Long Beach, The Queen Mary
By Shaun Rosenstein
Why You Must Go: The novelty of staying on a luxury passenger liner turned troopship turned hotel is reason enough to hop in the car and head west to Long Beach. The room windows are portholes, and this ship is chock full of history. From the massive gun mounted on the deck (which never had to be fired), to menus dating from the 1930s on display, things are just sort of historic. In addition to the self-guided tours and daytime World War II tours, the real fun comes later in the evening, starting off with a Twilight Historic Tour. Have a coffee at the Promenade Café and stay up even later for a Paranormal Shipwalk to indulge the Queen Mary’s haunted history—“Dining with the Spirits” or “Midnight Paranormal Investigation” (both limited to time and number of participants, so book ahead) are a couple of options.
The rooms are not the claustrophobia-inducing spaces typical of modern cruise ships; instead the spacious quarters serve as a constant reminder that this ship’s been a hub of luxury for years. Further enhancing the stately nature of the ship are the wood-paneled walls, and the enormous Champagne Brunch in the ship’s original first class dining room, The Grand Salon. Served on Sunday, at $39 per person and $12 for children 5-11, this meal is well worth the investment, with banquet table upon banquet table stacked with delicious varieties of delicious brunch fare. The beautiful view of the Long Beach skyline and the opportunity to relive some of your favorite Titanic moments makes any passenger feel like they are king of the world.
The Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach, (562) 435-5311, www.queenmary.com. Rates vary, staterooms $119-$229 per night; royalty suites $360-$660 per night. 307 staterooms, 8 suites. Parking $15 per day.
Where to Eat: For semi-formal dining, Sir Winston’s is a consistent palate-pleaser. Sunday Brunch at The Grand Salon is a must, or for affordable good American food, the Promenade Café offers quality dining with amazing views.
What else to check out: The Scorpion, a former Soviet submarine is docked right next to the Queen Mary, and the world’s largest clear-span dome (previously used to house Howard Hughes’ “Spruce Goose” seaplane) sits on the opposite end. If the onboard shopping isn’t enough to satisfy the consumer in you, check out the Queen Mary Seawalk across the way.