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The Queen Mary oceanliner, which is today a hotel and popular attraction

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The Queen Mary oceanliner, which is today a hotel and popular attraction
photo by Andrew Collins
Launched in 1934 and tied up in Long Beach Harbor since it ended passenger service in 1967, the 12-deck, 1,000-foot Queen Mary (1126 Queen's Hwy., 877-342-0738 for general info, and 877-342-0742 for hotel reservations) is one of the city's most recognizable attractions. Today the sleek, Art Deco beauty is a working hotel - a fun, if quirky, place to stay that's appealing for a chance to experience the ship's grandeur. Accommodations and amenities, however, are understandably a bit dated. Even if you don't stay here, come by for a tour - several kinds are offered, including self-guided audio tours, as well as guided walks with different themes (the ship's role during World War II, ghosts and legends, behind-the-scenes, etc.).

The hotel has 314 staterooms, although decorated true to the period, they do contain such modern amenities as iPod docks, satellite TV, Wi-Fi, and flat-screen TVs. Amenities include a the full-service Queen Mary Spa, as well as several restaurants and ships. If there's a "must" among these, it's the classy Observation Bar, a swank Art Deco landmark with lovely sunset views, great cocktails, and a light food menu. There's also a kitschy shop called (go ahead and snicker) the Land of Fruits and Nuts, which is worth a stop for an authentic California date shake.

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