A Queen’s last voyage

Bookings on the QE2’s final cruise, to Dubai, are open now. By KEITH J FERNANDEZ

Bookings for the final voyage of the iconic Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) are now open – and agents looking to sell that big-bang authentic trip need to start working those phones at once.

Owner Cunard has announced that the ship will journey to her final berthing place in Dubai next November, following two farewell summer voyages that will take in the British Isles and the Americas.
The liner was sold last month for $100 million to Istithmar, and is to become a floating hotel and mus-eum at Dubai's Palm Jumeirah, where she will be anchored.
“These voyages will mark the historic departure of QE2 from the Cunard fleet, in a very special way. QE2 is a much-loved vessel and we wanted to give her many loyal fans a chance to say goodbye, as well as give those who have never had the opportunity to sail aboard her the chance to do just that in her last season with Cunard,” said  Carol Marlow, Cunard’s president and managing director.
QE2’s Final Voyage will leave Southampton for Dubai on November 11, 2008, and will call at ports including Lisbon, Gibraltar, Naples, Malta and Alexandria before she arrives November 27. Fares start from £2,729 ($5454) for an M7 grade stateroom and rise to £17,899 for a Q1 grade Grand Suite.
QE2’s Farewell to the British Isles voyage will depart Southampton on September 30, 2008, on a 10-night trip, around England, Scotland and Ireland, while the liner will make her  last Atlantic crossings to and from New York, her North American home, on October 10 and 16, respectively. 
QE2 is likely to attract huge crowds at each port on these trips and special appropriate onboard programming has been developed.
These new voyages replace trips into the Mediterranean and the Canaries in 2008, and guests booked on affected sailings will be able to rebook one of the new voyages at very favourable rates.
On her arrival in Dubai, the QE2 will be refurbished to recreate QE2's original interior decor and fittings, Istithmar said. The ship, launched by Queen Elizabeth 40 years ago, came into service in 1969 and has crossed the Atlantic more than 800 times, carrying more than 2.5 million passengers.