Museum, hotel, former cruise ship: behold the RMS Queen Mary.
Check out the story behind this tour, Legend of the seas: a look inside the massive RMS Queen Mary.
In her day, the QM could carry 1,957 passengers and 1,100 crew members.
You enter the ship on the Promenade deck, giving a fantastic view down the length of the ship.
Most of the tours start up here, and down that way is the bar.
Built in the 1930s, the Queen Mary exudes all the luxury and modernism that the contemporary Art Deco style promised.
What used to be the first class drawing room was used by Winston Churchill when he took the Queen Mary to cross the Atlantic. The black and white photo in the middle is him sitting in this very spot.
Once the ship's library, now a gift shop. During WWII this, and most other areas on the ship, were converted to living spaces.
Nearly 26 feet (8 meters) long, and consisting of 250,000 individual bricks, the Lego QM apparently took over 600 hours to build.
Instead of Legos, mahogany. The port-side deck has a collection of elaborate ship models.
The beautiful Art Deco continues to the bar.
No re-enacting Titanic at the moment, due to ongoing restoration work.
Downstairs, on A deck, is the check-in desk for the Queen Mary's hotel.
As long as this looks, I'm in the lobby area of the hotel about one-third of the way down the ship.
There are bigger staterooms available, but during my visit this was the only unoccupied room.
One of over 2,000 portholes.
The Queen Mary is protected from the ocean, to an extent, by a stone breakwater.
Perhaps not as majestic as the North Atlantic, but certainly warmer.
The room's bathroom, with refurbished original fixtures.
Original elevators. Well, the outside anyway. The mechanicals have been updated.
Down that way are the elevators you just saw. Behind me is one of the main ballrooms. However, there was a big event happening when I was there, so I couldn't photograph inside. However...
The Queen Mary let me use two of their marketing photos. This was the First class dining room.
You can rent this room, or you can partake of a highly civilized Sunday Champagne Brunch.
Yes, the little boat would move as the ship crossed the Atlantic.
The allegedly haunted first class pool.
The dome in the background once held the Spruce Goose. Now it's an event venue and cruise terminal.
The Sports deck is the very top of the ship, here you can find the Officer's Quarters. Though you can see these areas through the glass on a normal tour, you can't go inside. We got special access though!
Inside the Captain's dayroom! Unless urgently required elsewhere, the captain would entertain the crème de la crème of the QM's passengers here.
I meant to ask if the blue book on the left, subtitled "Small Boat Handling," was meant as a subtle joke.
Paneled in mahogany and maple, it's quite a lovely cabin. Check out this 360 video of the bedroom, the Dayroom and several spaces around the ship.
This sure looks familiar.
The second in command got his own sizable suite.
Once you're done with the main section of the ship, you actually have to go to the Promenade or R deck, leave the ship, go down a walkway and re-enter the stern to see the engine room.
This walkway is visible in the lower right of the very first slide.
My favorite part of touring old ships like this is the wonderful steampunk nature of the engine rooms.
In total, the QM had 160,000hp and on average burned a gallon of fuel for every 13 feet she moved (1m/l).
One of the steam turbines that helped move the ship, capable of around 11,000hp.
Am I the only one who wants to decorate their house with dials like this? With its 27 boilers, the QM had a top speed of 33 knots, but cruised at 28.5 (32.8mph/52.8kph).
By turning these valves, engineers could route steam to different turbines to drive the ship.
Huge reduction gears, one of the steps to get power from the engines to the propellers.
From the reduction gears in the engine room, through this passageway and eventually to the propellers.
This is looking straight down from the catwalk. There is something unsettling looking at rust on a ship's hull. At its thickest, the hull plates are 1.25 inches (3.2 centimeters) thick.
Backup ship's wheel and electrical generators.
Massive hydraulic steering rams to move the QM's 140-ton rudder.
Serious switches for some serious electrical distribution.
This is one of the creepiest things I've ever seen. I wish photos did it more justice. This is the QM's only remaining propeller, and you're able to view it while it's still attached and in the water. I'm not sure why it creeped me out so much.
One of the others is in the parking lot nearby. They were 18-feet in diameter.
The beautiful QM shares her berth with the Foxtrot-class Soviet/Russian submarine B-427. She's currently closed to the public, but I toured her several years ago and I have a handful of pictures from then.
During her service, the B-427 had 78 crew.
She was powered by three 2,000 hp diesel engines and for running underwater, three electric motors that generated 5,400 hp.
Beware dangerous dinghies.
The B-427 had six forward torpedo tubes and 4 aft. Special cameo here by my dad!
If you're interested in seeing more photos from a Foxtrot-class sub, I toured the B-39 at the San Diego Maritime Museum.
So ends my day at the Queen Mary. There's even more to see than what I was able to show you here. Check out their website for info about times, tours and rooms.
For the full the story behind this tour, check out Legend of the seas: a look inside the massive RMS Queen Mary.