Persian Gulf will be QE2's final berth

If you always wanted to sail on the luxurious Cunard Line ship Queen Elizabeth 2, you missed your opportunity.

However, if you merely wanted to try out the ambiance of the QE2, you can always head for the Persian Gulf emirate of Dubai. That's where the famous ship is headed, for use as a luxury hotel.

The ship, purchased for $118 million by the state-owned development company Dubai World, will be anchored at the Palm Jumeirah, a man-made island off the coast that is a mind-boggling project.

The ship, which was launched by Queen Elizabeth herself in September 1967, is the longest-serving cruise liner in Cunard's 168-year history and was the line's longest-serving flagship. It has completed 25 round-the-world cruises, has crossed the Atlantic more than 800 times and has carried more than 2.5 million passengers.

The Palm Jumeirah, which is 1½ times the size of New York's Central Park, is part of Dubai's plan to become a global tourism and business hub. The QE2 will be refurbished to recreate the original interior and will include a museum celebrating its history.

The QE2 will make its 29th, and final, visit to Sydney, Australia, on Feb. 24 next year, the same day Cunard's newest superliner, the Queen Victoria, will visit Sydney on its maiden world cruise.


• VIDEO: Watch the QEII set out from Sydney harbor
Cunard Lines
The Queen Victoria

Finger Lakes cleaning up tourists' act

With grape power comes grape responsibility.

An increase in boorish behavior on the part of some Finger Lakes winery tourists has led to the Safe Group Wine Tours Initiative.

It's a cooperative effort of the Keuka, Cayuga and Seneca wine trails. Taking a page from the rules of soccer, tour groups who exhibit intoxicated and/or disruptive behavior will get yellow-card warnings. Repeat offenders will get red cards that will deny the company or groups admittance to any of the 50 or so participating wineries.

As tourism increases throughout this slice of New York's wine country, chauffered vehicles have become more popular so visitors can visit more winery tasting rooms without worrying about driving. Conversely, more groups and individuals have overdone that freedom, leading to instances of verbal abuse of tasting room staff, public urination and other raucous behavior.

According to the wineries, overindulgence comes mainly from drinking on commercial vehicles, not from visiting tasting rooms. State law allows open bottles in livery vehicles.

Some tour groups prohibit consumption of any alcoholic beverages in limos or buses. Some even warn customers in advance that disruptive behavior will result in their immediately being dropped off the tour.

Finger Lakes Wine Tours (private and public)
Dowd's Guide to American Wine Trails
Finger Lakes Wine Center at Sonnenberg
New York Wine & Culinary Center

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