Thursday, February 18, 2010

Queen Mary Review

I've written so much about the Queen Mary which is now a hotel, museum and convention facility in Long Beach, California, but this time I'd like to offer a review of the ship as a hotel and attraction in southern California. This really does tie-in to the cruise industry too, because just aft of the Queen Mary is a cruise terminal where thousands of cruise passengers can depart from each week. While I was onboard the Queen Mary I often came across people wandering the ship that either just came off of a cruise or were just about to depart on their cruise from the Long Beach cruise terminal. Carnival Cruise Line's Paradise and the Carnival Splendor were docked at the cruise terminal throughout the weekend that I was visiting the Queen Mary. I need to remind my readers that I am passionate about the Queen Mary, her history and her future as an attraction in Long Beach. I know it sounds odd, but I had chosen a college in southern California because it was not far from Long Beach where the Queen Mary was. Since I was about 13 years old, I developed a unique interest in the Queen Mary, my friends in junior high school would tease me that I knew how many rivets and portholes were in the Queen Mary. I was fascinated by her size and engineering and history, then I discovered there were many other grand ocean liners during the trans-Atlantic era, when crossing the Atlantic by ship was the "only way to cross".

I spent the weekend aboard the Queen Mary Hotel with my wife and my son. For me this was a huge weekend because I was returning to the place I asked my wife to marry me, and I was going to have an opportunity to show my 9 year-old son the ship that has inspired me for so many years. Additionally, I produced an event aboard the Queen Mary during this weekend where I invited the listeners of my talkshow in the southern California area to come watch me interview a few people in front of an audience. The event was a huge success and everyone seemed to have a wonderful time. We were booked into the Eisenhower Suite which is the same room that President Eisenhower stayed in when he crossed the Atlantic aboard the Queen Mary. This is a key selling point for anyone looking for a hotel to stay at while visiting southern California..the fact that you can book yourself into an original first-class stateroom from the days when the Queen Mary was in her glory crossing the Atlantic on a regular basis. The who's who list of celebrities and movie stars, statesman and royalty that stayed in the suites aboard the Queen Mary when she was in active service is spectacular. To think that you could stay overnight or several nights in the same room that Bob Hope, Winston Churchill, Liz Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Billy Graham, or President Eisenhower stayed in while crossing the Atlantic is more than intriguing. The Queen Mary Hotel has a rather new management company so the rooms have new beds and linens which are very comfortable. New iPod docking stations have been placed in the rooms with flat-screen TV's and when you add the element of historical significance to your stay, it all adds-up to a memorable, comfortable visit.

The Queen Mary is a Historical Treasure and worth a visit. She's not just an old ship, the Queen Mary has an illustrious history that spans over 70 years. Most of her career has now been spent as a landmark in Long Beach, so she is a "place" where millions of people have visited, explored, and marveled at her size, her engines, her romance, and her history before she arrived in Long Beach. Ocean liners were mini cities or communities that had their own personality, and they were a microcosm of societal engineering. Today, Queen Mary is considered a building rather than a ship since she no longer separates herself from land, and she no longer becomes an island unto herself. The ship is still floating, however; which is nice, but gone are the days when passengers can feel the movement and energy of the ship as she pounds her way across the vast ocean. Queen Mary has been absorbed by the city of Long Beach as opposed to having the ability to escape to the sea, and yet if you squint, you can imagine what it was like when she was still an active ship.

What's there to do onboard the Queen Mary? Don't miss the opportunity to stay in the Queen Mary Hotel. You can also explore the museum and see the ship's last remaining propeller. There are plenty of great rooms and space for that special meeting, dance or banquet. You can take a self-guided tour or sign-up for an escorted behind-the-scenes tour. For those who want to experience a chill down their leg, you can try out the ghost tour experience. If you want a unique place to eat, the Queen Mary has many excellent dining venues, including the famous Sunday Brunch in the First-Class Dining Room or Sir Winstons with a great view of the Long Beach skyline. Or you might want to do what I did and find a deck chair to relax and just soak-in the southern California sunshine from the deck of the Queen Mary.

There is an ongoing effort to preserve and protect the Queen Mary's original areas, decks, rooms and lounges, and I know it is a daunting task for any management company to take on, because she's not a building but a ship, and ships have unique maintenance requirements. The maintenance onboard the Queen Mary is staggering, and for the most part, I think the current management company has done a fine job, however, her exterior desperately needs to be painted and cared for.

I'd like to thank the PR department aboard the Queen Mary for their generosity to host our Cruising Authority event in the Verandah Grill. I'd also like to thank a few of my sponsors for this trip to southern California which include: Advantage Rent A Car, AirTran, American Limousine and Disneyland. This trip to southern California would not have been possible without these great sponsors.

About the author: Barry Vaudrin is the host of the most listened-to cruise-related talkshow anywhere at Each week hear from interesting people related to the cruise industry, like presidents of cruise lines, historians, authors, and travel professionals that contribute in some way to the cruise industry. We also feature shows occasionally about ocean liners and the trans-Atlantic era. Barry is a cruise industry journalist who travels the World and features all sorts of cruises from mass-market, premium, upscale to luxury cruises.

For anyone looking for the perfect cruise vacation at the best possible pricing, be sure to contact me for a referral to a great agent:


  1. Carnival cruise also offers complete comfort with large spaces and calming accommodations inside one of their staterooms. The cabins and rooms are fully carpeted with cabinets and amenities like sink, bathtubs, and showers. Each room also has a color television. You will find all the amenities you will find in the comforts of your own home in a Carnival cruise liner cabin.
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