(DUBAI, UAE) - They like to do things big here, and the arrival of QE2 after 16 days at sea was a good reason to throw a party especially as the UAE is celebrating its 37th National Day on December 2, and the arrival of the most famous ocean liner ever fit right in to what is becoming a weeklong festival.
QE2 was greeted by as many as 60 yachts and smaller boats while overhead Emirates Airlines newest A-380 jumbo performed a ceremonial flyover.
As night fell, fireworks lit up the sky while the Dubai Police Band and traditional Arabic Ayallah performers entertained the people waiting at the port, as well as passengers on the ship.
Tomorrow QE2 will be officially handed over in a flag changing ceremony by Cunard for which she sailed more than 40 years to Nakheel, the developer of iconic projects in Dubai and part of the Dubai World holding company. Dubai World bought QE2 last year.
His Excellency Sultan Bin Ahmed Sulayem, Chairman of Dubai World, said, "Nakheel is proud to be the custodian of such an historic treasure. Dubai, with its wealth of maritime heritage, is providing the warmest of welcomes and a new homecoming for this icon of the seas."
Joe Sita, CEO of Nakheel Hotels, said, "We will now do all we can to protect and enhance the heritage of this iconic transatlantic liner as she joins the company of our other iconic international hotels such as Mandarin Oriental in NY, Fontainebleau in Miami, Atlantis Dubai, and One & Only Los Cabos, Mexico."