Is the former Cunard Line Queen Elizabeth II (known as the QE 2) up for sale again?
The QE2. Will she end up as a hotel or sent to India to be scrapped? As Dubai goes broke – we look at more steamship history.
When Cunard began operating the Queen Mary 2, the venerable Queen Elizabeth II (known as the QE2 which operated from 1969-2008) which hosted the world’s elite was supposed to have an illustrious future after begin converted to a floating hotel which would have seen the ship eventually be moored at Palm Jumeirah, Dubai known for its palm tree-shaped islands. Those plans may be in jeopardy.
The QE2 was purchased by Istithmar, a private equity firm operated by Dubai World. Istithmar bought the QE2, once the largest passenger ship in existence, in 2007 for an estimated $100 million.
The RMS Queen Elizabeth (number 1) never made it to hotel status like the RMS Queen Mary. The “Elizabeth” ended up burning in Hong Kong harbor.
It is no secret Dubai World is in trouble with $22 billion in debts racked up during their global investment acquisition activity during the past decade. Dubai was one of the first nations to publicly admit their financial issues due to the worldwide recession. The announcements from Dubai rattled the financial markets during the fall of 2009.
The potential sale of the QE2 is not unprecedented. Istithmar has already shed some assets at a reported loss. In December 2009, the firm sold the The W Hotel Union Suqare (one of the few buildings in Manhattan grandfathered for a roof-top sign) in New York for only $2 million in a foreclosure auction. Istithmar reportedly paid $285 million for the boutique.
QE 2 on a world cruise – Video.
Questions remain including how do you value a historic luxury cruise ship with a storied past no longer in service? And, who are the potential buyers? Queen Mary in Long Beach; she may have some new competition.