Insider’s Guide to The Queen Mary
In 1967, the Queen Mary completed her final voyage from Southampton, docking in Long Beach, California, where she remains permanently moored.
In the years since, the nearly one-century-old ocean liner has been transformed into a historic hotel and one of Long Beach’s top attractions, welcoming visitors to explore its storied halls and learn of the ship’s history through tours and onboard exhibits.
Fun Facts About the Queen Mary
- Holds the world record for the most passengers ever transported on one vessel (16,683)
- Made the front page of the New York Times in 1938 after successfully docking without the assistance of tug boats
- Was the first ocean liner to have a Jewish prayer room
- Earned the nickname of the “Grey Ghost” during World War II due to her battleship gray wartime paint job
- Also earned the nickname of “The Ship of Woods” given the vast number of different woods from all over the globe used throughout the ship
- Is featured in the 1966 film starring Frank Sinatra, Assault on a Queen
Tours & Exhibits
While the ship has been closed to the public since 2020, the Queen Mary recently reopened offering limited free public tours and welcoming visitors onboard to learn more about the ship’s nearly 100-year history via exhibits and scheduled tours.
Engineering aficionados will enjoy The Steam and Steel Tour, which descends into the depths of the ship’s boiler and generator rooms to share how the Queen Mary was powered across the Atlantic. The Glory Days experience thrusts visitors through time, highlighting the liner’s extensive history as a passenger vessel and wartime asset. The Cunard Story exhibition traces the history of the Cunard-White Star Line, for whom the Queen Mary sailed all those years ago.
Bars & Restaurants
Though all are currently closed until further notice, the Queen Mary is home to a number of unique dining options that continue the ocean liner’s legacy of providing a memorable culinary experience for all passengers — or, in this case, hotel guests and visitors.
The sophisticated Sir Winston’s Restaurant & Lounge pairs a fine-dining experience with panoramic, picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean. For more casual fare, the Chelsea Chowder House & Bar is perfect for families looking to enjoy seafood and British-inspired cuisine. A grab-and-go marketplace on the port side of the Promenade Deck features coffee, sandwiches and snacks, while a 30s-inspired former first-class lounge now serves as a chic bar serving craft cocktails, beer and wine.
Though currently closed for improvements until further notice, the Queen Mary remains one of the most historic and unique accommodations available in southern California. Once reopened, travelers will be able to choose to stay in one of the more than 300 original first class staterooms found throughout the now full-service hotel. The ship's interior has been carefully preserved, offering guests a rare glimpse at what first class accommodations were like aboard an ocean liner in the mid-20th century.
Complete with functioning portholes and original artwork, room options on the Queen Mary range from full suites — the most spacious and luxurious of accommodations, with a private room and breakfast nook — to the popular deluxe stateroom, which blends stately Art Deco elements with modern amenities. Family staterooms, standard staterooms and even mini suites are also available, as is the storied “Stateroom B340,” known for its long record of alleged paranormal activity.
Weddings, Meetings & Private Events
One of the most unique venue options in southern California for meetings, social gatherings and weddings, the Queen Mary will be able to accommodate upwards of 800 attendees in 80,000 square feet of event space that spans 14 distinct Art Deco areas once it reopens.
Choose from spaces as small as 522 square feet, or larger areas with lofty, 33-foot ceilings. The regal Grand Salon accommodates up to 700 guests in an elegant, 9,000-square-foot space on the R Deck, while the smaller Royal Salon & King’s View offers stunning views of downtown Long Beach and the Pacific Ocean from what was once a first-class smoking lounge.
History of The Queen Mary
The RMS Queen Mary was constructed in Scotland for Cunard-White Star Line by shipbuilding firm John Brown & Company. Her maiden voyage was in May of 1936, and in August of that year she would go on to win the Blue Riband — an accolade for transatlantic passenger liners with the highest average speeds.
Named for Mary of Teck — wife of King George V and Queen of the United Kingdom and Empress of India from 1910-1936 — the Queen Mary featured a grand Art Deco design that swept throughout the ship, with decor fashioned from over 50 different types of wood from around the globe. Luxurious onboard amenities included two indoor swimming pools, a music studio, libraries, paddle tennis courts and telephone service that could connect callers to anywhere in the world. The cabin class main dining room, which spanned three decks in height, even featured a motorized crystal model of the ship that would track the journey’s process.
Her status as a passenger liner was short-lived, with the onset of World War II resulting in the ship’s conversion to troopship for Allied soldiers. Following the war, the Queen Mary once again began shuttling passengers back-and-forth across the Atlantic ocean. The late 1950s saw the arrival of the jet age, resulting in the decrease of demand for sea travel and inevitably leading to the retirement of the Queen Mary in the late 1960s. During her service, the Queen Mary transported over 2 million passengers, and approximately 810,000 members of the military during World War II.
The Queen Mary was purchased by the City of Long Beach in 1967, who then worked to transform the vessel into a hotel, museum and event space. After several ownership transitions and multiple iterations of tourism experiences, the Queen Mary was closed in May of 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the lease for the Queen Mary was surrendered back to the City of Long Beach, who has since begun repairs to restore the ship back to its original glory. For updates on the restoration progress, including how you can obtain pieces of the historic boat, follow the ship’s official Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.