Once a wildly glamorous way of getting back and forth across the Atlantic, the Queen Mary is now a floating hotel parked off Long Beach, California, which allegedly “could face some internal structural collapse within the next decade unless major action is taken soon.” That doesn’t sound great.
The Queen Mary first set sail in 1936, one of Cunard’s grand ocean liners. Let’s take a quick peek at her heyday. Here’s the restaurant; “The radiating light on the map at the far end of the room constantly pinpoints the vessel’s location.”
Here is the lounge on her maiden voyage.
Here is Elizabeth Taylor onboard with her poodles.
After the ship was decommissioned in the late 1960s, it was purchased by the city Long Beach and converted into a hotel and has since become a popular local attraction. For instance, here is a photo of “Dove Cameron And The Cast Of Disney’s ‘Liv And Maddie’ Visit The Queen Mary’s CHILL.”
Unfortunately, ocean liners are no exception to the rule of thumb that boats are a hole in the water into which you pour money. The Long Beach Press Telegram got its hands on a marine survey assessing the condition of the ship, which estimated a price tag of $235 million to $289 million for needed repairs, something like 75 percent of them “urgent.” (In November the city approved $23 million toward those ASAP fixes.) The whole thing sounds like a real mess:
But, according to the 396-page marine survey, the “poorly planned” and “poorly executed” conversion has exacerbated corrosion in the ship’s underbelly and jeopardized its structural integrity.
“In many cases, loose material had been discarded on the tank tops where it has continued to corrode without check,” which suggested a hurried and inexperienced job, the report notes.
Engineers who inspected the ship in October 2015 found the sewage system leaks constantly throughout the ship, and tanks storing the sewage are compromised and difficult to access. Storm drains were plugged, covered and abandoned, creating leaks within the walls and pooling. And the entire electrical system that would seal off doors in the event of an emergency was inoperable.
This is merely the latest development in a sometimes eccentric history. The Press Telegraph recaps:
Operators over five decades have struggled to come up with a successful development plan for the oceanfront property.
At one time, Walt Disney Co. executives talked of building a maritime theme park; other ideas included a football stadium or casino and card room. One official even recommended sinking the ship off the coast and turning it into a dive exhibit. For a decade — from 1982 to 1992 — the Queen Mary was paired as an attraction with Howard Hughes’ gigantic Spruce Goose, which was housed beneath the Long Beach Dome until it was shipped to Oregon.
It’s almost like aging ocean liners are a municipal albatross....
Look—just (step 1) turn the whole thing over to Ryan Murphy for a season of American Horror Story and (step 2) make it into the nation’s most terrifying haunted house. Step 3: profit!