QE 2 – Arriving today at Southampton
One of the world’s most famous cruise ships, the Queen Elizabeth 2, briefly ran aground on Tuesday before arriving in its home port for the last time, its owners said, as it makes cruise ship history.
The 70,000-ton vessel ran onto a sandbank off the Isle of Wight as it approached Southampton, where it was paying its final call before heading to Dubai where it will become a floating hotel as reported by Cruising The Past (http://cruiselinehistory.com/).
Two tugs helped by the rising tide managed to re-float it, and the ship eventually arrived in port 15 minutes behind schedule.
“She touched a sandbank called Brambles but with the tide rising she was able to get away,” said Eric Flounders, a spokesman for the QE2′s owners Cunard.
September 20 1967: Queen Elizabeth II and John Rannie attend the launching of the QE2, Clydebank, Scotland
“We are not aware at this stage of any damage to the vessel and everything is proceeding today as planned. We don’t know exactly what happened for the vessel to get stuck,” he added.
US cruise operator Carnival sold the QE2 for about 50 million pounds in November last year to Istithmar — the investment arm of state-owned tourism company Dubai World.
After being refurbished the vessel will be turned into a five-star hotel at a specially-constructed pier on the world’s largest man-made island, The Palm Jumeirah.
Launched by her namesake in September 1967, the QE2 is Cunard’s longest-serving ship. The 963-feet long ship weighs 70,000 tonnes and can carry up to 1,778 passengers and more than 1,000 crew.
She has travelled 5.5 million nautical miles — the equivalent of travelling to the moon and back 13 times — undertaken 25 world cruises, crossed the Atlantic more than 800 times, and carried more than two million passengers.
Cruising The Past will have complete coverage of her final day in Southampton.