RMS Queen Mary
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Name: RMS Queen Mary
Operator: Cunard White Star Line
Port of registry: Liverpool
Ordered: 3 April 1929
Builder: John Brown and Company, Clydebank, Scotland
Laid down: 1 December 1930
Launched: 26 September 1934
Christened: 26 September 1934
Maiden voyage: 27 May 1936
Out of service: 1 December 1967 (Retired)
Identification: Radio Callsign GBTT
Status: Now hotel / restaurant / museum, Long Beach, California
Type: Ocean liner
Tonnage: 81,237 GT (gross tonnage)
Displacement: 81,961 tonnes
Length: 1,019.4 feet (310.7 m) oa
965 feet (294.1 m) B.P.
Beam: 118 feet (36.0 m)
Height: 181 feet (55.2 m)
Draft: 39 feet (11.9 m)
Propulsion: 24 Yarrow boilers, 4 sets of Parsons single reduction geared steam turbines on 4 shafts, 160.000 shp
Speed: approximately 28.5 kn (52.8 km/h; 32.8 mph) service speed.
Capacity: 2139 passengers: 776 first (cabin) class, 784 tourist class, 579 third class
Crew: 1101 crew
R.M.S. Queen Mary is a retired ocean liner that sailed the North Atlantic Ocean from 1936 to 1967 for the Cunard Line (then Cunard White Star when the vessel entered service). Built by John Brown and Company, Clydebank, Scotland, she was designed to be the first of Cunard's planned two ship weekly express service from Southampton to Cherbourg to New York, in answer to the mainland European superliners of the late 1920s and early 1930s. After their release from World War II troop transport duties, Queen Mary and her running mate R.M.S. Queen Elizabeth commenced this two ship service and continued it for two decades until Queen Mary's retirement in 1967. The ship is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is permanently berthed in Long Beach, California serving as a museum ship and hotel. Queen Mary celebrated the 70th anniversary of her launch in both Clydebank and Long Beach during 2004, and the 70th anniversary of her maiden voyage in 2006. She was the flagship of the Cunard Line from May, 1936 until October, 1946 when she was replaced in this role by Queen Elizabeth.
On 8 May 1971, Queen Mary opened its doors to tourists. Initially, only portions of the ship were open to the public as Specialty Restaurants had yet to open its dining venues or the hotel. As a result, the ship was only open on weekends. In December 1971, Jacques Cousteau's Museum of the Sea opened, with only a quarter of the planned exhibits built. Within the decade, Cousteau's museum closed due to low ticket sales and the deaths of many of the fish that were housed in the museum. In November 1972, the hotel opened its initial 150 guest rooms. Hyatt operated the hotel from 1974 to 1980, when the Jack Wrather Corporation signed a 66 year lease with the city of Long Beach to operate the entire property. Wrather was taken over by the Walt Disney Company in 1988, Wrather owned the Disneyland Hotel, which Disney had been trying to buy for 30 years; Queen Mary was thus an afterthought and was never marketed as a Disney property.
Through the late eighties and early nineties, Queen Mary continued to struggle financially. During the Disney years, Disney planned to develop a theme park on the remaining land. This theme park eventually opened a decade later in Japan as DisneySea, with a recreated ocean liner resembling Queen Mary as its centrepiece. Hotel Queen Mary closed in 1992 when Disney gave up the lease on the ship to focus on what would become Disney's California Adventure. The tourist attraction remained open for another two months, but by the end of 1992, Queen Mary completely closed its doors to tourists and visitors.
In February 1993, under the direction of President and C.E.O. Joseph F. Prevratil, RMS Foundation, Inc began a five-year lease with the city of Long Beach to act as the operators of the property. Later that month, the tourist attraction reopened completely, while the hotel reopened in March. In 1995, RMS's lease was extended to twenty years while the extent of the lease was reduced to simply operation of the ship itself. A new company, Queen's Seaport Development, Inc. (QSDI) came into existence in 1995 controlling the real estate adjacent to the vessel. In 1998, the City of Long Beach extended the QSDI lease to 66 years.
In 2005, QSDI sought Chapter 11 protection due to a rent credit dispute with the City. In 2006, the bankruptcy court requested bids from parties interested in taking over the lease from QSDI. The minimum required opening bid was $41M. The operation of the ship, by RMS, remained independent of the bankruptcy. In Summer 2007, Queen Mary's lease was sold to a group named "Save the Queen" managed by Hostmark Hospitality Group, who planned to develop the land adjacent to Queen Mary, and upgrade, renovate, and restore the ship. During the time of their management, staterooms were updated with Ipod docking stations and flatscreen TV's and the ship's three funnels as well as the waterline area were repainted their original Cunard Red color. The portside Promenade Deck's planking was restored and refinished. Many lifeboats were repaired and patched, and the ship's kitchens were renovated with new equipment.
In late September 2009, management of Queen Mary was taken over by Delaware North Companies, who plan to continue restoration, and renovation of the ship and its property, and work to revitalize and enhance the ship
In 2004, Queen Mary and Stargazer Productions added Tibbies Great American Cabaret to the space previously occupied by the ship's bank and wireless telegraph room. Stargazer Productions and Queen Mary transformed the space into a working dinner theater complete with stage, lights, sound, and scullery.
Meeting of the Queens
On 23 February 2006, RMS Queen Mary 2 saluted her predecessor as she made her port of call in Los Angeles Harbor, while on a cruise to Mexico. The event was covered heavily by local and international media. The salute itself was carried out with Queen Mary replying with her one working air horn in response to Queen Mary 2 sounding her combination of two brand new horns and an original 1934 Queen Mary horn (on loan from the City of Long Beach). Queen Mary originally had three whistles tuned to 55 Hz, a frequency chosen because it was low enough that the extremely loud sound of it would not be painful to human ears. Modern IMO regulations specify ships' horn frequencies to be in the range 70–200 Hz for vessels that are over 200 metres (660 ft) in length. Traditionally, the lower the frequency, the larger the ship. Queen Mary 2, being 345 metres (1,132 ft) long, was given the lowest possible frequency (70 Hz) for her regulation whistles, in addition to the refurbished 55 Hz whistle on permanent loan. 55 Hz is the lower bass ''A'' note found an octave up from the lowest note of a piano keyboard. The air driven Tyfon whistle can be heard at least ten miles (16 km) away.