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Fodor's Southern California 2014
Queen Mary Review
The reason to see this impressive example of 20th-century cruise ship opulence is because it's the last of its kind. And there's a saying among staff members that the more you get to know the Queen Mary, the more you realize she has an endearing personality to match her wealth of history.
The beautifully preserved art deco-style ocean liner was launched in 1936 and made 1,001 transatlantic crossings before finally berthing in Long Beach in 1967. It has gone through many periods of renovations since, and in 2011, Evolution Hospitality Group took over management adding the popular Princess Diana exhibit and a daily British-style high tea.
On board, you can take one of a dozen tours, such as the informative Behind the Scenes walk or the downright spooky Haunted Encounters tour. (Spirits have reportedly been spotted in the pool and engine room.) You could stay for dinner at one of the ship's restaurants, listen to live jazz in the original first-class lounge, or even spend the night in one of the wood-paneled cabins. The ship's neighbor, a geodesic dome originally built to house Howard Hughes's Spruce Goose aircraft, now serves as a terminal for Carnival Cruise Lines, making the Queen Mary the perfect pit stop before or after a cruise. And anchored next to the Queen is the Scorpion, a Russian submarine you can tour for a look at Cold War history.
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