Accor said it will conduct “further upgrades and renovations” to the historic ship, removing some of her dining options, adding new cabins, and expanding leisure spaces, such as the pool deck.
The full extent of the renovations are yet to be detailed, but are likely to be controversial, as they will require significant changes to the ship’s interior design, which DP World was careful to restore when they converted the ship into a floating hotel in 2018.
Accor has announced that once the renovations are complete, the QE2 will feature 447 hotel rooms, nine food and beverage outlets, six retail outlets, a swimming pool and a gym.
There will also be 10 meeting rooms, and a 5,620-square-metre area for outdoor events.
The ship currently offers 224 refurbished rooms and suites, 13 restaurant and nightlife venues, a shopping arcade and 25 meeting rooms and conferencing facilities, suggesting extensive changes are afoot.
The refurbishment of the ship is expected to take place in phases, much like her initial opening in 2018.
“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 DP World’s Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, which owns the ship.
“The Queen Elizabeth II 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,” he added.
The Queen Elizabeth II sailed as the flagship for Cunard Line between 1969 and 2007, and is widely regarded as the greatest ocean liner ever built, and the last ‘true’ ocean liner to operate the historic trans-Atlantic passenger service between Southampton and New York.
She completed more than 800 Atlantic crossings and carried more than 2.5 million passengers before she was sold to Dubai in 2007.
The 2008 financial crash curtailed plans for the ship’s conversion into a floating hotel and she spent a decade in cold lay-up, before eventually being refurbished as a hotel and ‘living museum’ with heritage tours and memorabilia on display charting her storied history.