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Cunard's QE 2 is probably the most famous, most prestigious liner in the world!
It is very fitting that this gracious ship is sailing out of Southampton for the final time on November 11th, which is Armistice Day.
This fine ship did her bit during the Falklands War when she carried British troops to the South Atlantic.
The Duke of Edinburgh was on board the QE2 at 11am on November 11th 2008 to observe two minutes silence in memory of those lost in conflict, especially the First World War, which mercifully ended 90 years earlier, to the day.
People from all over the UK travelled to Southampton to bid her a misty-eyed goodbye, after 39 years of service in which she sailed almost six million nautical miles.
She has certainly earned her luxurious rest in Dubai, where she will become a major tourist attraction and floating hotel.
We had a wonderful holiday ourselves two years ago, cruising the Mediterranean on the QE2. It was very memorable ....especially the excellent cuisine and friendly crew!!
The QE2 has carried 2.5 million passengers on cruises throughout the world since she was launched on the Clyde in Scotland in 1969.
Amongst the people who've travelled aboard her are many presidents and prime ministers; royalty and stars of stage and screen. They include The Queen, The Beatles, Nelson Mandela, George W Bush, Baroness Thatcher, Ginger Rogers and Douglas Faibanks Jnr.
The final cruise to Dubai was sold out in just 36 minutes!
The QE2 is the grande dame of transatlantic crossings, with 806 sailings under her bow, not to mention her 25 circumnavigations of the globe!
She survived a 95 ft wave during Hurricane Luis; carried 3000 troops to the Falklands; rescued 500 passengers from a burning ship and is a record breaker for speed and endurance.
As work starts on her replacement, the 2092 passenger Queen Elizabeth, which will join the Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria in Cunard's modern fleet when she enters service in 2010........the QE2 herself will be transformed into a fabulous floating five star hotel and exhibition centre, berthed from 2009 at The Palm Jumeirah in Dubai.
Palm Jumeirah is one of three huge palm tree shaped man-made islands in Dubai, which is set to become one of the world's premier resorts.
Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of government owned Dubai World, purchased the QE2 in 2007 for £50 million. He says "Dubai is a maritime nation and we understand the rich heritage of QE2. She is coming to a home where she will be cherished!"
A major refurbishment will recreate her original interiors and The Palm Jumeirah will also include a museum celebrating her rich history.
Those visiting the ship in the year round sunshine of Dubai, will experience a booming tourist destination, packed with amazing sights and superb architecture.
The QE2 will undoubtedly provide a major tourist attraction in herself.
If the standard of cuisine is maintained, as I feel sure it will be, she is going to be very popular indeed!!
We wish her a long and graceful retirement as she enjoys her place of rest in the sun!!