The RMS Queen Mary

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The remarkable ship from the brilliant period of cruising has an exceptional history and a notoriety for being one of the world’s most spooky spots.
Launched in 1934, the RMS Queen Mary was the jewel of the Cunard-White Star Cruise Line, dedicated to and christened by Her Majesty Queen Mary herself. The largest cruise ship of its time at 1,019 feet long, it was considered the fastest and most powerful, as well as the most beautiful. Adorned with the finest classical décor of the era, featuring ornate Art Deco interior, it is still considered to be one of the most elegant passenger ships ever built.
When World War II broke out, the Queen Mary was recruited because of its power and speed to transport Allied troops to war zones. It was fitted as a troopship in 1940, complete with armament and six-inch guns, and completely painted in dull flat gray to camouflage it from U-boats, earning it the wartime name of the “Gray Ghost.” From 1940 through 1945, the ship transported about 800,000 troops, sailed more than a half-million nautical miles, and made such a difference in helping the Allies win the war that Hitler himself put a $250,000 bounty on it.
When the war was over, the armament, guns, and other military equipment were removed and the Queen Mary was repainted and restored to its original grand state of luxury. It quickly returned to active duty as one of the most extravagant cruises, but now had also earned a heroic wartime reputation. During its time as one of the most famous cruise ships in history, the Queen Mary attracted celebrities and the elite in show business, politics, and business, including Winston Churchill, Mae West, Laurel and Hardy, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Tony Curtis, Clark Gable, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Walt Disney, Elizabeth Taylor, the Kennedys, and Bob Hope, to name a few.
As transatlantic cruise traffic plummeted and air travel became more common, the financial decision was made to sell the Queen Mary, and the ship was retired in 1967, making its final voyage from Southampton to rest in Long Beach Harbor in California. In order for it to accommodate the expansive plans as a Long Beach tourist attraction, significant restructuring, refurbishing, and renovating was performed, including the complete gutting of lower sections of the ship below “R” deck and the removal of the boilers, forward engine room, and stabilizers. As a hotel and museum, the ship allowed thousands of guests each year to relive history and experience first-hand what the majestic cruise life was like in an era gone by.