If you have time before your hotel check-in, take a short walk over to Shoreline Village. Along the way, you can take beautiful photos of the majestic Queen Mary without obstructions. You’ll pass a marina along the way as you view the picturesque Shoreline Village with brightly colored buildings and Parker’s Lighthouse on the point.
The Funnel House is a great place to stop for a snack. Funnel Sundae is a funnel cake topped with your choice of ice cream and toppings. We went with vanilla ice cream with strawberries, bananas, and whipped cream. It’s a healthy (large) serving so it is great for sharing. The funnel cake was fried to perfection with a crispy outside and fluffy inside. The vanilla ice cream was perfect as a cold treat on a warm day. The strawberries and bananas just made it like a “sundae”. For a true sundae, the only thing missing was a cherry on top. Rating: 4.5/5
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is irresistible to the sweet tooth. Of course, they have chocolate, but they also offer candy apples, fudge, brittles, and more. Dark Chocolate Rocky Road was calling my mom’s name. The dark chocolate enrobed marshmallows and almonds for a decadent treat. We would have saved it for later but it would have melted on the walk back to the car.
It was check-in time and a hop, skip, and jump later, we were driving into the parking lot of the majestic Queen Mary. Even though modern cruise ships are much larger, the Queen Mary still has a larger than life personality when you are up close. The best part about this cruise ship is that you will never get sea sick. The registration desk is manned by a most courteous crew. They will check you in and help you with any question you have whether it’s about the Queen Mary or surround Long Beach area. Walking down the hall to your room is just like being on a standard cruise ship with the almost infinite hallway to the bow and to the stern. The Queen Mary crew has done a fantastic job of keeping the ship just like it was back in the 1930’s through the 1950’s, from authentic polished wood paneling, original artwork, Art Deco style, and operable portholes.
The Deluxe Stateroom (with either a king bed or two twin beds) was once the preferred choice for first-class travelers when the ship was in operation. Starboard side rooms have a view of Rainbow Harbor. Standard amenities include: operable portholes, 32” LCD flat screen TV with satellite and Pay-Per-View movies, Wi-Fi, hairdryer, iron/ironing board, authentic Art Deco mirror and original built-in storage/closets. The bathroom, with its original fixtures, is much roomier than a standard cruise ship.
After some relaxation and cooling off in the room, it was time to freshen up for dinner at my namesake, Chelsea Chowder House & Bar. When the Queen Mary arrived in Long Beach in 1967, it was decided to partition the Starboard side of the glass enclosed Promenade Deck to make way for the restaurants since the original dining areas did not have a beautiful view of Rainbow Harbor and the Long Beach skyline. In recent years, Chelsea has been given an authentic British chowder house makeover with subway-tiled walls, tables covered with butcher block paper, and decorative tin ceilings.
Singapore Sling (origins early 1900’s) is made with Bombay Sapphire Gin, BOLS Cherry Brandy, B&B, Cointreau, pineapple juice, fresh lime juice, and dash of Angostura bitters. This has been one of my favorite cocktails since the early 1990s and it just tasted so much better aboard the Queen Mary. The hurricane-shaped glass gave the feel of sailing away and the tropical flavors of the drink itself puts you in full relaxation mode. Rating: 5/5
Fried Calamari is served with lemon aioli and spicy tomato sauce. The calamari was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The batter was unexpectedly peppery. It would be better with a lighter batter. Both dipping sauces work well so experiment to your taste. Rating: 4.8/5
Miso Glazed Grouper is braised grouper with miso, bok choy, leek, scallion, peppers, shiitake mushrooms, daikon, and carrots. This had a great combination of Asian flavors. The grouper was meaty and succulent. But the bell pepper flavor was a little too strong for the dish. Being a little heavier on the miso would be an improvement as well. Since there is a lot of broth on the bottom, rice or soba noodles would be a nice touch. Rating: 4.3/5
Blackboard Daily Special was blackened salmon, scallops, and shrimp topped with lemon caper sauce. The salmon was tender, succulent, and just melts in the mouth like butter. The scallops and shrimp were cooked to perfection. The lemon caper sauce was subtle and let the seafood be the star of the dish. The asparagus and potatoes were the perfect accompaniment. Rating: 5/5
Flourless Chocolate Cake was light with pudding-like texture. It had a rich chocolate flavor and the ganache coating was velvety and smooth. Rating: 5/5
After dinner, it was time to explore the ship. It’s a great time to do some window shopping and get some great pictures without the crowds of tourists. As night fell, the fog started to roll in, providing that eerie, haunting feeling that many come to experience at the Queen Mary. From the sun deck, you can see the Rainbow Bridge in the harbor lit up as well as the Long Beach skyline. One beautiful day in Long Beach has come to an end and the start of a new day is just a slumber away.
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