Friday, January 17, 2014

1/15 Queen Mary, Long Beach, CA

I much prefer old ships to newer "hotel" ships and have taken two Atlantic crossings on the Queen Elizabeth 2.  I have always wanted to see the Queen Mary, so I took this opportunity to drive to Long Beach.  I probably should have rented a car, and I had planned to, but at the last minute I took the motorhome, so traffic was a bit of a problem.

There is lots of parking, but it is incredibly expensive parking--$40 per day for a motorhome.  I complained because the prices had not been posted on the web site, outside the parking lot, or even inside the parking lot, but that is another story.  Here is the poor old Queen, moored forever:

The story goes that the ship was originally supposed to be named "Victoria" with the "ia" ending of all the other Cunard ships, but when they told King George V that it was to be named after Britain's most famous queen, he assumed they meant his wife, Queen Mary.

Not only did they have this cutaway of the Queen Mary, but they also had one of a couple of other ships, including the France, and most interestingly, the S.S. United States, the fastest ocean liner ever built, which is languishing in Newport News.

I took a self-guided audio tour, and the ship was very un-busy.  Actually, it got a little spooky as I got thoroughly lost in the corridors and areas of the engine room.  No one else there at all.  Got some good photos, in any case.  Did not see any ghosts, however.

This is the original ship's anchor.

What is interesting is that I have almost identical photos to the two below taken on the QE2!  One clever difference I did notice was two or three pass-throughs, where you could cut from one side of the ship to another without having to go inside.  On QE2, you have to go inside and then go back outside, or walk all around the back of the ship.  You were never allowed to walk through on the front outdoor passageway at sea because of winds, so joggers were constantly cutting through the ship in order to make a lap.
This is the promenade deck, one deck below the lifeboat deck shown above.  In modern ships, this area would be filled with suites.  In the older Cunard ships, this was an indoor area where you could exercise or enjoy the view of the sea without being outdoors.  In the Queen Mary, this area is very rough with steel showing and teak decks.

This is the stern area.  There is one deck below this that is open, but I missed taking a picture.

 This is the chest of stored flags on the bridge.  It would be interesting to see them all displayed.

The captain's bridge.  Notice the four controllers for the four engines.  Also, notice the double steering wheels. 

This ship has a very interesting bow area.  There are two separate areas divided by literally a "bridge" between them.  Not sure what the purpose is. 

Pictures of the three stacks.  I believe one of them was a fake, added to the design for balance and to impress.

A gun added during WWII when she was known as the "Grey Ghost" for her grey-painted hull.  All of the fast ships, and this one was a winner in her time of the famous Blue Ribband, were used as personnel carriers in WWII because they could outrun submarines.

A view from the bridge looking backward.
Now, here are some photos of the boat deck and the promenade deck on Queen Elizabeth 2, or QE2.  Note the similarity.  The biggest difference is that the QE2 boat decks are much more narrow, but they look very similar. 

Notice how they steel girders are covered on the QE2 and the deck is carpeted, as opposed to having the teak floors.  This deck looked very similar on both sides, going almost the full length of the ship.  It was a very popular place because of the comfortable chairs and small tables, and of course, the view of the ocean.

In more modern ships, this area and part of the boat deck would have cabins with balconies.  In these older ships, the cabins were on the lower decks, with the public areas on top and in the middle.  In addition, these two decks in older ships would have the dining rooms and things like the bars and libraries in the middle, so as not to obstruct the views. 

Best place on the ship to read or just look out the window.

This is a special piano.  It was removed from Queen Mary before it was sold as a hotel and placed on QE2 in the Chart Room bar.  I believe it was removed when QE2 was sold and sent to Dubai where it now has been abandoned.  It was sold with all the furnishings and artwork, which included some very famous historical pieces.  What a shame! 

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