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The Queen Mary

History: The Queen Mary in Long BeachHistory: The Queen Mary in Long Beach


Making her majestic debut on May 27, 1936, The Queen Mary sailed her maiden voyage for the Cunard Line and began over 30 illustrious years sailing the North Atlantic Ocean. The Queen Mary, the flagship of the Cunard Line, along with her running mate, The Queen Elizabeth, were paired as a weekly express service between England and the United States. Overpowering seemingly more modern and more glamorous German and French ships in August of that same year, The Queen Mary earned the Blue Riband accolade—given to the fastest passenger liner crossing the Atlantic Ocean—and recaptured the title again in 1937, later holding the distinguished honor from 1938 to 1952.

The awe-inspiring size, speed, and strength of The Queen Mary were prime reasons why she was turned into a troopship at the commencement of the Second World War. The ship’s new gray color and her boundless speed earned her the nickname, the “Grey Ghost.” Leather now covered the rich wood panels, triple-tiered wooden bunks now stood in the place of the plush guestroom beds, and degaussing coil to protect against magnetic mines now wrapped the ship’s exterior. The Queen Mary succeeded as one of the fastest troopships sailing the open sea, often carrying up to15,000 military personnel in a single voyage. Following the war, The Queen Mary transformed back into a luxurious passenger liner. The rich wood paneling, opulent furniture, and elegant tapestries were updated and instantly restored her former glory. For another 20 years, this legendary ship continued to make transatlantic steamship history.

The Queen Mary officially retired from service in 1967, leaving the misty shores of her English home on October 31, 1967, and sailing to the seemingly endless sunshine of the port of Long Beach, California, where she transformed into the majestic attraction she is today. The smaller first class public rooms such as the drawing room, library, and lecture room, were converted into quaint shops, and the enormous expanse of the ship provided ample space for shopping malls to be added to the Sun Deck. Deck by deck and room by room, The Queen Mary’s modernizations fit the dignified guests that would later grace the halls upon completion.

Now listed on the National Register for Historic Places, this ship serves an iconic attraction and stately hotel, featuring award-winning restaurants, a sea museum, educational tours, and 314 splendid guestrooms and suites. With seven award-winning restaurants and lounges, The Queen Mary delights every palate. From casual cuisine at the Promenade Café to Sir Winston’s classic dishes with a contemporary twist, from Chelsea Chowder House & Bar’s seafood specialties to the ship’s spectacular Sunday Champagne Brunch, guests are assured fresh and creative cuisines, period décor, and beautiful ocean views. Daily tours present endless opportunities for guests to discover the mysteries of the ship, including the World War II Tour, Paranormal Spirit Walk and Paranormal Investigation, Ghosts and Legends Show, and nearby Cold War-era Scorpion Submarine. From first-class accommodations to its deep connection to an abiding history, The Queen Mary is a landmark not to be missed on any visit to Southern California.

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