She’s “Old & Creepy”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThat’s pretty much my take on the RMS Queen Mary, the flag-ship ocean liner that sailed the Atlantic Ocean from 1936 to 1967. The retired luxury liner, permanently anchored at the Long Beach port, is now a hotel, event venue, and tourist attraction.

Last week, I was in LA to deliver a corporate speech. I was there just one night, and flew in and out of the Long Beach Airport, so opted to stay the night at the Queen Mary. I had visions of a pampered night on this legendary ship. Unfortunately, my expectations were far from the reality of my uncomfortable night.

Shabby (Not) Chic

After checking in, I went to explore the ship, hoping to find the charming amenities that had lured the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Winston Churchill. But mostly I found this Great Lady was simply run down—cracked windows, torn carpets full of cigarette burns, frayed upholstery.

The ship was a cavernous relic that resembled a high school auditorium. Yet despite the enormous scale of the ship, the rooms were incredibly claustrophobic with bad lighting and low ceilings. I had work to do that night and opted to relocate myself to one of the on-board bars just to escape the dreariness.


One thing I did find on the ship was the constant reminder that the ship was haunted. I didn’t realize this until I happened upon all the plaques pointing out ghost sightings as I passed through the long, deserted hallways. That’s when I discovered the Queen Mary is billed as “one of the top 10 most haunted places in America?” What?!

Apparently, at least 49 crew and passengers are known to have died during the Queen Mary’s service as a luxury liner. It’s these ghosts of murdered passengers, workers killed during on-board accidents and collisions with other ships, plus the sounds of absent children playing that are thought to permeate the premises.

Dashed Expectations

If I had known about the fabled ghosts, the ghoulish surroundings, and the frightening food, I would not have chosen this cruise ship in hopes of a restful night sleep before my speech the next day…

The good news is that I survived it all (which is more than I can say for those 49 others). Live and learn.

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 9th, 2015 and is filed under On the Road.

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