The world's most famous cruise ship will berth in Dubai on Sunday for the opening of the new state-of-the-art Cruise Terminal at Port Rashid the following day. The Queen Elizabeth 2, or QE2 as she is popularly known, will arrive from Mumbai as part of its world cruise with 1,500 passengers and will stay for two days before heading to Oman and on to Southampton in the UK.

The QE2 is luxury cruise company Cunard's flagship. A Cunard spokesman said, "We are very honoured to be involved with the opening of the new cruise ship terminal in Dubai." The QE2 made her first world cruise in 1975. She also carried 3,000 troops during the Falklands War in 1982. The 70,327-tonne, 963-foot ship has 963 cabins and can carry 1,810 passengers and 1,015 crew.

Several other cruise ships will also be here for Monday's official opening of the new cruise terminal. The contract for the 3,300 square metre terminal was awarded to Dubai Civil Engineering Co. Interiors were designed by UK-based Haley Sharpe.

Keith Gray, Middle East Director of Haley Sharpe, said, "From a design point of view, we have used colour and focal points to break up the vast amount of space - the terminal is nearly the length of a football pitch."

The terminal has a marble and granite floor with a central compass-style motif fanning out in an ellipse. It features an array of Arabic heritage artefacts as well as modern duty-free shopping and lounge seating. At one end of the building is the baggage area, and the other end has a cafe and lounge with wooden decking leading out to a palm garden.

Other facilities include a bank of telephone kiosks, business centre, conference room, VIP or majlis room, car hire and tour operator kiosks, bank and currency exchange and a large duty-free shop. "Although the terminal has every facility, initial impressions will be of brightness and space with diffused daylight coming through three skylights," Gray said.