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RMS Queen Mary

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.  

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Passengers and crew

In her day, the QM could carry 1,957 passengers and 1,100 crew members.

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On board

You enter the ship on the Promenade deck, giving a fantastic view down the length of the ship.

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Promenade

Most of the tours start up here, and down that way is the bar.

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Art Deco

Built in the 1930s, the Queen Mary exudes all the luxury and modernism that the contemporary Art Deco style promised.

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Gorgeous

Like something out of Bioshock, perhaps. 

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Churchill

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.

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Library

Once the ship's library, now a gift shop. During WWII this, and most other areas on the ship, were converted to living spaces. 

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Queen of Lego

Nearly 26 feet (8 meters) long, and consisting of 250,000 individual bricks, the Lego QM apparently took over 600 hours to build.

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Models

Instead of Legos, mahogany. The port-side deck has a collection of elaborate ship models.

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Bar

The beautiful Art Deco continues to the bar.

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King of the world

No re-enacting Titanic at the moment, due to ongoing restoration work.

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Lobby

Downstairs, on A deck, is the check-in desk for the Queen Mary's hotel.

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Into the distance

As long as this looks, I'm in the lobby area of the hotel about one-third of the way down the ship.

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Hotel room

There are bigger staterooms available, but during my visit this was the only unoccupied room.

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Portholes

One of over 2,000 portholes. 

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Pacific

The Queen Mary is protected from the ocean, to an extent, by a stone breakwater. 

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Long Beach

Perhaps not as majestic as the North Atlantic, but certainly warmer. 

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Retro

The room's bathroom, with refurbished original fixtures.

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Deco elevators

Original elevators. Well, the outside anyway. The mechanicals have been updated. 

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Entranceway

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...

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Grand Salon

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

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Map

Yes, the little boat would move as the ship crossed the Atlantic.   

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Pool

The allegedly haunted first class pool. 

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A grand staircase

Though larger than the Titanic, the QM doesn't have the Grand Staircase. However, these gorgeous glass reliefs show the evolution of transport. Commodore Everette Hoard waits to show us the rest of the ship.

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Sun deck

Appropriately named. 

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Dome

The dome in the background once held the Spruce Goose. Now it's an event venue and cruise terminal.

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Sports deck

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!

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Captain's dayroom

Inside the Captain's dayroom! Unless urgently required elsewhere, the captain would entertain the crème de la crème of the QM's passengers here.

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Captain's desk

I meant to ask if the blue book on the left, subtitled "Small Boat Handling," was meant as a subtle joke.

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Captain's bedroom

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.

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Captain's bathroom

This sure looks familiar. 

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Staff captain's bedroom

The second in command got his own sizable suite. 

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Slightly less grand staircase

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.

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Engine room

My favorite part of touring old ships like this is the wonderful steampunk nature of the engine rooms. 

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Turbines

In total, the QM had 160,000hp and on average burned a gallon of fuel for every 13 feet she moved (1m/l).

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Full ahead

One of the steam turbines that helped move the ship, capable of around 11,000hp.   

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Dials galore

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). 

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Full astern

By turning these valves, engineers could route steam to different turbines to drive the ship.

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Gears

Huge reduction gears, one of the steps to get power from the engines to the propellers. 

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Prop shaft

From the reduction gears in the engine room, through this passageway and eventually to the propellers. 

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Hull

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.

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Obstructed view

Backup ship's wheel and electrical generators. 

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Steering

Massive hydraulic steering rams to move the QM's 140-ton rudder.

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Big switches

Serious switches for some serious electrical distribution. 

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Ghost prop

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.

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Berthmates

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. 

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Crew

During her service, the B-427 had 78 crew.  

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Diesel-electric

She was powered by three 2,000 hp diesel engines and for running underwater, three electric motors that generated 5,400 hp.

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Periscope

Beware dangerous dinghies.

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Torpedo room

The B-427 had six forward torpedo tubes and 4 aft. Special cameo here by my dad! 

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Tubes

If you're interested in seeing more photos from a Foxtrot-class sub, I toured the B-39 at the San Diego Maritime Museum.  

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Sunset

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

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Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
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