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Friday 15 January 2016

The Queen Mary

During our visit to Los Angeles over the Christmas Break we spent a day in Long Beach where we visited the Queen Mary. Our main reason for visiting was the Winter wonderland Queen Mary Chill event (which I shared here) but as both Kim and I have always wanted to tour the Queen Mary we were pretty pleased to discover that our tickets to the event gave us access to the ship as well.

We started our time on the Queen Mary with lunch in the Promenade Cafe, the ship's family friendly restaurant. From our window table we were afforded views over Long Beach. The girls were pretty excited to spot a blimp flying around outside. The restaurant felt much like any other restaurant on dry land so after a little while the girls forgot that we were indeed on a ship - until Lola blurted out "Wait a minute... are we still on the Titanic?" Ha! I hope not!

While waiting for our table to be ready we checked out the model ships on display in the Model Gallery next to the cafe. We saw models of the Queen Mary, Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth 2 and the Titanic among others. The girls enjoyed spotting the little people aboard the ships. Look at that dapper little man below.

After lunch we headed out onto the deck for a look around. The girls found all sorts of things to play with from little "steering wheels" to those tourist telescopes that require a quarter to work. The girls never get money to look through them but they always want to pretend anyway. Plus they make fun photo props!

The girls had all sorts of questions about the ship. Why does it have a mast for sails if it ran on coal? I've always wondered that myself. Why are there so many little boats hanging on the side. Those would be the life boats that the Titanic famously didn't have enough of. What happens if the ship sinks? I guess we'll hear the signals posted on that big sign - and jump into one of those life boats! What does this thing do? Hmm, I have no idea. Press it and let's find out!

The girls were pretty excited to find a hopstotch style game marked out on one section of the upper deck and hopped backwards and forwards for quite some time. 

Being Winter, the sun started to set quite early and we found ourselves on the deck watching the sky turn orange over the nearby loading docks. The silhouetted cranes in front of the sunset reminded us all of Oakland.

The girls played a little more outside on the deck before heading back inside once it started to get a little cool. 

Oh, and as the sun set, thousands of twinkly little lights turned on all over the ship's smoke stacks. So pretty.

Back inside we checked out a communications room and a display of old radios. I want that horse radio! We also saw a Lego model of the ship and the girls made their own Lego creations at tables set up nearby. Lola and Mathilde found a tiny room (I'm guessing an old phone booth) that they decided they wanted to play in for what seemed like forever.

We made one last stop at the Midship Marketplace for coffee and to check out the Christmas trees on display before heading back to the Queen Mary Chill event back on dry land.

By now it was quite dark and the twinkly lights on the ship's smoke stacks glowed beautifully in the black sky. The (almost?) full moon looked pretty spectacular too as it shone over the ship.

Now, you've probably noticed that I haven't shared many pictures from inside the ship. Because the ship is now a hotel we weren't able to visit any of the guest rooms. There is a guided tour available in which visitors can see more (the engine room, for example) however we didn't take part in this as it was already a pretty long day and the girls were keen to get back to the fairground attractions at Queen Mary Chill.

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