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Queen Mary is filled with thrills and chills

The many facets of the Queen Mary
The many facets of the Queen Mary
Mary McGrath

Queen Mary

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It’s the holiday season, and why not do something a little different this year? How about a visit to the Queen Mary?

New Year's Eve aboard the Queen Mary
Queen Mary

Since docking at Long Beach Harbor in 1967, the Queen Mary’s been pretty much idle, but there’s still a lot of activity surrounding this famous ocean liner, making a visit well-worth your time.

Currently CHILL is in full swing, with its popular snow-driven activities taking place adjacent to the boat. But for a more lavish adventure, there’s an around-the-world cruise taking place on New Year’s Eve, and you don’t even have to leave the harbor!

This is a re-launch of the retired ocean-liner to her voyaging days with a one-night world cruise, where “passengers” will be ushered to such places as India, Brazil, the extravagant Moulin Rouge in France and Times Square in New York before returning to the ship’s beginning, a village in Scotland. The celebration will culminate with fireworks at midnight, and no passport is needed! Prices start at $99.

If you stay onboard, there are other activities to keep you entertained. The Diana Exhibit continues, showcasing decades of European history, coupled with rich displays to satiate any fashionista.

Foodies will appreciate the fine restaurants aboard the ship, particularly Sir Winston’s, offering premium 5-Star dining overlooking the harbor. Scallops and duck were our choices, and we were very impressed with the quality of the food, and the service.

During our two-night stay, we found our modernized room very comfortable, clean, and punctuated with some groovy throwbacks to the Queen's earlier days. Check out those vintage portholes, and the dormant heating vents from the ‘40s. Our room even had a small writing desk from that bygone era. We loved it!

We were originally there to sleuth for ghosts, which are a given at the Queen Mary. There are several paranormal excursions available, taking you to the bowels of the boiler room, the famed haunted swimming pool, and hot spots inside the boat where people have met with unfortunate endings.

Although there are several paranormal tours, we took two of the daytime tours. The shorter Ghosts and Legends is more of a special effects romp, taking you deep into the interior of the boat. Boilers hissed while a simulated flood ensued. This was all good fun, but we preferred the Haunted Encounters, proving why Time Magazine voted the Queen Mary as one of the Top 10 Most Haunted Places in America.

Who died in that room and how? What really happened in the first class swimming pool? The creep factor was high on this tour, and our guide was engaging and informative. In fact, many spirit orbs were evident in several of the photos I took.

If strapped for time, simply walk the boat, where you’ll see photos of dignitaries, actors and other famous people, all whom have contributed to the illustrious reputation of the Queen Mary when she was in full swing.

Art enthusiasts will enjoy the many murals, paintings and Art Deco furniture that still punctuate the ship, taking you back to a bygone era when Big Band music was king.

We toured the boat on our own one morning, and discovered some wonderful gems. Maritime history is plentiful on the boat, giving you a peek into relics from a bygone era.

One spot was the radio room near the front of the boat where two volunteers entertained us with tales of the Morse code, the war efforts, and many other factoids related to the ship’s history. Jerry Fullerton and his pal were well-informed, showing us many of the sophisticated instruments that were in use at the time.

The Queen Mary has many facets to her, so if you’ve never come aboard, now’s the time. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

For more information:
www.queenmary.com