Get onboard the Queen Mary, at no cost, for free fireworks and a salute from the Queen Elizabeth.
The Queen Mary will meet the namesake of her original sister shipAnd you're invited for free
The Queen Mary is one of the few success stories for turning an ocean liner into a museum anywhere in the world. The famous ship arrived in Long Beach after being retired by Cunard in 1967. She is also open for dining, entertainment and as a hotel. The ship is an excellent repository of maritime history with several authentic pieces from her glory days as both a troop carrier during World War II and her subsequent 20 years of service as an ocean liner. You can also tour her engine room, the crew areas and dine in her famous restaurants.
Board the Queen Mary for No Charge
Tickets just to enter the ship are regularly $25 per adult, but on March 12 anyone can come aboard for no charge starting at 4:00 pm, courtesy of Cunard Line, for a special event featuring fireworks, dancing to a live DJ, the Goodyear Blimp and a sail in and salute by the current Cunard ocean liner Queen Elizabeth. The newest Cunard ship will sail into Long Beach harbor for the very first time at about 6:30 pm.
The best place for viewing the two ships and all of the festivities will be the rear decks of the Queen Mary. Entrance to the ship is free until 9:00. Parking is $15 per vehicle.
The current Queen Elizabeth was inaugurated just two and a half years ago with Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, serving as Godmother and christening the ship in Southampton, U.K. as the third ship in the Cunard line to bear the name "Queen Elizabeth."
The Queen Mary, anchored permanently in Long Beach, is the original Queen Mary built in 1937 as a sister ship to the original Queen Elizabeth, but neither ship was able to start regular passenger service until 1947, after World War 2. They both served as troop carriers throughout the war. The Queen Mary is no longer owned by Cunard but rather belongs to the city of Long Beach. Cunard Line now also operates the much larger (christened in 2004) Queen Mary 2 on world-wide voyages.
Cunard retired the original Queen Elizabeth in 1968 and replaced both the Queen Mary (1) and Queen Elizabeth (1) with the Queen Elizabeth 2, which is now retired in Dubai also with plans to become a hotel. The ships was sold to an investor in Dubai, for $100-million, who hopes to make it into a hotel, but getting the project started has been challenging.
The original Queen Mary, now permanently moored in Long Beach harbor, last saw the her identical sister ship, the original Queen Elizabeth, when they passed during her during her final Transatlantic Crossing in passenger service of Cunard on the morning of September 25, 1967.
The ship that will visit her on March 12 is actually the third ship to bear the name Queen Elizabeth.
Royal Rendezvous Festivities
The Queen Elizabeth will have boarded passengers earlier in the day at the San Pedro Docks for Los Angeles, where she sets sail at 5:00 pm. She will then proceed to sail into the Long Beach harbor at about 6:30 pm. Joining these two maritime icons from high above will be the famed Goodyear blimp, the Spirit of America. This two ships will share traditional whistle salutes to signal the start of a fireworks display at 6:30 pm before the Queen Elizabeth sails away again on a journey through the Panama Canal.