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QE2 steams into Belfast on farewell tour

By Emily Moulton

Maritime enthusiasts will have one last chance to see one of the world’s most famous cruise ships when she docks at Belfast Harbour this weekend.

The Queen Elizabeth 2 — or QE2 as she is more commonly known — is on her final voyage round the world and will be in Belfast this Saturday.

The vessel was the flagship of the Cunard Line for more than 30 years and made her maiden voyage in 1969. She is one of the last great Transatlantic liners.

She is also one of the largest and fastest passenger vessels still afloat, weighing a staggering 70,327 tonnes, 963 feet long with a top speed of 32.5 knots.

The QE2’s visit to Belfast is part of her year-long farewell tour before docking permanently in Dubai for her new role as a floating hotel.

The Cruise Belfast Initiative, a partnership between Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau and the Port of Belfast, is treating the stop-over as a major coup. Visits by cruise liners such as the QE2, which has an estimated 3,000 passengers and crew on board, bring in thousands of pounds into the local economy.

“Belfast is one of a select few UK cities playing host to the QE2 during her year-long farewell tour and this will be the last time that the public will be able to see the vessel in port before she retires permanently to Dubai where she will become a floating hotel later this year,” Susie McCullough, marketing director of the BVCB, said.

“It is a real honour for us to welcome her to Belfast and a measure of the success of this year’s cruise season, that we are able bring in a vessel with such a unique and rich history as one of 39 ships visiting this summer.”

While curious folk hoping to catch a glimpse of the luxurious settings will not be able to hop on board, the public will be able to view the QE2 from a special viewing gallery at the Paint Hall on Queen’s Road.

Tickets for the hourly slots are free and are available from the Belfast Welcome Centre. There are 1,200 tickets allocated on a first come, first served basis.

The QE2 will dock into the Port of Belfast 1.30pm this Saturday, October 4 and will set sail at around 5pm.

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