On Christmas Day, I visited the SS Queen Mary in Long Beach. The Queen Mary is now a hotel and convention that is not going anywhere.
But in her heyday, she was the queen of the seas. Walt Disney, Charlton Heston, and Audrey Hepburn, were frequent passengers.
The stern section and the engine room became the Historic Engine Room mini-museum with a special Winston Churchill exhibit.
The Queen Mary was converted into a troopship during World War 2. No more luxury rooms – just trip bunk beds – and its paint scheme changed. Instead of the black, white, and red, it was battleship gray with zigzags and false bows. Instead of deck chairs for sunning, a 40mm Bofors AA gun.
Two years ago, I was able to go on a SOPAC cruise with Royal Caribbean. The MV Radiance of the Seas had something for whatever you want – buffet, movies, magic shows, tribute bands to 70s Aussie indie rock bands, and a casino. The ship loitered in five places: Milford Sound, Dunedin, Christchurch, Auckland, and the Bay of Islands.
The SS Queen Mary, however, had a different purpose; it was meant to take people from Europe to America and back in the fastest time possible. For the royalty and wealthy, they could travel in style. I think that just made the ship more interesting.
As I mentioned, the Queen Mary is now a hotel and convention center. They created a mini Winter Wonderland.