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.

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.

Tours & Exhibits

The Queen Mary offers daily public tours and welcomes 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.


The Queen Mary remains one of the most historic and unique accommodations available in southern California. Travelers can 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.

Bars & Restaurants

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.

Weddings, Meetings & Private Events

One of the most unique venue options in southern California for meetings, social gatherings, and weddings, the Queen Mary can accommodate upwards of 800 attendees in 80,000 square feet of event space that spans 14 distinct Art Deco areas.

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.

Upcoming Events

Queen Mary sets the perfect scene for a variety of year-round events, featuring concerts, comedic performances, and more. From wine nights to fireworks on the 4th of July, there is no shortage of unforgettable happenings on this sophisticated ocean liner. Recurring events include karaoke sessions, afternoon tea, Sunday brunch with live music, and art and wine nights.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is the Queen Mary famous?

The Queen Mary was regarded as one of the most elegant and sophisticated ocean liners of her time, hosting Hollywood legends, British Royalty, and dignitaries.

2. What happened to the Queen Mary Ship?

With emerging preferences for air transportation, the Queen Mary docked permanently in Long Beach in 1967, where it now floats on Californian waters as an iconic attraction.

3. How much does it cost to on the Queen Mary?

Entry prices will vary depending on your choice of program or event at the Queen Mary. All visitors must hold an admission ticket or hotel room key for access to the public facilities of the ship. For more information, visit the official website of the Queen Mary.

4. What is the difference between an ocean liner and a cruise ship?

Ocean liners are constructed for transcontinental journeys across certain ports in different continents, while cruises are designed for smaller routes and are usually sailed nearer to land.