Our floating staycation on the Queen Elizabeth 2, relaxing in our deluxe room on the first deck, taking a guided tour of the ship with a former crew member, sipping Chardonnay in the original Yacht Club bar and enjoying the tasty fish and chips with mushy peas at the Golden Lion English Pub.

Day 1.

Arriving at the carpark at Port Rashid with the majestic Queen Elizabeth 2 berthed in the background.

And outside the Queen Elizabeth 2 'Cruise Terminal' after parking the car.

In November 2008, the Queen Elizabeth 2 was purchased for $100 million by Dubai World, an investment company owned by the Dubai government.

The lobby where there were numerous bookcases filled with various fiction and non-fiction books. They were all 10+ years old and from the ship's original library.

After arriving in Dubai the original plan was for the ship to be refurbished and berthed at the Palm Jumeirah as "a luxury floating hotel, retail, museum and entertainment destination", however due to the global economic crisis the ship remained moored in port after arrival in Dubai.

The concierge's desk with paintings of other various historic ocean liners on the wall just behind.

After many rumours over the years, including being relocated to Cape Town, Liverpool, London and even being scrapped in China, the Queen Elizabeth 2 was finally opened as a floating hotel on 18 April 2018 following an extensive refurbishment.

The Q Café located at the northern end of the lobby.

The hotel had only a soft opening in April, with five of the planned 13 restaurants and bars being initially open, with a more formal opening planned in October 2018.

A world map on the wall above showing the route of one of the Queen Elizabeth 2's around the world cruises.

Combined with the Dubai summer lull, there were some reasonable room rates from $82. After opting for breakfast inclusive and a larger 'deluxe' room, our one night rate was a still very reasonable $162. I also used a Hotels.com credit and the final out-of-pocket cost was only $75.

There were also numerous ship models in the lobby. The M.V. Huntingdon, a post-war cargo ship owned by a New Zealand shipping company.

And a model of the Queen Elizabeth 2 herself.

The southern end of the lobby housed a small museum summarising the history of the ship. We would later return for a more in-depth visit as part of the guided tour.

Elizabeth II.

The Bridge.

Rianda posing with a painting of the Cunard-owned RMS Caronia berthed in the Port of Cape Town in South Africa with Table Mountain in the background.

A photo from the ship with the WTC Twin Towers in Manhattan in the 1970's.

Our room keycards after checking in with both the breakfast times in the onboard Lido restaurant and the guided tour times.

Porter Oscar with our bags on the luggage cart.

About to board the Queen Elizabeth 2. We had both never been on a cruise before, and although this ship would never leave dock, we were excited to get a brief taste of being aboard this historic floating hotel.

And outside our room on the first deck, 1036. While the refurbishment had refreshed alot of the passenger areas, most of the original interior was still intact, helping to keep it as authentic as possible.

Even though we had booked a deluxe room, I was still surprised how spacious our room was. Although not exceptional for a hotel on land, the first and second deck rooms were amongst the most luxurious onboard a ocean liner from it's era.

With the refurbishment the room did not feel dated at all and had a large screen TV, brand new furniture and other fittings.

It was a delight to see Queen Elizabeth 2 stationary provided, and helped give a window to a bygone era given that I can't remember the last time I have handwritten a letter!

It cost slightly more to get an oceanside room, although the view wasn't too impressive.

The room service menu with quite reasonable prices.

The old school Seiko analogue alarm clock which was also quite cool to see.

The bathroom.

Complete with Queen Elizabeth 2 branded toiletries.

After settling into our room, we headed down the stairs and back to the hotel lobby.

And ready for the 3pm guided tour. Our tour guide, John, was a lovely English chap who went on eight cruises on the Queen Elizabeth 2 as a child with his parents and then eventually went on to work on the ship as crew.

The original ship bell. John said that the bell had twice been turned upside-down, filled with water while on a cruise, and then used to christen two baby girls as 'Elizabeth'.

A cross-section of the ship showing the different levels.

Some of the original tapestries from the ship. They were originally covered in brilliant gold flake, but after a botched cleaning were now a dull brown.

John telling us how after having engine reliability issues in the early 1980's, the ship was converted from steam power to diesel with nine MAN B&W diesel electric engines.

And the time when the ship was hit by a 90 foot rogue wave that was so big that it hit the main funnel!

We then boarded the ship into what was once the main reception area for passengers.

On the walls was a mural by Peter Sutton depicting Cunard's history that was added in 1994. The original RMS Queen Elizabeth which operated from 1939 to 1972.

A slightly unusual bronze sculpture called "Spirit of the Atlantic" from the second Cunard liner to be called Mauretania.

The Queen Elizabeth 2 sailing past the twin towers of the original World Trade Center in New York.

We then headed up to the first deck.

A convenience store which John said was also the location of the original onboard Harrods store.

A model of the first RMS Mauretania on the quarter deck. The ship was launched in 1906 and at the time was the world's largest ship until the completion of RMS Olympic in 1911.

And inside the Chart Room bar.

John talked about life onboard the ship, and how it was usual for the bars and restaurants to be packed with people socialising even at midnight.

In the bar was also a chest filled with old nautical charts that were used during past ship voyages.

Hong Kong.

Looking out the starboard windows to Bur Dubai.

The Queens Room, featuring it's original 1960’s interior and where John said many New Years and equator parties were held. The venue was also available for hire for wedding and other events.

On the port side of the ship was the onboard casino.

And some of the original slot machines, although only display purposes now that the ship is moored in Dubai.

An original no camera sign.

A photograph of the ship's current funnel, which was enlarged in the 1980's when it was converted from steam to diesel.

The Grand Lounge, also available for hire for meetings and conferences.

The Royal Promenade, a luxury shopping arcade.

Harrods. The shopping arcade was still under refurbishment and yet to open.

The still to open QE2 shop.


The Golden Lion, which John half-jokingly called Dubai's oldest Pub.

The ships 515-seater theatre which will be used for shows by street performers, ballerinas, magicians, comedians, musicians and ‘speciality acts'.

The original dress code sign at the entrance to the still to reopen Mauretania Restaurant.

Inside the restaurant with a statue of horses in the surf, a reference to the old sailor's tale that white capped ocean waves are the heads of wild horses.

A portrait of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother as we ascend the stairs to the boat deck.

The Queen's Grill, frequented by members of the royal family including the Queen herself on a few occasions. It also had an elegant dress code including compulsory wearing of jackets for gentlemen (which I had unfortunately forgot to bring!).

The set tasting menu with a selection of British cuisine prepared by a former chef from the QE2’s sailing days.

Outside for a walk on the boat deck. The original life boats and davits had been removed for practical reasons.

Although empty now, this part of the boat deck used to contain a tennis court and a net for driving golf balls as well as a pair of shuffleboard courts and a putting green.

Looking down the port side of the boat deck. John said that in good weather the boat deck was used by runners and walkers out for a workout with five laps equaling one mile.

And a selfie at the end of a great tour around a very interesting piece of nautical history.

In the late afternoon we went for a stroll around the ship. Looking down with the Dubai moored in the distance. The third largest superyacht in the world and owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai.

And with the Dubai Skyline in the background including the Burj Khalifa on the upper-right, the world's tallest building.

Down at the bow of the ship. It was hard not to be impressed with such a famous and historic ship.

And looking up at the bridge (right) and the original ship penthouse suites (left).

In the evening we headed to the ship's Yacht Club .

It had been restored to its former décor, complete with its original bar.

It was still happy hour so we enjoyed a class of Chardonnay and a lemonade.

For dinner we opted to head back to the Golden Lion.

The prices on the menu were quite reasonable and we got an additional 25% off as part our room booking.

Rianda's fish and chips with mushy peas and tartare sauce.

While I opted for the 'Posh' burger with Wagyu beef.

And a great way to end to a relaxing and fascinating day on board the majestic Queen Elizabeth 2.

Day 2.

The view from our window after a lazy Saturday morning sleep-in.

For breakfast we headed downstairs to the Lido restaurant.

They had an incredible spread laid out with almost everything you could think of.

We definitely didn't go hungry and even indulged in seconds.

The restaurant was decorated with colourful and chic murals by the New York artist Giancarlo Impiglia which were commissioned for the ship by Cunard in 1994.

The Lido was the ship's purpose-built buffet dining area. The area orignally encompassed a swimming pool and nightclub with light buffet fare provided so that passengers could eat by the pool.

After the impressive breakfast we packed our bags and headed back ashore to check out.

And our Dubai staycation sadly at an end after a very enjoyable and relaxing 'cruise' on the beautiful Queen Elizabeth 2!

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