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A Royal Reunion In Dubai

April 2, 2009

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Updates


Welcome to this week’s Blog with details of Queen Victoria’s visit to the incredible city of Dubai including the reunion with QE2. Meanwhile it’s been great to read so many of your comments and to hear from old friends, guests and lecturers who have either sailed with me on one of the three Queens. We did have one question this week regarding single rooms on board Queen Victoria and the new Queen Elizabeth.


Not knowing the answer to that myself I thought I would go to the top and ask Carol Marlow. She said “It’s always a challenge to design a new ship with all the features and amenities our guests would like and the reason we decided not to include single rooms for the moment is to ensure we have the greater flexibility offered by having double staterooms throughout.” 


Before we get to this week’s Blog, here’s “This week in Cunard’s History” for the week of the 3rd to the 9th of April.


April 4 1951

Caronia makes her maiden call to Pireaus (Athens)


April 7 1976

QE2 makes her maiden call at Alexandria, Egypt


April 9 2008

Queen Victoria makes her maiden transit of the Suez Canal


This week marked another special occasion on Queen Victoria’s second World Cruise, with a reunion with QE2 in Dubai last Sunday. Although no visitors were permitted on board we all got some great views of her and you could see that there were some people working there and as you can see she still looks stunning. This photo from the sports deck of Queen Victoria shows her in all her glory:



I thought you may like this one as well, that shows the differences in the size of the two ships, with Queen Victoria berthed right behind her older sister.



I spent the day in Dubai with Thomas Quinones who many of you will know as the Social Host on QE2 for many years. It was an emotional day for him and for many crewmembers and guests who have fond memories of QE2 but in chatting to him in his new home on Queen Victoria he is also excited about the future. Thomas has agreed to write a special Guest Blog which I will post in the next couple of weeks.


Dubai is changing and at incredible pace with construction cranes everywhere (although it was evident that things have slowed down recently due to the world economic climate). The Port Authorities are looking at a new terminal building to greet visiting ships as they decided to close the old one to create even more land – literally by importing rock and dredging sand! Seeing is believing, because you could literally spend days looking at the amazing buildings which is probably an architect’s heaven! Since we came here last year the Burj Dubai has officially become the tallest structure ever built.



Construction on the Burj Dubai is expected to be completed later this year and to give you an idea of its size, it is 1,000 feet taller than the previous titleholder; the Taipei 101 in Taiwan. The difference is about the size of the Eiffel Tower (which was the tallest structure in the world when it was built in 1889!). The Burj Dubai, has 160 stories and at a reported 2,600 feet, is taller than two Empire State Buildings stacked together and when completed, it will house 5 million square feet of office space, a 175-room hotel, 900 apartments, four swimming pools and the world’s highest observation deck. Construction began in began in September 2004 and so far more than 10,000 workers have logged more than 29 million hours constructing it. Apparently parts of it are now open to the public, but you do have to book in advance.


Another fascinating building that you’ll recognize as a Dubai Icon, is the world’s first seven star hotel; the Burj Al-Arab with its iconic shape representing the sail of a dhow



You have to book to go inside here as well and they charge just over £50 ($70), not mentioning how much it would cost to dine there. To avoid the entrance charge you could choose to stay here but you may want to check your credit card limit first as I understand rooms range from £2,125 ($3,000) to £20,000 ($28,000) a night, not to mention a special cocktail that can be made for a mere £5,000 ($7,000). Needless to say we carried on exploring and managed to get inside the Atlantis Hotel at the top of the Palm Jumeirah which you may remember opened with a spectacular celebrity party last November.


Again the sheer scale of the project is breathtaking when you imagine that before 2001 this was just ocean. It’s even more incredible when you think this is the first and smallest of three such projects; but there again, that sums up the vision of Dubai.


The day ended as it began with magnificent views of QE2 as we sailed away from this amazing port.


I am now off to host the first Bloggers get together on board Queen Victoria, so I’ll let you know how it goes next week. We’ll also let you know how April the first went on board. Traditionally we have always had a bit of fun with our guests and crew on April fool’s day – so log on next week to see who had the last laugh this year! Cheers for now – Alastair

  1. Chris says:

    Thanks for the pictures on Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth 2 together. I have been very interested on both of the ships visits to Dubai and have also been watchin them on the bridge webcams! Thanks agien!

  2. Thanks Alastair and great to see QE2 once more but must have been particularly hard and sad for Capt McNaught and guys like Thomas, who had such an affinity for her.

  3. Chris Frame says:

    Hi Alistair,

    Thank you for sharing the meeting of QE2 with Queen Victoria in Dubai. QE2 does, as you say, still look stunning.

    I’ve got several shots of her rendezvous with Queen Mary 2 in the same port, uploaded here: http://chriscunard.com/qe2_qm2_dubai.html

    All the best,

    Chris Frame.

  4. Anthony says:

    Lovely to see the QE2 in these pics. In my opinion a far better looking ship than the QM2 and Queen Victoria. Cunard, buy the QE2 back!!

  5. ann says:

    I guess we are thinking of Qe2 this month,,,,I wrote this poem as a follow up to the one I wrote after we disembarked in Dubai……

    > QE2 One Year on
    > I sit here and I wonder what’s going to happen to me
    > Its been about a year now where am I supposed to be?
    > I left with such a fanfare there were fireworks, bands and tears
    > I was so sad to leave my home as its been over 40 years
    > They sailed me to this foreign land so hot and dry you know
    > I didn’t want to come here I didn’t want to go
    > But now I sit here all alone ,no one comes to visit me
    > I used to be so busy but I think they’ve lost my key
    > They took me into dry dock and cleaned up all my paint
    > But I perspire so much out here I really feel quite faint
    > As a lady of a certain age its not where I want to be
    > If only someone told me I could have had HRT
    > I’d maybe feel a wee bit better but I know it’d be no use
    > Cause out here in the desert..I don’t use up much juice
    > Id’ rather sail out on the Ocean where my heart and soul is free
    > For me to be a hotel …..well ..it isn’t really me
    > Someone mentioned Capetown I quite liked it there
    > But only cause I knew that soon I’d be sailing off somewhere
    > Everybody loved me when I called in to a port
    > But now I sit here all day long with nothing to report.
    > I see the other cruise ships they call in just at my stern
    > But just a few hours later they all sail off again
    > I watch them in the distance until they disappear
    > I never sail to anywhere I just stay right here
    > Some are my relations some are merely friends
    > Some I’ve known for ages from way back when
    > Some are even older than I am sitting here
    > Yet they are all still sailing and I’m left at the pier
    > I watch the lovely sunset from this Dubai place
    > But I’d rather be on the high seas now that was really Ace
    > I cannot go anywhere they will no let me go
    > My heart is really breaking though I don’t want it to show
    > They speak a funny language they think I don’t care
    > But its an awful feeling not to be going anywhere
    > Everybody loved me why did they send me here
    > I cry myself to sleep at night but no-one hears my prayer
    > I call out on my whistle oh please please take me back
    > To my homeland that’s so far away I think I’ve lost the knack
    > They fiddle with my engines they look me up and down
    > But to be quite honest I feel I’m going to drown
    > Is anybody listening can you hear my plea?
    > Nobody wants me , and I just want to go to sea
    > I really want my Captain and my good old crowd of crew
    > So I can sail away back home again with only me and and you
    > They don’t know what to do with me I think I’ll fall apart
    > Cause there’s nobody out here can fix my broken heart
    > Oh will somebody save me….I am the QE2
    > Maybe that someone could just in fact be YOU?
    > Copyright Duly Noted 13 November 2009

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