It must have been 1962 or 1963 when my parents decided to return to England after a few years living in the US (Florida, Texas, back to Florida, then to California). We had initially traveled to the US on the RMS Queen Elizabeth. The return trip was on the Queen Mary.
To be honest, my memories of crossing the Atlantic are mostly of the Queen Elizabeth, not Mary. By then my brain was shutting down from the trauma of moving around so much and a lot of my teenage years are a total blank.
So as much as I love visiting the ship and am really happy that she is living a second life docked in Long Beach, it is certainly a two-edged sword for me.
Last weekend several friends and I made the pilgrimage to visit the The Queen. Coming from various parts of LA as we do, some of us met downtown at the 7th Metro station and continued on the Blue Line to downtown Long Beach. From there we took the free Passport Shuttle that stops at all of the tourist locations in that city. A good way to get around if you are visiting Long Beach or are on one of the cruise ships docking at the port.
In order to qualify for the AAA (American Automobile Association) discount you need to buy the ticket in person at the ticket booth, not online. And it turns out if one person in your party is a AAA member, everybody gets the discount. Way to go!
There are several tours available. We chose the Glory Days Historical Tour which is the basic tour of the ship. I’ve done this tour more than once but it is still enjoyable.
We ate lunch in the Chelsea Chowder House as the Promenade Cafe was closed for construction. Several of us ordered the fish tacos which turned out to be pretty decent. Not exactly the traditional fish ‘n chips, but hey, this is Southern California!
After that we wandered around the ship with me snapping photos here and there.
The photo above is an array of the many kinds of wood used on the ship, about thirty eight in all, with such exotic names as Sapeli Mahogany, Birds Eye Maple, Silky Oak, Pacific Myrtle, et al.
Photos of illustrious travelers such as Fred Astaire (above) and Liberace (top of page) are displayed on the Promenade Deck. Didn’t see my photo, though. Oh well, I’m not famous enough yet.
You need a long extension cord to vacuum this corridor… you can barely see the end of it! The handrails were installed after the maiden voyage when they discovered the ship wasn’t as stable as advertised.
Just seeing this lookout post extending off the bridge was making me seasick. The view, of course, is of the Long Beach mainland.
The geodesic dome in this photo was originally built as the home of the Spruce Goose, Howard Hughes’ infamous wooden airplane (built on the outskirts of Culver City, now Playa Vista) that flew a few yards before diving into the Pacific Ocean. I was fortunate enough to visit it and sit in the cockpit before it was moved to Oregon. I only wish it was still here. The dome now serves as the cruise center for ships arriving at the Port of Long Beach.
Replica of the children’s play room. I think the artwork is from The Arabian Nights and Rudyard Kipling. Today it would be Disney and Star Wars… or all replaced with video games. Yes, I feel old!
I believe this cabinet contains the different flags flown for various situations but I didn’t see a sign. At first I thought it was beach towels…
During World War II the Queen became a troop carrier. This is one of the guns she had to be outfitted with.
This was so cool… the Queen Mary made out of Legos.
There was supposed to be a Lego cat on board. I thought for sure if anybody could find it, it would be me… but no luck.
However, I did find Winston Churchill looking very Lego-ish.
We had decided to depart at 3:00pm as we all had a long trip home with combinations of train, bus, car and foot travel. And some of our group had to go to work Monday morning. Yes, I remember those days! On my walk from the Culver City station I made a quick stop at Trader Joe’s which is conveniently on my route home. I was opening my front door at 6:00pm.
Another good day in LA… and now I am craving another cruise!
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