QE2 London bid to turn cruise liner into luxury floating hotel off Greenwich Peninsula (From News Shopper)
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QE2 London bid to turn cruise liner into luxury floating hotel off Greenwich Peninsula
ONE of the most famous cruise ships of all time could end her life as a luxury floating hotel moored off Greenwich Peninsula.
The bid to bring "national treasure" the QE2 back to British shores remains strong against a tide of talk of selling her for scrap metal.
Cunard’s former flagship transatlantic liner retired to Dubai in 2008 after nearly 40 years service sailing the seas as a plush passenger ship and even transporting troops during the Falklands War.
Now campaigners want her docked at Carlsberg Wharf - opposite the O2 - to "rival Buckingham Palace" as a London landmark.
Roger Murray is the head of marketing for QE2 London - which is steering the Thames bid. He said: "She is probably the most famous, well loved ship in the western world.
"She’s a national treasure. We want her back."
QE2 London say its vision of transforming her into a 550-room hotel, complete with seven restaurants and a cinema has had backing from Mayor of London and local businesses as well of thousands of signatures on an e-petition.
It says it would be a boost for Greenwich creating a world-class tourist attraction close to Greenwich Maritime museum and Cutty Sark, as well as around 1,500 jobs and forging links with the O2 and the cable cars.
Managing director John Chillingworth - who used to be chief engineer for the QE2 in its Cunard days - told News Shopper: "The project will generate 1,500 permanent jobs and will be a catalyst to promote the ongoing development to the area bringing millions of pounds to the local economy.
"It will improve the view from the Greenwich peninsular."
The campaigners had hoped to moor her at Carlsberg Wharf later this year - paying out £20m for the ship itself plus extra costs for towing her back and refurbishment.
But now the well-loved QE2 is awash with speculation she may be sold as scrap metal to a company in the Far East.
QE2 owners Istithmar World were unavailable for comment.
A spokesman for former owners Cunard added that the rumours were merely "speculation".