The iconic RMS Queen Mary ocean liner, with her storied history and classic fittings, will reopen for visitors beginning on Thursday, December 15, 2022. This will be the first time the historic ship has been available to guests since March 2020, and a lot has changed in her operation and management.
RMS Queen Mary to Reopen With Free Tours
The City of Long Beach is eager to reopen the RMS Queen Mary for visitors. While only select areas of the ship will be open, the city is offering free guided tours for a limited time to welcome guests.
“I am thrilled to welcome visitors back onboard the Queen Mary and share the beauty and history of this landmark with our community once again,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “I thank our City staff for their dedication throughout the critical repairs process to ensure the ship’s safety and preservation.”
The ship, docked in Long Beach alongside the Carnival Cruise Line terminal, was initially closed for pandemic precautions and lockdowns. Now, to celebrate her reopening, free guided tours are available on a first-come, first-served basis via online registration.
Each tour will be led by a historical docent and will last approximately one hour, with tours offered from 10 a.m. through 3 p.m. on most available days.
Select areas on the tours include the ship’s Promenade Deck and scenic views of the Long Beach downtown shoreline, including a walk through the Promenade Shops, Observation Bar, Queen Salon, and Royal Salon.
A brief video inside Heritage Hall will also be part of the tour, and will showcase the repair work done to the vessel during the more than two year closure.
“The Queen Mary has been an icon of our Long Beach shoreline for 55 years,” said First District Councilwoman Mary Zendejas. “We remain dedicated in our efforts to preserve the ship’s history and structural safety. I look forward to welcoming the community back on board!”
Tours are only available on select days and are expected to fill up quickly. Interested guests are urged to make reservations as soon as possible to guarantee their preferred day and tour time.
The ship, docked in Long Beach alongside the Carnival Cruise Line terminal, was initially closed for pandemic precautions and lockdowns. During her closure, however, it was discovered that her condition was more dire than previously believed, and critical repairs were necessary.
Among the repairs made were the removal of 20 deteriorated lifeboats that were exerting stress on the ship’s hull, improvements to the bulkheads to ensure internal structural stability, and installation of new automated bilge pump systems in the unlikely event of water intrusion.
“We have worked diligently to make critical repairs to help preserve the structural integrity of the ship and make it safer for our many visitors,” said Department of Public Works Director Eric Lopez.
Regular maintenance was also completed during the landmark’s closure, including painting, lighting upgrades, flooring refurbishment, and more to ensure the ship’s iconic appearance has been maintained.
Additional repairs are scheduled for 2023, including installing an emergency generator and new boilers and heat exchangers for cooking, cleaning, sanitizing, and other hospitality amenities that will eventually permit the ship to reopen as a hotel, complete with restaurants, bars, and retail.
“We look forward to soon reopening the historic Queen Mary Hotel and welcoming guests back to enjoy an overnight stay or experience scenic shoreline views, refreshments, and dining at one of our world-class restaurants,” said Evolution Hospitality General Manager John Taffin.
Evolution Hospitality, LLC., was chosen in June 2022 to reopen and operate the vessel for the next five years.
The Queen Mary is a high-interest tourist attraction for the city of Long Beach, generating more than 1,300 jobs and providing $3.3 million (USD) in tax revenue for the city annually when she is in full operation.
The ship has been a beloved part of the city since September 1967, when she was retired from active service with Cunard Line. During her ocean liner days, Queen Mary welcomed more than 2 million passengers and completed more than 1,000 transatlantic sailings.