Queen Mary in Long Beach: The Complete Guide

A large ship docked in Long Beach

TripSavvy / Christian Hundley 

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The Queen Mary

Address
1126 Queens Hwy, Long Beach, CA 90802, USA
Phone +1 877-342-0738

On your next trip to Long Beach, California, you should stop by the cruise ship that never moves—the Queen Mary.

Originally built in 1937, the ship had a long and fascinating 30-year career before making its 516th and final voyage to Long Beach, California, on Dec. 9, 1967.

Since then, the Queen Mary has been docked in the Long Beach harbor and converted into a hotel and tourist attraction, which some even believe to be haunted. Guides' voices echo in the now-empty engine room, where 27 boilers once generated 160,000 horsepower. In fact, the ship has been in Long Beach longer than it sailed the oceans and is now known as an icon for its home city.

an illustration of the Queen Mary and a few tips for visiting.
 TripSavvy / Adrian Mangel

History

Bigger, faster, and more powerful than its predecessor, the Titanic, the RMS Queen Mary had a long career with 1,001 successful Atlantic crossings. Built at the John Brown shipyard on the Clyde, Scotland, in 1937, the Queen Mary held the record for the fastest-ever North Atlantic crossing.

It carried the rich and famous across the Atlantic for three years in great luxury. During World War II, it carried troops. Afterward, the ship ferried war brides and children to the United States and Canada before returning to service as a transatlantic cruise ship.

In 1967, the ship's owner, Cunard, sold the Queen Mary for $3.45 million. After the boat's final voyage, it became permanently docked in Long Beach and has been there ever since.

Things to Do

It may not be as enormous as today's mega-cruise liners, but the Queen Mary is an elegant reminder of a bygone era. 

The least expensive way to see the ship is the self-guided tour which takes visitors over the 1,020-foot-long Queen Mary, from the engine room to the wheelhouse. Unfortunately, the tour route is poorly marked, and the big ship can be pretty intimidating when toured on your own. You may get more out of your experience if you take one of their guided tours. 

They offer several themed tours, which change from time to time. One of the most popular is Ghosts and Legends of the Queen Mary, which dramatizes paranormal and historical events aboard the ship. You can also take tours in the evening, including haunted explorations and midnight ghost tours led by paranormal experts. You can see a list of current tours on the Queen Mary website.

The Scorpion, a Foxtrot-class Russian submarine, is moored just below the Queen Mary's bow. A tour of the cramped quarters and military conditions (78 crew shared two showers and three toilets) provides an interesting contrast to the Queen Mary in size and luxury.

Events at the Queen Mary

Every Halloween, the Queen Mary is home to Dark Harbor, an intense Halloween experience that features haunted mazes, a 4D theater experience, and live monsters and entertainment.

The ship also hosts seasonal and holiday celebrations, mystery murder dinner shows, a Scottish festival, and other events. You can find their upcoming events on their website.

Hotel Queen Mary

The ship isn't just a tourist attraction, it doubles as a hotel as well. With authentic wood-paneling, original artwork from the 1930s, and time-appropriate styled decor, you can easily imagine yourself on a transatlantic journey along with Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, and others. The ship includes 347 staterooms and suites, all of which come with standard amenities.

The smaller rooms are reasonably priced but can be a bit dark. For a taste of the luxury of a bygone era, splurge on a Deluxe Stateroom or a Royalty Suite.

Tips for Your Visit

  • The Queen Mary is open daily, and a reservation is not required for a regular tour.
  • There is an admission fee, as well as a parking fee.
  • Allow a few hours for a leisurely tour, as there's a lot to see.
  • Take a guided tour for a more efficient and educational experience.
  • Grab a map on your way in. Certain things, including elevator stops, are labeled in ship jargon, but the map makes things easy to understand.
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Queen Mary in Long Beach: The Complete Guide