The Queen Mary: Then and Now
When charting the flight plans for our tour series, we knew we couldn’t pass up Long Beach’s iconic, historic vessels. The history of the Queen Mary, the pièce de résistance of our Long Live the Queen (Mary) tour, dates back 90 years and has wowed crowds of celebrities, royalty, and families just like ours since then.
Roughly two decades after the Titanic’s failed journey, the Cunard Line commissioned ships of their own, including the Queen Mary. Construction, interrupted by the Great Depression, ultimately finished in 1935.
Would you believe the Queen Mary is even LARGER than the Titanic? It’s true! The Queen Mary is faster, longer, and yes, has more lifeboats, than the legendary, infamous ship.
On May 27, 1936, the Queen Mary set sail on her maiden voyage. Her legacy would be defined by glamorous and dignified passengers including Robert and Jackie Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, Clark Gable and more.
With the arrival of WWII, the Queen Mary’s luxury cruiseliner experience was disrupted by a new mission. Thousands of Allied troops, including the entire First Armored Infantry Division, and prisoners of war were transported between the United States, Europe, and Australia. Although just over 2,000 people could receive passage aboard the Queen Mary in her cruiseliner days, nearly 16,000 men were hauled at one time during WWII.
After the war, the Queen Mary returned to her original form for passengers until 1967, when she departed to Long Beach for the final time.
Decades since her first voyage, the Queen Mary now rests permanently in Long Beach harbor and hosts some of the city’s largest events year-round. Tours and exhibits bring in thousands of visitors daily. From private events, nights in the staterooms, and more, the Queen Mary’s glory hasn’t ended yet. There’s something for everyone aboard this luxury liner, including the Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza and the immersive, three-month-long Dark Harbor haunted experience. Time it just right and you may even see these holiday festivities from the show-stopping views of our helicopters!