By George Christopher Thomas, Travel Writer
Here I am a Los Angeles native, and in 34 years I had never been to the Queen Mary in Long Beach. This grand ocean liner was bought by the City of Long Beach just over 40 years ago, and remains to this day a landmark and major tourist attraction. My travel companion and I were really looking forward to not only visiting the Queen Mary, but staying overnight in such a historic and haunted floating hotel.
This experience is like no other, and I suggest it to every person on planet earth, at one time or another, stay the night at the Queen Mary in Long Beach. It is hard to explain the feel: Imagine being transported back in time, to a simpler era, when cigarettes were considered fashinable and healthy, when big bands and jazz were the music in the background, and to a time before your parents were born. The Queen Mary is all of that and more, so we played the part.
I decided we were on an around the world cruise, and to embrace every minute of it. We got there quite early on Saturday, so we explored the ship, and had a lay out on the sundeck. There were shuffleboards and ping pong tables, all in working order. The whole atmosphere made me want to play cards, so we went and bought a deck from the Russian Submarine gift shop. When you visit the Queen Mary, there is also a real life Russian submarine you can tour, which looked totally cool.
Oh how I wished to play Bridge on the sundeck — that is probably what the rich and famous did back in the 1920’s and 30’s — but it was not to be, Go Fish and Slapjack only. After all that fun we went to have lunch, and had one great Ceasar salad and roast beef sandwich (definitely add mushrooms), and it was delicious. Since arriving a little early for check in, we had time to wander the ship and see some of the sights. There are seven decks at least, and lots of exhibits and points of interest.
On the Sports Deck you can access the Officers’ Quarters as well as the Bridge & Wheel House. The Sun Deck is the perfect place to play cards and embrace leisure — you deserve it. Next is the Promenade Deck, and that is where the Main Hall is, as well as the World War II Display and the Isolation Ward. The ship is absolutely huge, and exploring every nook and cranny can be quite daunting, but fun as well. Our room was beautiful, and was utterly relaxing in every way, shape and form.
The bed was divine, and I could nap there or sleep over every time I am in Long Beach. The view of the harbor was majestic, and you could hear the boats and people having fun well into the night. Everything was perfect, the bathroom was just fine, and the shower had ample pressure to wash off all those worries from the work week. There was live music throughout the night, and it made the evening delightful. All of the restaurants on board are just wonderful for dining. We ate at three of them over the weekend, and did not have a bad meal once. The Queen Mary is great for the family, great for history buffs and especially fun for psychics and mediums.
There is definitely a different vibe onboard the ship, especially at night. I didn’t want to leave, but had to get back to write the article. Without traffic, it is really close to the San Fernando Valley, and would probably take you about 30 minutes to get there. Take the 405 South to the 710, and then just take the 710 into Long Beach. There are signs everywhere for the Queen Mary, you cannot miss it. There is a lot of history there, and you will come away smarter and more aware of the world around you. And if you happen to be into “The British” there is a lot of culture to immerse yourself in, and pictures of royalty everywhere. There is even a store that can find your family’s Coat Of Arms. I double-checked on the Thomas Coat Of Arms, and it still looks the same, so that is good.
I definitely recommend a trip to the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. It is another opportunity to go on vacation somewhere close to Los Angeles, a kind of “stay-cation” with a bang. (For more information, check out www.queenmary.com or just go to Long Beach and visit her, she is one grand ocean liner.)