The Queen Mary in Long Beach
This week’s historic hotel is unique because, well – it floats. The Queen Mary is a huge, beautiful ship, a classic ocean liner from days past. She sailed the Atlantic Ocean from 1936-1967 and was built by the Cunard line. The Queen Mary was initially built to compete with the new breed of super liners which were on the oceans in the 1920s and 1930s, and those who traveled with her – at least, those who traveled on First Class – traveled in true style. There was an indoor swimming pool, a library, a nursery and a beautiful First Class dining room that featured a map of the Transatlantic Crossing complete with little motorized Queen Marys on it; passengers could track where the ship was on her journey. First-class accommodations were spacious and comfortable, but third-class cabins were tiny and cramped.
During World War II, The Queen Mary was painted in camouflage and served as a soldier transporter, and she was one of the fastest ships on the ocean – U-boats could barely catch ships of her speed. She had at least one close call off the coast of South America, but she thankfully escaped. The Queen Mary was also almost capsized by a gigantic rogue wave while at sea, but she came out of that as well. After the war, The Queen Mary was again ready for passenger service in 1947, and she carried some of the most famous people in the world on her decks. The ship was retired in 1967, and she now permanently sits in a Long Beach harbor as a hotel, museum and tourist attraction.
I’ve stayed on this ship before with my family, as a child, and it was a very fun time. Walking onto the ship, I was convinced that she was going to set sail overnight while we were asleep, and that we would wake up someplace entirely new. The rooms are on the smallish side, but I’ve actually stayed in smaller hotel rooms on land before! To those who enjoy a good haunting: the ship is rumored to be quite haunted, and The Queen Mary was the only time in my life my sister and I believe we actually saw a ghost. To this day, we can’t explain what happened…it was a fun, if not slightly scary, memory.
The Queen Mary is open year-round. Book early, especially if you plan a summer visit, because the 314 rooms tend to fill up very quickly. I highly recommend the guided tours which are offered. If you’re looking for true luxury, reserve one of the Royalty Suites for $350-$700/night; the Deluxe Staterooms run $180-$240, and there are several cheaper options as well. Definitely a unique and enjoyable experience!
Photo Credits: Gail548