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A Night onboard Queen Mary

Prior to embarking on a recent cruise from Los Angeles my wife and I chose to spend the previous night on board Queen Mary at Long Beach…

 

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Once an iconic world-class ocean liner, the Queen Mary now operates as an Hotel, Conference Centre and  day-visit tourist attraction.

Our stay came as part of a cruise package and we had little say in the level of accommodation onboard. However, for those wishing to make their own private reservations, there are numerous booking sites available where one can make a reservation to suit one’s needs.

What we did find, however, is that as a hotel guest there is far more opportunity to explore the ship during the quieter times- particularly early morning.

We arrived a number of hours ahead of the official check-in time. Our check in was relatively easy at the ship’s Reception Desk…

…and we were allocated an available cabin immediately.

There are a number of grades of cabin available ranging from the basic inside…

…to the somewhat more Deluxe (?) Harbour view…

But perhaps the most striking feature in all grades of cabins is the generous scale of the ensuite bathrooms…

 

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One thing is for sure, there is plenty to see and, if not partaking of the accommodation package,  a good half day will be needed to cover most areas….

 

So where better a place to start on a bright day than on the upper deck, forward of the bridge. That’s it down there, seen from the port side…

 

…and here from the starboard side

While here is a view from the bow looking aft…

Whilst exploring up forward there is plenty of detail to see…

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During our stay the Bridge and Bridge Wings were roped off for maintenance(?). Fortunately I had taken images of these on a previous day visit back in 2009, the Bridge Wing...

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The Wheelhouse…

 

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Moving to the Stern, the easiest route is to descend to the Promenade Deck forward shop area…

…then follow the enclosed Promenade Deck aft…

…until emerging onto the open space at the ship’s stern…

 

Continuing aft under the ‘Docking Bridge’ is the Main Deck aft open area, seen here once more looking forward…

Probably worth putting into perspective at this juncture, the view down over the Promenade and main Decks from the Sun Deck…

 

It may be advisable to note that, prior to leaving the aft end of the Main Deck,  there is a ‘below deck’ facility well worth a visit.  using the access doors and stairs below the ‘Docking Bridge’…

(That’s them central in the above photograph)

…the stairway leads down to…

…the ship’s old medical ‘Isolation Wards’…

 

Definitely worth a visit…

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Continuing our tour of the upper decks we climb, via the Promenade Deck,  two decks to the Sun Deck …

Aft on the Sun Deck is a feature added in more recent times, The Wedding Gazebo…

All part and parcel of the hotel’s features, this rather unique setting supplements the onboard church which will come later in our tour.

…while ahead is the famous Veranda Restaurant exterior…

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Today the Verandah Restaurant features as part of the hotel operation as a dining venue for weddings and other group occasions. While on our tour we were able to see inside…

 

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Compare the modern function layout with what the Veranda looked like in its heyday…

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Continuing around the Starboard side in a forward direction is the entrance to what is now the Queen Mary’s Fine Dining Restaurant, Sir Winston’s…

…while further forward are the ship’s lifeboat stations Starboard side looking forward …

…and Port side looking aft…

Climbing above the Sun Deck one can get a good view into the lifeboats…

…and also gain access to areas of the Sports Deck…

 

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That just about covers the upper decks that are available to visitors and a good starting point for a tour of Queen Mary’s internal areas would be the Promenade Deck

 

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Today only the port side enclosed Promenade Deck is available to the visitor. Originally on both sides of the ship, and designated ‘Cabin-Class sheltered Promenade, the starboard side now mainly  facilitates  the ‘Promenade Cafe’…

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…and a function area, the King’s View Room…

 

The Promenade Deck does however also offer access to a number of the ship’s more glamorous venues including the Britannia Salon…

 

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The Queens Salon…

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…and seen here in use as a breakfast venue for one of the onboard conference meetings…

Also accessible from the Promenade Deck is the Royal Salon, now also part of the conference facilities onboard, but still displaying the glamorous original decor…

…Wooden Walls…

…and Fireplace…

Finally aft on the port Promenade Deck the old ‘Tourist Class Smoking Room’ has now been converted into the ‘Wedding Chapel’…

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At the very forward end of the Promenade Deck is what one must presume as being the pre-cursor of the now iconic ‘Commodore Club’, the Observation Bar…

 

 

…complete with explanatory notice…

…and an image of how it looked in its hey day…

 

Dotted around the remainder of the ship are a number of areas of historic interest including the Fire Station…

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…complete with ‘alarm indicator panel’…

The Radio Room…

The Gymnasium…

The Captain’s Cabin…

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The Travel Bureau...

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…and a model gallery adjacent to the Shipyard Display…

The next area of our visit was probably the most intriguing as much out of personal interest as the fact that it is probably the best ‘preserved’ area onboard.

 

Access to Queen Mary’s Engine Room is gained via the ‘Rotating Exhibit Space’ which also contains the 4D Theatre…

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…well worth a visit with some great archive footage…

The Engine Room is fascinating…

…and the visitor has ample opportunity to wander…

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…various machinery all well explained …

Visit Control Rooms…

The Steering Position…

…see the actual Steering Gear…

and other ancillary stations…

There is also access from the Engine Room to another feature, an ‘outside’ view of the propellers…

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And finally I hear readers ask, “what is there of an evening on board the Queen Mary?

Well for a start there is little in the local area and even if there had been we would have followed our original plan.

My wife and I had chosen to stay onboard and make good use of the restaurant facilities and Sir Winston’s in particular…

And what is more, we were going to do it in traditional Cunard style…

Sir Winston’s sits directly above The Veranda and has its own ‘Piano Bar’ as an annexe…

Earlier in the day we had met a delightful American family who were also staying onboard that evening and we all agreed to meet in Sir Winston’s Piano Bar for pre dinner drinks…

Our reservation had been made through the website ‘OpenTable’ and we were delighted with both the layout…

…and the position of our table…

The Menu was both comprehensive and interesting…

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and we found both the quality of food and service well to our liking. We chose appetisers of Crab Timbale…

…and the Queenie Sea Scallops…

and entrees of Colorado Rack of Lamb…

…and Dover Sole Meuniere…

…all suitably washed down with a Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc…

The evening was capped with a return to the Piano Bar and an eventual stroll on deck…

Apart from breakfast in the Promenade cafe that basically concludes our experience staying overnight onboard Queen Mary.

There are many other areas of interest including an evening Ghost Tour that we did not cover. There is also an array of memorabilia dotted around the ship that remind visitors of how this ocean liner once operated…

…and amongst other items, the Duck Press…

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…and who sailed on her…

Overall we were very pleased that we made the decision to stay onboard Queen Mary the night prior to our cruise. It made for a rather unique and interesting experience though we certainly would not recommend more than one night.

We would also recommend that if a stay or just a visit to Queen Mary is on one’s ‘bucket list’ then the sooner it is ticked off the better. We say this because there has definitely been considerable deterioration in the overall external appearance of the ship since our previous visit in 2009.

Out of general interest any person considering a stay should note that in addition to whatever price has been quoted/paid on booking there is an additional compulsory resort fee of approximately 15-35 USD per room and night, in exceptional cases it can be more.

This should be paid directly at the hotel upon arrival/checkout and is similar to other hotel establishments such as those in Las Vegas.

 

If you have enjoyed this review of a night spent on Queen Mary and would like to be amongst the first to hear of new reviews including  a return to Cunard’s Queen Victoria and a Viking River Cruise along the Seine plus future port reviews that will include  Part 2 of a New Orleans review, one for Hawaii and another one to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), then why not join over 680  followers by clicking on the ‘Follow’ link on the front page.

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©2016 – 18 * Solent Richard’s Cruise Blog * All Rights Reserved

Duplication in part or whole without prior written consent is prohibited by international laws.

 

Disclosure to potential conflict of interest:

It is common throughout the travel industry for travel journalists and many cruise bloggers to be provided with complimentary cruises for the purpose of their reviews.

Solent Richard has no ‘conflict of interest’ as he is not an accredited journalist, he pays for his cruises, and is happy to confirm that all his reviews are his own given without fear or favour.

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