Will Nakheel Sell The QE2?
A few months back we saw that plans to turn the Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise ship into a floating hotel in Dubai had been delayed. The owner, developer Nakheel had planned to moor it at the Palm Jumeirah development but now word has come that the ship may be on the move. The AP has an email from Nakheel saying that other ports have expressed interest in hosting the ship. Nakheel had purchased the ship for a reported $100 million and had plans to recreate the original decor and fittings of the ship from when she was launched in 1967 only with a modern day spin that included adding a 500-seat theater and building a massive spa complex. Those plans are are on hold as Nahkeel, which has developments across Dubai, is considering all offers and has applied to anchor the ship in Cape Town, South Africa.
The email said that the company is working "to ensure opportunities to experience QE2 in her current condition are maximized whilst ensuring her important heritage is at all times protected." This seems like more continued spin from Nakheel which has been hard hit by Dubai's real estate slump and tourism decline. The company has shelved a variety of projects including Donald Trump's planned hotel and has received some of the $10 billion in government bailout funds. There are also reports of widespread layoffs. The company has said before it has no plans to sell the ship. There is widespread speculation as to whether the company will be able to pay off $3.5 billion worth of debt coming due this year so it seems that they might be willing to sell the QE2 if they can find a buyer.