The Queen Mary arrived in Long Beach, California in December 1967. She was put into dry dock for four years whilst being converted in to a hotel. But, for now, let me tell you a bit of her history. Cunard launched The Queen Mary in 1936, her maiden voyage was from Southampton to New York on the 27th May; approximately 250,000 people turned out to see her leave, lining the docks and banks of Southampton Water. In total she made 1001 crossings of the Atlantic Ocean.
During World War 11 The Queen Mary was requisitioned. She was berthed in New York for six months whilst being painted in battleship grey in readiness for war service. On the 2nd of March 1940 she left New York having been ‘called up’, destination Sydney, Australia. After initial conversion work was carried out in Sydney, The Queen Mary then started transporting troops to and from war zones, this went on for the next six years. One fact that remains to this day, is that 16,683 troops were carried on a single journey.
By April 1945 she was back in New York but it wasn’t until September 1946 that she was finally ‘demobilised’ and returned to Southampton. In July 1947 The Queen Mary was back on her regular North Atlantic crossing alongside RMS Queen Elizabeth.
Eventually air travel became fashionable and on the 24th of July 1967 The Queen Mary was put up for sale. The City of Long Beach was the successful bidder paying $3,450,000. Her final voyage from Southampton was on the 31st of October 1967. ‘The Last Great Cruise’ took passengers to Lisbon, Las Palmas, onto to Rio de Janeiro, around Cape Horn, finally arriving in California on the 9th of December.
I have only given you a very brief synopsis of this beautiful vessels history. To learn all there is to know you really need to do the tour. It is fascinating, so much so that I ran out of time. I could have easily spent many more hours wandering around gleaning an insight into this incredible ship.