Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Queen Mary

I can see the Queen Mary from the bedroom however in my 3 years of living in Long Beach have never been.  I guess its one of those things that since its so close, I figured I could always go, but here I am 3 weeks before leaving LA and I still had not gone.  So I finally had my friend Liz tour me around.  Liz is a bit of a Queen Mary fanatic, she has been several times including some stays at the hotel, so she was the perfect person to give a free tour.

Tue Queen Mary is a retired ocean liner that sailed primarily in the North Atlantic Ocean from 1936 to 1967 for the Cunard Line.  Built by John Brown and Company in Scotland, Queen Mary, along with her twin Queen Elizabeth were built as a part of Cunard's planned two-ship weekly express service between Southampton, Cherbourg, and New York City.  The two ships were a British response to the super liners built by German and French companies in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The vessel also held the Blue Riband from 1936 to 1937 and then from 1938 to 1952 when she was beaten by the new SS United States. Upon her Maiden Voyage in 1936 the Queen Mary was considered the grandest ship ever built and the elite of high society considered her the only civilized way to travel. From celebrities like Fred Astaire to dignitaries such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, she carried some of the world’s most renowned personalities and political leaders.

In 1939, at the start of the World War II, the Queen Mary was drafted into service and outfitted as a troopship. Deemed the Grey Ghost due to her new camouflaged grey exterior, she joined the Allied Forces and played a crucial role in their success. When the war ended, she was restored to her former glory and continued passenger service.

After several years of decreased profits for Cunard Line, Queen Mary was officially retired from service in 1967. The ship left Southampton for the last time on 31 October 1967 and sailed to the port of Long Beach, where it remains permanently moored. Much of the machinery including two of the four engines, three of the four propellers, and all of the boilers were removed, and the ship now serves as a tourist attraction featuring restaurants, a museum, and hotel. The ship is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

There are a lot of stories about what went on on the Queen Mary, which is rumored to be haunted.  I always wanted to go during Halloween with they have the haunted boat but never make it.  If you're in for a scare visit in the fall.  Otherwise you can go to Sunday brunch, stay at the hotel on board, take an official tour, or visit one of the bars or restaurants on board.  You definitely want to go and see the Queen Mary while you're in LA.

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