"Today we come to the happy task of sending on her way the stateliest ship now in being. It has been the nation’s will that she should be completed, and today we can send her forth no longer a number on the books, but a ship with a name in the world, alive with beauty, energy and strength! May her life among great waters spread friendship among the nations!"
King George V on the Queen Mary launch
The OH and I had the pleasure of cruising up to Long Beach to see one of its most iconic tourist attractions, the RMS Queen Mary. This historic ship was purchased by the city from the Cunard Steamship Co, (yes, the same builder of the Titanic) in 1967 for the regal sum of $3.45M and is docked across the harbor from Long Beach. During the ship's reign, she carried 2,112,000 passengers over 3,792,227 miles as both a passenger cruise ship and military vessel in WWII.
Fast forward to today, the dry-docked vessel is once again open (it was closed for 3 years during Covid lockdowns) and continuing her service as a historic sight-seeing location, hotel, and wedding venue complete with specialty tours, restaurants, and regal bars. It's a landlubber's chance to experience the on-board beauty of a bygone, shipping era.
Since we're quickly entering the season of spooky, it didn't take much arm twisting for us to book the Haunted Encounters Tour during our visit:
"Ever wanted to know some of the stories and legends regarding the famous hauntings of the Queen Mary? Then the Haunted Encounters Tour is the best place to start. This approximate one hour tour will share many of the more well-known or infamous stories of the paranormal residents that now occupy the legendary ship in a non-scary introduction to the ghostly tales of the Queen Mary."
Our guide took us to several areas of the ship where paranormal activities and sightings had been reported. There have officially been 55 deaths onboard the ship, however these stats were not recorded during service in WWII, the actual number is assumed to be much higher.
The ship contains many articles left behind by passengers of the ship--including luggage, pictures, furniture, and yes, even a wedding dress. 👆
There's a 'wall of death' featuring photos of those who perished while on board (including the red pic above)...a bit morbid--I couldn't quit looking at the lovely bride... 👉
👆On the floor where the 1st class swimming pool was located (notice the stunning art-deco elevators) the ghost of a little girl has been seen and heard by passengers and crew...
In the engine room, which sits 24 feet beneath sea-level, a crewman came to a crushing end when the watertight door 13 closed during a stormy breach...
The haunted ship legend has been explored by numerous, paranormal/ghost hunting television shows and was recently used as a set location for a horror, feature film (Haunting of the Queen Mary) now streaming...
Did we see or hear anything odd during the tour? Well... during the walk through of a luggage storage area, I just happened to do a quick turn, looking behind me before we entered the starboard compartment and snapped this pic. 👆 The pictures before and after this one were perfectly clear/in-focus. This one, not so much. It's a dark room, the only light coming from the 2 portholes which elongated during this snap. Shadows are everywhere---but the biggest nagging question is--what are those white wisps hovering over the luggage?? Zoom in on the wisps--they're 3D and the curvature and folds are something I've never seen. Plus, on a blurry pic, you can still see select corners and flat surfaces. LMK what you pick up from zooming on this photo--I soooo want to hear your thoughts! I had tingling chills in this room... #Boo
Now for the not so scary...Once the tour concluded, we had a yummy lunch at the ship restaurant--I loved the art deco themed decor. The wood paneling and brass accoutrements on board are still spectacular.
All along the ship walls were posters of some of the famous passengers who once walked her decks:
And royals, of course! (The Queen doesn't look too amused...wonder why?) 👀👑
Fascinating Queen Mary 'factoid' posters on the restaurant walls--splendid marketing!
Did you know they have a Lego model of the ship on-board? #ThatsALoadOfLegos
The art deco posters and signage/ticket memorabilia displayed left me yearning for the next cruise!
And for those tying the knot on board, who wouldn't want one of these ship wheel souvenirs to commemorate the day?! #IDo
This photo (now a mural) 👆 of the Queen Mary sailing into the port of New York decades ago is spectacular...
Haunted? Maybe...but one thing is certain, the RMS Queen Mary is a legend filled with historic details from bygone days! Check out more about this fabulous ship, her history, and tours here:
It's Wednesday, time for #DearDiary:
The countdown is on! T-Minus 5 days for Shadow Reflection!
Bibiana and I are counting down the days for our next release in the Haunted Series, Shadow Reflection. We're also very honored to be featured as guests on the fabulous Sandy Bazinet's An Author's Take blog this week! When you get a chance, check out our Q&A as we talk all things Shadow Reflection here:
Pssst...We have some great giveaways coming up--let us know if you purchase our latest collection and you'll be in the running! Are you ready to read some scary tales? 🎃
Mysteries and murdah-most-foul this week from the writers of X/Twitter...
Author P.D. James, Cover Her Face, 5 ⭐
Dark secrets emerge when a young woman is murdered at the Maxie's family estate, Martingale. Suspects and motives are plentiful as DCI Adam Dalgliesh arrives at the scene to begin his investigation.
The victim caused a scandal being an unmarried mother and was prone to stir up trouble. Revenge was on the minds of jilted lovers, a betrayed mentor, and scorned family members. Will Dalgliesh sift through the clues in time before tragedy strikes again, or will the killer walk free?
Author James weaves a baffling whodunnit in the first book of the Adam Dalgliesh mysteries. This was a page turning read, with engaging characters and many twists and turns as the story unfolded. I can't wait to get to the next book---highly recommended for cozy mystery fans!
Author Colleen Cambridge, Mastering the Art of French Murder, 5 ⭐
American in Paris, Tabitha Knight, is enjoying her stay with her grandfather and uncle, exploring the markets and streets of the city with her best friend, a fellow American ex-pat by the name of Julia Child! The two friends live just across the street from each other and often discuss the joys (and mishaps) of cooking in this post-war, enchanted city.
When a body is found outside of Julia's apartment, the trail soon places Tabitha, Julia, and their friends and family on the suspect list. The victim was last seen at a late-night get-together of theater members at the Child's apartment, hosted by Julia's sister, Dort. Was the death due to a senseless crime, or are more nefarious actions at play?
Author Cambridge has created a dream ensemble of characters with this exciting mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed the inclusion of Julia Child and her family in this tale. A top-notch read for culinary/mystery booklovers, highly recommended!
Next up in the reading queue:
San Diego or Bust!
We'll be staying at the stunning Marriot Marquis hotel (picture courtesy of their website) on the marina for the Bouchercon Mystery Conference and I am so excited. It's such a lovely area with fantastic harbor views--I'm sure the conference will be a hit during the day, and afterwards...great eateries all around to sample culinary delights in the evening! No mystery here, good times await!
Welcome to my world. Until next time, have a good one!
Crowns and Kisses.
P.S. Thanks to everyone who have been so supportive of Bibiana's and my new release, Shadow Reflection! We truly appreciate the book love! Stay tuned, coming September 4th!