to work with, and more than 2,000 line items such as linen, kitchen equipment and F&B table top products still pending delivery.

HPGI MEA’s optimal technology solution aided in speedy project execution from managing tendering bids and purchase orders through to delivery and invoicing.

As part of their suite of client services, HPGI MEA also engaged in specification development helping solidify brand standards for PCFC Hotels, which owns QE2 Shipping LLC, which owns the ship.

PCFC Hotels is in turn owned by DP World, which operates the port in which QE2 Dubai is permanently berthed.

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PCFC Hotels plans to make QE2 Dubai a major lifestyle and nightlife attraction.

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QE2 Dubai have not yet released details on what to expect from the official opening in October, but looking ahead to the coming cruise season, and the next several years, there are solid plans to make QE2 Dubai a key part of the city’s cultural and lifestyle offering.

During the soft launch in April, Hamza Mustafa, CEO of PCFC Hotels, told Cruise Arabia & Africa that they planned to roll out lunch specials and heritage tour offerings specifically aimed at the cruise passenger traffic that comes through Port Rashid each cruise season.

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Hamza Mustafa, CEO of PCFC Hotels.

“With more than 800,000 cruise passengers visiting Dubai annually, and with many of the cruise ships staying overnight in port, that’s a huge opportunity for us,” he said. “We expect to see a lot of footfall from cruise tourists visiting the ship for a day and possibly spending a night with us before or after their cruise.”

QE2 Dubai has also rolled out all-inclusive weekend specials, ladies nights and brunch specials for Dubai residents ahead of the ship’s phase 2 launch.

When the redevelopment of Port Rashid as Port Rashid Marina has been completed, QE2 Dubai will sit in the centre of a major commercial, residential and lifestyle development.

The project, carried out by P&O, part of DP World, stretches over 13 square kilometres and will feature a number of facilities including an integrated entertainment city: Marina Cube, with cafes, restaurants, retail shops, walking paths and an area for seaplanes to land.

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