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Istithmar Acquires the Queen Elizabeth 2 for $100 million; Plans to Turn the
 Ship into a Floating Hotel Berthed off Dubai's Palm Jumeirah Island
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By Staff and Wires, South Florida Sun-SentinelMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Jun. 18, 2007 --DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- The Queen Elizabeth 2, the majestic ocean liner that has carried millions of people across the Atlantic during its 40-year history, has been sold to a Dubai-owned company for $100 million, the company said Monday.

State-owned Istithmar said it plans to turn the giant passenger ship into a first-class floating hotel, retail and entertainment destination, berthed off Dubai's manmade Palm Jumeirah island.

An earlier Cunard ship, Queen Mary, is a floating hotel in Long Beach, Calif.

The aging QE2 vessel, bought from the Cunard Line division of Carnival Corp., will end its days as a tourist attraction, opening to the public in the beginning of 2009, Istithmar said. Istithmar is a division of Dubai World, a government-owned holding company that also owns Nakheel, the developer of Palm Jumeirah.

Launched in 1967 by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, the QE2 became the longest-serving ship in Cunard's 168-year history. The vessel has crossed the Atlantic more than 800 times and has carried more than 2.5 million passengers, Istithmar said.

QE2 made one call at Port Everglades this year on its 108-day world cruise, and departed for Europe on April 29 from Fort Lauderdale. It has been primarily sailing from the United Kingdom to Europe since 2006.

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Copyright (c) 2007, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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