QE2 ending: What will Mavis do next?

IPSWICH-based globetrotter Mavis Bensley was today mulling over whether to book one last cruise on the QE2.

IPSWICH-based globetrotter Mavis Bensley was today mulling over whether to book one last cruise on the QE2.

The Evening Star told the travel-hungry 72-year-old, who kept our readers entertained with a diary of her world cruise earlier this year, about the retirement plans for the vessel as she returned home from a trip to Turkey.

She said: “I'm not really that surprised that she is being retired, although it is a bit of a shock that it is happening so soon.

“When we were on the ship everyone was wondering how much longer she would be able to continue sailing, we thought she had two or three years left.

“There are new regulations coming in 2010 which it would be difficult to make the right adjustments for so we all thought she would be retired by then.

“And of course the new Queen Victoria is coming into service later this year as well.”

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The QE2 is due to undertake her last cruises next year before sailing to her final destination in Dubai where she will become a luxury hotel at the massive new resort currently under construction there.

The hotel is due to open in 2009 - 40 years after she began operating on the London/New York Atlantic crossing.

Mavis said: “I do feel quite sad that she is going into retirement. A group of us had talked about having a reunion next year and we'll have to think about that now I've heard this.

“It won't be the same as a hotel. When you are a long cruise you really get to know people and they become friends.

“If it is just a hotel you'll have people staying there for a few nights and keeping themselves to themselves. It won't be the same.”

But the retirement of the QE2 will not put Mavis off cruising. She is already preparing for a summer holiday trip and is now thinking how to mark the departure of her favourite vessel.

N Do you have any memories of trips on the QE2? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

N What is the QE2's sister ship Queen Mary 2 like? See Star Travel on Saturday.

QE2 facts:

She was launched on the Clyde in 1967.

She is 70,000 tonnes.

She was a troop ship during the Falklands War.

She has travelled more than 5.5million miles - more than any other ship.