Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Queen Mary hotel in Long Beach, CA: my family vacation review for you

Hello Gorgeous,

Whoa. What a whirlwind trip! So good!

So tired! So much traffic! My family just got home from 2 nights/3 day stay on the Queen Mary hotel in Long Beach California. Here is my experience and I hope it helps you when deciding on a family fun place to go.

Mancub and I were in 1 Deluxe King room and my parents were in another Deluxe King on the M deck.

That means there is 1 room in between us. Who ever those people were or are, spent all of their time in their room with their kids, yelling, slamming doors, playing the tv loud and in general being a nuisance.

It was so bad, that if that had been my first stay on the Queen Mary, it would also have been my last!

Alas,  I digress. Back to the experience. There is so much to do on the ship and it just may help that my son is a huge history buff and lover of all things Navy and ships.

We spent considerable time in the engine room. It has the authentic scent of the bottom of a ship! Note: for those of you who have mobility issues, bring your cane, or wear your brace and just know that there are a lot of steps going up and down and inclines.

There are several dining options: a quick grab and go coffee shop selling Starbucks. The Promenade Cafe which is kind of a fancy Denny's.

The Chelsea Chowder House which has the best New England Style clam chowder and is casual. I saw the gamut from "dressed to dine" and flip flops with cargo shorts. The restaurant is worth a meal just to see the art and architecture.

The fine dining is at Sir Winston's and it's delicious. The Observation Bar is a gorgeous example of the Art Deco style and serves a variety of hot and cold hors'd'oeuvres.

Then there is the The Tea Room. My Mom and I went after visiting the Princess Diana exhibit of dresses and memorabilia. The Diana exhibit was absolutely beautiful. Just so you know, there is NO photography inside the Diana exhibit. I understand why, but it's sad because there are  so many photo opportunities!

The only thing that detracted from the experience is that it opened late. There was a crowd of people waiting a few minutes before 10 a.m. when it was supposed to open and then a full queu began as about 2 dozen people were waiting to enter. Finally at 10:20 the gated entrace was opened and we were allowed into the gift shop area, but it wasn't until 10:35 that the actual Diana exhibit entrance was opened. The problem was short staff. Someone called off, someone got called in and got there was quickly as possible. I understand the problem, though there needs to be a better customer service oriented solution in place.

After enjoying the Diana exhibit we went to The Tea Room.

 It was beautiful and for the most part, the tea and scones with finger sandwiches were delicious.

 I tea  tasty though I like to try everything so I switched to a peach bellini. Delicious!

Here we ran into another "short staffed" problem. Seems there were 2 waiters working the very full room, while also managing to wait on a large private party.

So what does that mean? Our tea took 2 hours, with very long gaps in between courses, running out of tea and the bill never coming to the table so we got up to leave and asked the hostess for our bill and even then, it took several minutes for the waiter to get our bill for us to pay and he was just dripping with sweat.

 While Mom and I were at tea, my Dad and Mancub toured the boat from bow to stern. They spent an ample amount of time in the Radio Room which is staffed with 3 volunteers from a local Hamm radio club and are eager to share their knowlege of semiphore, morse code and history of ship communications.

 They went back to the engine room, and spent some quality time in the Propeller Box. That huge propeller is original!

Right now, in July, there is a special LEGO exhibit of a model of the Queen Mary.

 We all convened at the Observation Bar to meet my Aunt and Uncle who also came to stay on the Queen Mary and help celebrate my Mom's birthday.

The best thing about the Observation Bar is not just the view, but the cocktail menu full of recipes from the time the ship was actually sailing. This, is a Pimm's Cup! So refreshing and perfect for summer.

 Yes. That's a LEGO minifig with my Pimm's Cup. My Mancub loves 2 things: ships and LEGO. There seems to always be a minifig of some sort along with a mixed bag of bricks to build with in my purse. That's LEGO Chima Crug.

Time for the birthday dinner and our reservation at Sir Winstons.

Cocktails. Ceasar salads made table side. Best bread and butter ever. Traditional menu with some modern chef specials. Our service was good and our food was great!

 I'm having the Chauteaubriand. At our table, we had the pork belly, chef's special opal fish, new york steak and then a special dessert for my Mom's birthday!

At Sir Winston's the meal is finished with strawberries dipped in chocolate. Yum!

 Overall, this visit was extremely challenged and since it was my parent's first visit, I doubt that they would go back. My Mancub loves it, so we most likely will. Though given the high cost of the rooms, we just may stay at the Sheraton and visit the Queen Mary during the day for a visit to the Radio Room and the Propeller Box!

This is the Russian Scorpion submarine next to Queen Mary that is currently closed. Mancub and I toured it on a previous visit, but this time, it is seriously listing and closed.

To sum it all up; I do not know if the Queen Mary has recently had a change in owners or management. What I do know, is that what was once a step back in time to the luxury of a cruise ship in her hey day is now sort of run down, shoddy, dirty, and seriously short staffed.

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