Iconic ship the Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2), now a floating hotel, will be rebranded after major international hotel group Accor announced it is taking over management of the vessel.
The former flagship of the Cunard cruise fleet was retired in 2008 and sold to developers with plans to turn it into a floating hotel. After numerous delays, the QE2 opened as a hotel moored at Dubai's Port Rashid in 2018.
Accor announced the vessel will reopen this month and later be rebranded as part of the group's boutique MGallery Hotel Collection following a significant renovation.
When the overhaul is complete, the new MGallery Queen Elizabeth 2 will feature just 447 hotel rooms, down from 1300.
Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC), the Dubai World subsidiary that owns the ship, will be working with the hospitality group to help grow its portfolio in Dubai.
"We are very excited to partner with Accor on this project. We trust the group's expertise will elevate the QE2 to a new era of operations" said Saeed Al-Bannai, CEO of PCFC investment.
"The Queen Elizabeth as we know her, has made history and we are confident that Accor will keep her legacy alive while her strong heritage and notoriety will remain a destination in itself, where guests and visitors alike can enjoy a unique experience".
The revamped ship is also set to feature nine food and beverage outlets, six retail outlets, a pool, a gym and a 5620-square-metre space for outdoor events.
QE2 will remain moored in Dubai's Port Rashid, its permanent home since 2008, in close proximity to a number of major attractions, including the Burj Khalifa and La Mer Beach.
Mark Willis, CEO of Accor India, Middle East, Africa and Turkey, has described the move as a great opportunity to expand the company's UAE footprint, and bring diversity to the MGallery portfolio, while boosting its brand presence.
"Not only are we in charge of the only floating hotel in Dubai, but we are also contributing the Dubai Urban Master plan 2049, with the aim to map out the path for a sustainable urban development while increasing the city attractiveness as a global destination," Willis said.
"We are confident that once finalised, the MGallery Queen Elizabeth 2 will become a true must-visit attraction, sharing her own stories with her guests while offering a truly unforgettable experience on-board."
The legendary vessel, long revered as one of the grand dames of the cruising world, was bought from Cunard Line in 2007 by state-owned Dubai World, before being restored according to its original design.
PCFC spent $US100 million converting the cruise ship before relaunching it as a floating hotel in 2018.
The QE2 served as Cunard's flagship from 1969, until the arrival of Queen Mary 2 in 2004.
During her many decades as an ocean liner, QE2 sailed around the world 25 times before settling in Dubai permanently.