The Queen Mary, the grandest ocean liner ever built, has played many roles in her illustrious career. During the 1930s, she was hostess to the world's rich and famous; Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, David Niven, Mary Pickford, just to name a few. During her heyday, many considered her the only civilized way to travel. With the outbreak of World War II, the Queen Mary was transformed into a troopship overnight. By the end of the war, The Grey Ghost, as she was fondly called, had carried more than 800,000 troops, traveled more than 600,000 miles and played a significant role in virtually every major Allied campaign. In February 1946 she began her Bride and Baby Voyages and transported more than 22,000 war brides and their children to the United States and Canada. She even set a standing record for the most passengers carried in one crossing - more than 16,000 troops and crew!
People sensitive to spirits may be creeped out - - perhaps best not to take young kids because of this.
Hallways are narrow and can cause claustrophobia.Exploring is the best part My family has stayed on this ship every year for the past 3 years during President's Day weekend (Sat-Mon) to attend the Scottish Festival (my girls dance in a competition ages 6-9 now, but since they were 3 and 6). Day Trip: If you are visiting for only one day there is a cost associated with parking and touring the ship. Guided tours are extra. Younger kids really won't be interested in much on the ship so I think 6 years and up is appropriate and the older the better. My 6 and 9 year old love to explore the ship and my 9 year old is especially fascinated wanting to read and learn all about the history. Keep in mind there is a LOT of walking involved. The ship is somewhat stroller friendly. There are elevators, but there are also many areas with only stairs and narrow walkways. It is an old ship afterall. If you Stay Overnight: HOTEL: Rooms: this is an old cruise ship and the rooms are not standard size hotel rooms. They are cruise ship size with variations. I have always only stayed in the deluxe room with a king size bed. Both my girls and I can sleep in it. If a 4th person comes (my husband and sister have switched off) we bring in a sleeping/camping pad and sleeping bag for floor. This is an old ship and there are some new amenities such as beds and bedding, flat screen TVs, etc., but they also kept some original pieces in the rooms and bathrooms, which makes for a fun stay. There is cable TV with Disney, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network.This may have been a luxury cruise liner back in the day, but now it is somewhat run down, which I actually love! It's quirky and unique. The art deco style and woodworking is one-of-a-kind. The cost is not cheap and it is a tourist attraction. I equate it to the Winchester House. Lots of random and endless hallways and corridors to explore really make it so much fun in my mind. I feel like a kid on that ship. If you are going to spend the money you might as well pay extra and get an outside room with a porthole. Dockside is not as nice a view as looking at downtown Long Beach. The inside rooms have no windows and are VERY small. Food: Restaurants are okay, nothing special. Make sure to check the hours since some of the eateries are not open all day. Promenade Café: Decent food for all palates, most family friendly, children’s menu and nice view of Downtown Long Beach. FUN STUFF: Explore, explore, explore History Ship history WWII history Next door is a cold war era Russian submarine called the Scorpion that can be toured for a fee. TIPS: unless you are going for a specific event, book during a non-event. We specifically stay there for the Scottish games and so do ALL the people involved, which means there are bagpipes and drums playing everywhere so you will hear them a lot! I expect this, but I have seen unsuspecting people spend the night not realizing this event is happening and the hotel staff does not warn the customers when booking, which means they are not happy campers at all. CONS: Not the best service (this is a city run hotel) Expensive everything Check in very slow on event day, rooms not ready as guranteed at four pm Wi-Fi is not free No coffee makers /microwaves/ refrigerators in room. You can pay $15 (per night) for a refrigerator. My kids are always hungry so I always bring a small cooler with snacks such as carrot sticks, yogurts, waters etc and just keep it filled with ice in my room. BE VERY CAREFUL with children walking this ship especially the decks. On our last visit I witnessed a small child, quickly, crawl under a railing! It scared me to death and luckily the parents acted fast and grabbed him right away. There are many places for small children to drop off. Don’t leave them for a second. PROS: Exploring, exploring, exploring! This is exciting for kids and hey I get excited about it, too! We love to explore the rooms and learn about the history of the ship. You have pretty much free reign of the ship if you are staying on it. Our favorites are the engine room, isolation ward, and the WWII history. Travel Tip #1: I have found deals on Expedia and Priceline before (although sometimes they are non-refundable so make sure to read the fine print) Travel Tip #2: It's worth mentioning again to double-check events being held on the ship during your stay if you are looking for a quiet time. GHOST ALERT: There is ghost talk on the ship everywhere, which is part of the allure for many people. My oldest LOVES to read the ghost folklore and sightings and my 6 year old sort of loves it too; HOWEVER, they were both freaked out this year in our room when going to sleep. No matter how much I told them ghosts are not real; KIDS BELIEVE! :) Keep that in mind.