Taking her maiden voyage in 1936, today The Queen Mary serves as one of the most popular attractions in Southern California, as well as one of the most popular meeting venues in Long Beach. Considered the grandest ship ever built at the time, The Queen Mary attracted high society and celebrities such as Fred Astaire and Bob Hope until the beginning of World War II, at which point the ship was outfitted as a troopship. Passenger service resumed after the war but soon ended due to the rising popularity of air travel. Today, The Queen Mary is docked in Long Beach and open for daily tours and exhibits.
With 12 decks and room for 1,957 passengers, The Queen Mary is one of Long Beach's most unique event venues, offering the space and service for truly first-class meetings. The ship has 85,000 square feet of function space spread across 14 Art Deco-style rooms. Large groups can enjoy plenty of space and elegant decor in the 9,000-square-foot Grand Salon, formerly the first-class dining room, or the three-level, 45,000-square-foot Exhibit Hall. More intimate gatherings find a home in venues such as the Regent Room, Victoria Room or Verandah Room, which was once a nightclub for the ship's most elite passengers. All Queen Mary venues feature Wi-Fi and optional audio-visual support services.
With 314 staterooms, The Queen Mary is a one-stop shop for Long Beach conventions and conferences. Recently renovated, its staterooms, including nine full suites, feature classic Art Deco designs, original artwork and portholes that re-create the experience of transatlantic travel. Guests do not have to leave behind modern comforts, however, as rooms are equipped with iPod clock radios, flat-screen televisions and high-speed wired Internet and Wi-Fi service. Business guests can also take advantage of a business center during their stay.
The Queen Mary is home to an expansive array of attractions that are available to liven up any meeting agenda. Daytime and evening tours explore topics such as the ship's history, its role in World War II and even paranormal activity purported to take place in the ship's haunted corners. Other attractions include an exhibit on The Queen Mary's heritage, a dinner theater show, several unique shops, a spa and several restaurants.
Guests can attend events at The Queen Mary without having to stay aboard, and vice versa, thanks to the hotels, restaurants and attractions in the area. The Residence Inn Long Beach Downtown is just five minutes away, as is the Hotel Maya DoubleTree by Hilton, an upscale resort hotel that blends Latin American and Southern California styles and features nearly 20,000 square feet of meeting space. Here, guests can also enjoy harborfront dining at Fuego Restaurant, run by award-winning executive chef Jesse Perez. Nearby, the landmark Reef Restaurant also offers six event venues paired with great views of the water and The Queen Mary. Finally, the Catalina Express runs private group charters for cruises or trips to nearby Catalina Island that depart from The Queen Mary port.