The Sunday Mirror reports:
One of the giant anchors from the QE2 cruise liner is to be returned to Southampton as a gift from its new owners, the Dubai royal family. The announcement was made during the official handover of the ship, which is to be turned into a luxury floating hotel. Doug Morrison, Southampton's port director, said: "One of the Queen Elizabeth 2's anchors is a fitting memento of this beloved, historic ship and one that will be welcome in Southampton." A search is now under way for the best position to display the anchor.


AME Info has a brief video of the hand over ceremony.

Watch it here.

Nakheel's projects are estimated to be worth $80 billion.

Upon completion Nakheel's waterfront projects will have added more than 1,000km of shoreline to Dubai's coastline.

Nakheel's Dubai portfolio includes Nakheel Harbour & Tower, Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali, Palm Deira, The World, Waterfront, The Universe, Jumeirah Islands, Jumeirah Village, Jumeirah Park, Jumeirah Heights, The Gardens, Discovery Gardens, Ibn Battuta Mall, Al Furjan, International City, and Dragon Mart.

Picture buy PA.



Arabian Business Tom Arnold reported live as the QE2 arrived to Dubai:

18.50 UAE time: Well it has been a long and emotional day, one I'm likely to remember for the rest of my life.

It is now time for me to sign off and leave the passengers to their exclusive party on the ship this evening.

Tomorrow they will disembark, for the last time, after which the QE2 will transformed into a floating hotel that will be docked on the trunk of the Palm Jumeirah.

18.40: A glittering fireworks display lights up the sky above the QE2, sparking the subdued crowds back into life.

The Dubai Police band, still blowing on their bagpipes, march up the red carpet and onto the cruise ship.

18.25: The welcoming party of dignitaries dressed in UAE national dress and suits are walking up the gangway and entering the ship.

The feverish excitement of the crowds has died down somewhat and now everybody seems to be waiting for the much-anticipated fireworks to begin.

18.18: The gangway has been lowered and several members of the crew in glistening white uniforms have come onto the dock to secure the gangway.

Two helicopters are circling above the cruise ship and the spotlights continue illuminate the ship.

18.00: The QE2 has literally just docked at Port Rashid and an official welcoming party is in position on the red carpet.

After circumnavigating the world 25 times, crossing the Atlantic Ocean 800 times and carrying 2.5 million passengers in 40 years the QE2 has docked for the last time.

It is a very emotional occasion. To see such an iconic vessel dock for the last time - this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

17.55: The red carpet has been rolled out in readiness for the QE2's arrival as the cruise ship is now only a few hundred metres from the dock.

The Dubai Police band has struck up a tune - playing Scottish bagpipes - accompanied by a group of drummers.

Spotlights fall on the QE2 and the excitement among the crowds on the dock and on the cruise ship is now at fever pitch.

17.45: It's party mood on the dock as the QE2 is tugged into port. Passengers on the QE2 are also in high spirits, with the deck of the cruise ship lined with people waving flags and taking pics.

17.28: Spotted the cheering crowds - a few hundred people waving Union Jack and UAE flags standing by the port. The QE2 is making its way slowly into port.

17.25: Finally back on solid ground. The QE2 has just let out an enormous bellowing sound from its horn as it comes into port.

17.13: We are just about to dock at Port Rashid. We have been greeted by a few people and lots of container boxes and fork lift trucks, maybe the cheering crowds are stuck in traffic on Sheikh Zayed Road.

The QE2 has stopped about a kilometre out to sea, I hope it hasn't run out of fuel.

17.10: I've been told there are 1,800 passengers on board the QE2, no word on Beatrice yet though.

16.43: We are now around 45 minutes from Port Rashid. I've been told when we arrive the QE2 will be met by a royal party and Dubai Police band. The fireworks come later.

16.32: The casualties are mounting up! I've just been downstairs to check out the swanky cabins on our boat and found a prostrate photographer lying on one of the beds - and he even works for a yachting magazine.

All those months of sea training I was put through at Arabian Business are really paying off.

16.20: We are now just cruising in alongside the QE2 with the rest of the flotilla.

Things are calming down here on the media boat. The poor guy that threw up has cleaned his shoes off and the deck hands have cleared up the rest of the mess.

There are some very rowdy yachts around us though - think I've found out where those 70,000 bottles of champagne have disappeared to.

16.17: Have just been told we will not be allowed on board the QE2 - very disappointed.

16.13: The A380 has just made another pass overhead - think it might be lost.

16.10: Trying to find out whether Beatrice Muller is on board the QE2. The 89-year-old from New Jersey has been living on the ship for the past 14 years, paying around 3,500 pounds ($5,362) a month for the privilege.

16.06: At last, someone has thrown up on deck - think it's one of the reporters from Gulf News, but don't quote me on that!

16.05: Another odd fact I've just overheard - in 2001 the QE2 sailed into Lisbon with a 19-metre long finback whale impaled on her bow. Look out Sammy the whale shark, here we come!

16.00: We are now just 200 metres from the QE2 as she makes her way towards Port Rashid. People are waving from the QE2 - there are hundreds of Union Jack flags on display.

15.55: There are 65 people on board the VIP boat. The guests include members of the royal family, but unfortunately no film stars!

15.52: The water is now getting very choppy. A few people are looking a bit queezy. Hope it's not the food!

In 1995, Southampton officials criticised food hygiene on board, threatening legal action after inspecting the ship's Queen's Grill.

15.50: We are almost alongside the QE2. The old girl looks fantastic for 40! She looks majestic.

The A380 has just flown overhead and is coming back around for another pass.

There are dozens of small vessels dotted all around. The next boat over is the VIP boat - I’ll try and find out if there are any celebs on board.

15.40: Spoke briefly to the project director on Palm Jumeirah, Johann Schumacher, about what Nakheel has in store for the QE2.

Schumacher said the refit would take two to three years, but would be dependent on the condition of the ship.

As for the funnel, Schumacher confirmed rumours Nakheel does plan to cut it off.

He said one of the plans for the funnel was to make it the centrepiece at the entry to the QE2 precinct to be built on the trunk of the Palm Jumeirah.

15.35: I overheard from someone that in excess of 70,000 bottles of champagne are drunk every year on average on the QE2 - but we're not getting any!

15.30: I've just spotted the QE2 in the distance with smoke billowing from her funnel. She is surrounded by small yachts and an enormous A380 flying overhead!

15.20: We are continuing to make our way out towards the flotilla that will meet the QE2 upon its arrival in Dubai.

We can now see a few small yachts out of the cabin windows and in the distance behind us is the Burj Al Arab.

There is still an air of excitement and anticipation on board. The water has begun to get a bit choppy and the boat is rocking around a bit - not good for those of us without sea legs!

14.30: We have just set off from the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) Mina Seyahi Dubai to greet the QE2 upon its arrival in Dubai. The atmosphere is electric.

Myself and a large proportion of the media are on board the Dubai Magic, a 140-foot splendid white motor sailing yacht, enjoying some snacks and beverages as we make our way out to join a flotilla of more than 60 vessels that will great the QE2.

There is not a cloud in the sky - perfect weather for the occasion.

(Picture by AP)


The BBC reports about the QE2 arrival to Dubai:

The QE2 has arrived in its new home of Dubai where the ship will be turned into a floating hotel.

A flotilla and Airbus A380 superjumbo flypast met the luxury liner - sold for £50m to the United Arab Emirates.

As it docked in Dubai passengers waved from the decks and some hung banners and flags from the side of the ship.

The QE2's last entry into the city in the morning was delayed after it ran aground on the Bramble Bank in the Solent.

AP says that more than 60 naval vessels and private boats, led by a mega-yacht owned by Dubai's ruler, met the 70,000 ton ship in the Persian Gulf on Wednesday. 

In the city's Rashid port, the legendary cruise ship was greeted by Dubai Police's marching band and fireworks.

Watch here a BBC video of the arrival.

Picture by Marwan Naamani / AFP/Getty Images.



Philip Silvey has here a great collection of pictures of the QE2 in her last visit to Southampton.



Watch here a magnificent fireworks, last night in Southampton.

Video by Keith Buddie, and great picture by Dennis.


The last view of the Grand Dame of the Seas for the Soutampton QE2 fans.

Pictures by Tim Poultney.


Great last night pictures by Gillian Moy,


London Times readers are not happy with the final destination of the QE2:

British pride is unfortunately often sold to the highest bidder!!

Maddison, london, england

It's just a boat for Heavan's sake.

Doris, Wigan,

How sad that she will end up so for from home.

R Leasure, Vidor, Texas, USA

I have to agree. It would be better if she were sunk. She is a British ship and should remain a British ship. This is disgraceful.

KDP, Lompoc, CA, USA

British pride sold to the highest bidder. Better that she were sunk.

C. Heathcote, Tonbridge,


The Guardian's Mak Tran reports about yesterday's events:

It was hardly the most regal moment in the QE2's glittering career when the luxury ocean liner ran into a sandbank off Southampton yesterday, as it headed for its home port before a final voyage which will see metamorphosise into a floating hotel in Dubai.

Fortunately the embarrassment was fleeting, and the ship docked just 25 minutes late at the port, where the Duke of Edinburgh led the farewell ceremonies.

A Cunard spokesman said the ship had been pulled off the sandbank quite easily. "No one on board has been injured. A lot of people will have been in bed when it happened and not have noticed."

The QE2's final departure from British shores was accompanied by solemnity and fireworks. To mark the 90th anniversary of the end of the first world war, a Tiger Moth plane dropped 1m poppies on the 70,000-tonne liner, which was a hospital ship during the 1982 Falklands war.

After the two-minute silence, Prince Philip met long-serving staff as well as the former captains of HMS Ardent, Antelope and Coventry, ships lost in the Falklands campaign. He also stood on the aft decks of the QE2 to watch a Harrier jet fly-past.

Last night a flotilla accompanied the ship as it left Southampton for its final voyage. Passengers snapped up tickets, with the highest-priced berths going for more than £28,000.


Glorious pictures from last night final sendoff.


Yesterday, at 5:30am the Grand Dame of the Seas had a bumpy weakup when beached Southampton with the 2,700 passengers and crew who had just enjoyed a 12-night Mediterranean cruise.

It seems that force seven winds contributed to her grounding.

But as you know many on board joked that it was her reluctance to go without a fight.

First picture: the early morning drama.

Second picture: the Duke of Edinburgh shocked by a blast from the ship's fog horn as he was leaving after his visit to the QE2 in Southampton docks.

Oh dear!


Max Kingsley-Jones reports:

A flypast by an Emirates Airbus A380 is planned as part of celebrations to mark the arrival of the Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth 2 at its new home in Dubai later this month.

The QE2 left Southampton, UK, on her last voyage yesterday. She is due to arrive in Dubai after a passage through the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal on 26 November where she will eventually be preserved as an attraction alongside a specially constructed dock at the Palm Jumeirah island

According to Emirates, a major event is planned to celebrate her arrival in Dubai. When she arrives at the Gulf port, she will be greeted by a flotilla of boats and ships led by the world's largest yacht, the Dubai, owned by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum. Topping off the arrival celebrations will be a flypast by one of Emirates' newly-delivered A380s.

The ceremony echoes that for the RMS Queen Mary off the coast of California 40 years ago as she steamed towards her new home at Long Beach in December 1967. The ship was greeted by a DC-9 flown from the nearby Douglas Aircraft plant, which dropped red and white carnations on her decks.



Keith Hamilton reports:
Commodore Ronald Warwick, the longest serving master on QE2, is to return as the ship’s captain when she arrives in Dubai. He has been appointed as the “owner’s representative” on board QE2 as she undergoes a multi-million pound conversion into a floating hotel and entertainment centre. Commodore Warwick who is retired, has a unique position in the history of QE2 as it was his father, Commodore William Warwick who was the liner’s first captain in 1969. “My father was closely involved with putting QE2 together and now it seems I shall be involved in the many changes that will be made to the ship,” he said. Following the running aground of QE2 this morning the ship was checked over. It is not thought it will result in any delay to her sailing times this evening when she leaves Southampton for the last time.
Thanks to Amy Blume.


Times online readers comment to this embarrassing moment:

"The QE2 is a magnificent old girl who loves life - and she's going to enjoy her facelift in Dubai, ready to attract an entirely new generation of "passengers" who will love her as much as we all did for over 40 years. God Save the Queen!"
Narguesse Stevens, Montaigu-de-Quercy, France.

"The 'obit ' failed to mention her role in the Falklands. Where would we have been without her??"
Chris, Shannon , Ireland.

"It appears that the bridge team (captain and pilot) failed to take account of the prevailing weather conditions. Shame the old girl had to go out like that."
R Bingham, Lauzun, France.

"Its been thrown away like an old doll. The last great Cunarder should have been kept in Southampton as an example of Britians lost maritine heritage. This is illustrative of the political and moral decline of the UK that we don't even recognise our own history we certainty couldn't build one today"
Ian, London.

"She is refusing to leave her home port! Oh dear, poor old girl. She is being sent off to a retirement home and is behaving like any grand old lady would. She stuck her stately heels in and demanded to stay here."
Sue Doughty, Twyford, UK


Watch here a BBC video about today's ceremonies in Southampton.

In the picture, planes drop 1m poppies on to the Dubai-bound QE2.

Photograph: Chris Jackson/Getty Images


From the Times online:

Grounded at sea, QE2 says a reluctant farewell to British shores

One of the world's great cruise-liners gets stuck in the Solent at start of grand farewell after years of service

"Passengers aboard the liner, which had just completed a Mediterranean cruise, spoke of their surprise at the grounding – with some claiming that it showed the famous old liner, one of the world's last great transatlantic cruisers, did not want to leave for her new Middle Eastern home.

Pensioner Shirley Newcombe from Durham, who was on her 10th voyage on the QE2, said: “She didn’t want to come in. That’s the opinion of quite a few of us on board. She doesn’t want to go to Dubai and we don’t want her to go.”


Matt Dickinson reports today for the British PA:

The QE2 cruise ship ran aground as she came into her home port to make her final call, owner Cunard said today.

The BBC said the vessel touched the bottom at the Brambles sandbank near Calshot, Southampton, with three tugs attached to her stern.

A spokesman for Solent Coastguard said they were alerted to the 70,000-tonne ship being aground at the entrance of Southampton Water at 5.26am today.

Five tugs were sent out to assist her getting off the sandbank, he added, and she was pulled off just before 6.10am.

The spokesman said: "She has been refloated and is under way under her own power and heading back to her berth in Southampton."

He added: "She had only partially gone aground, and the tugs pulled her off."

Thousands of people are flocking to Southampton today to bid a fond farewell to the famous vessel before it leaves on its final voyage.

The Duke of Edinburgh is visiting the ship during her final day in port today, with aerial flypasts and a Remembrance Day ceremony involving the dropping of one million poppies also organised.

The ship was heading back to Southampton from a 15-night Mediterranean cruise, with a full complement of 1,700 passengers and 1,000 crew.

A Cunard spokesman said no-one had been injured during the grounding, and she was making her way back to Southampton after being pulled off.

He added: "No-one on board has been injured. A lot of people will have been in bed when it happened and not have noticed."

Solent coastguard said the winds were blowing from the south west at force seven, or 30mph, at the time of the grounding, with a moderate swell.

Police have urged those wanting to see the ship in port, launched by the Queen on the Clyde in 1967, to arrive early.

Prince Philip will be making his seventh visit to the QE2 which entered service with Cunard in 1969. The Queen made her final visit in June this year.

The Duke will be present for the Remembrance Day ceremony at 11am when a million poppies will be dropped from a Tiger Moth aircraft over the QE2.

After the two-minute silence, Prince Philip will meet QE2 crew members who travelled on the vessel when it was used as a troop ship in the Falklands War in 1982.

The Duke will tour the ship and will later present to the Mayor of Southampton a painting of the QE2 which was unveiled by the Queen during her visit this summer.

Prince Philip will also meet long-serving staff, as well as the former captains of HMS Ardent, Antelope and Coventry - ships that were lost in the Falklands campaign.

The Duke will also watch a flypast by a Harrier jet from the aft decks of QE2.

After the QE2 moves off this evening, she will stop for a time and a pre-recorded message from her master, Captain Ian McNaught, will be broadcast on a specially-erected screen in Southampton's Mayfair Park.

There will then be a firework display and the QE2, with whistle blasting, will move away from Southampton for the last time...

The final voyage to Dubai was sold out almost instantly, with the highest-priced berths going for more than £28,000.



The Sun in London reports:

Souvenir hunters have stolen dozens of commemorative badges intended for the final crew of the QE2 – and put them up for sale on eBay.

The badges, in the shape of the captain’s gold epaulettes, were commissioned by the ship’s master, Captain Ian McNaught, as a unique gift to the 1,000 crew.

But more than 100 were taken from the package before it was delivered to the ship.

Police were last night investigating the theft.

The badges – which had attracted bids of more than £100 each – have been taken off the eBay website.



In the picture, April MacDonell and her husband, Robin McCubbin,  arrive to the New York terminal on October 16th.

This elegant Canadian couple posted on YouTube a very gracious slide show of the QE2 Last Crossing that you must watch.

With the right music of Sarah Brightman, Con Te Partiro, Time to Say Goodbye (Solo), this is, says April, "our personal farewell."

A magnificent one!



As I told you, this is a post-last crossing review with more pictures and videos.

Let's start with this one at the New York terminal.

Yes, there was a sense of history  and nostalgia.

The Last Crossing was ready to start.