The City of Long Beach is pleased to announce it will officially welcome visitors back onboard the RMS Queen Mary, beginning Dec. 15, 2022, for the first time since March 2020. To celebrate the reopening of select elements of the ship, and to thank the community for their patience and support during the ship’s closure, the City will offer free guided tours to the public for a limited time.
“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.”
During the one-hour tour, visitors will be guided by a historical docent where they will experience select areas of the Queen Mary’s Promenade Deck and scenic views of the Downtown shoreline, including a walk through the Promenade Shops, Observation Bar, Queen Salon and Royal Salon, among other areas. Tour participants will learn about the ship’s history – including its haunted history – and will also watch a short video inside Heritage Hall featuring the critical repair work conducted to the ship throughout 2022. Signage will be displayed along the tour route showcasing various completed and ongoing restoration and preservation projects.
The limited guided tours are available for sign-up on a first-come, first-served basis through an online registration system and will take place on select days beginning Dec. 15. Tours will fill up quickly. In order to participate in a tour, people must make a reservation and will be required to present their tour confirmation email and a photo ID to board the ship. Additional information, including tour dates, times and signup links, is available at longbeach.gov/qmtours.
“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!”
Since regaining control of the Queen Mary for the first time in over 40 years in June 2021, the City, with the help of marine engineering experts and based on previous studies, identified the critical repairs, designed their specifications and layouts, established key project milestones, and identified proper funding for the project. For most of 2022, the City has worked dedicatedly to address the critical repairs and maintenance needed to secure the structural stability and safety of the ship and preserve its rich history. The conducted repairs include, most notably, the removal of 20 deteriorated lifeboats that were exerting stress on the side shell of the ship; improvements to the bulkheads to ensure internal structural stability; and design and installation of new automated bilge pump systems to discharge excess water in the unlikely event of water intrusion. All bilge pump platforms have been installed and the system will be completed in early 2023. The remainder of the critical repairs that are scheduled for early 2023 are the installation of an emergency generator to power critical components of the ship in the event of an emergency; and installation of new boilers and heat exchangers to allow for cooking, cleaning, sanitizing and other hospitality amenities. The boilers and heat exchangers are the last critical pieces that will allow for the reopening of the hotel, restaurants and bars on the ship.
As critical repairs were conducted to the exterior of the ship and its interior hull, many other preservation and restoration repairs started to be addressed as well, such as painting, lighting replacement and upgrades, and flooring and railing refurbishments, among other standard ship maintenance. While select areas of the ship are now open to the public with the limited-time tours, additional preservation, restoration and other critical repair work will continue to be tended to over the next several months.
“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.
“These preservation efforts showcase the significant progress we’ve made to ensure the Queen Mary remains a community staple and renowned international attraction for generations to come,” said Department of Economic Development Director Bo Martinez. “I look forward to the reopening of the hotel, shops and restaurants onboard and future opportunities to drive economic development and local tourism.”
As required repairs are finalized, Evolution Hospitality will reopen and manage the day-to-day operations of the Queen Mary’s hotel, food and beverage facilities, entertainment attractions and ship-related events. More information about these reopenings will be available at a later date.
“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.
The ship originally closed to the public in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and remained closed while the critical repairs were identified and conducted. While the ship remained closed to the general public, it continued to be available for filming and special events, which helps generate revenue for the City to support the ship operations.
To keep the public informed, the City created a Queen Mary Updates webpage, which includes the Queen Mary’s economic impacts on the City, a historical overview, the City’s stance on preserving the historic integrity and structural safety of the ship and the City’s short- and long-term goals in the preservation process.