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Learn about the Conversion of the Queen Mary to a Hotel Attraction

" It took years of planning and painstaking work to successfully complete this project. "

Long Beach, Calif. -- Converting the R.M.S. Queen Mary, the world's largest ocean liner, to a floating tourist attraction was an enormous task without precedent. It took years of planning and painstaking work to successfully complete this project.

The first giant step was dry-docking the 81,000-ton ocean liner. During this period, three of the Queen Mary's four propellers were removed, some 100 hull openings were closed, and the giant stabilizers were removed. This work was completed in 1968, and the Queen Mary was returned to Pier E in the Port of Long Beach for the next phase -- three years of work to ready her for a new life as a Long Beach hotel and attraction.

At Pier E, the initial objective was to determine what had to be removed, rebuilt, replaced or restored. This became known as the 'rip-out" phase, and it aptly described what was happening to the liner.

To remove the massive machinery and materials, planners found it was necessary to dismantle the Queen Mary's three funnels (smokestacks). When the original funnels were removed from the ship, they collapsed, and analysis later found it was only 110 coats of paint holding them together. At the end of the conversion period, the Queen Mary was topped off with three new 25-ton welded steel funnels.

A shoreside energy facility was constructed to supply cooling and heating to the ship through a system of articulating piping. In this system, air is conditioned and distributed by some 400 fans to every corner of the ship.

Electric power is provided by a dockside distribution station that transmits 12,00 KVA of power at 4160 Volts AC through 12 high voltage load centers to smaller transformers throughout the Queen Mary for light and power.

When the City of Long Beach purchased the Queen Mary, it did not have a berth suitable in the Port of Long Beach to accommodate her, so a special landfill had to be constructed. Sixteen acres were created to provide for deep anchorage, shelter from tides and currents, easy access, ample parking and a location that would complement the downtown Long Beach skyline.

The completed Queen Mary site included a 900-foot pier, a parking lot, plus boarding ramps and towers. A porous rock dike was later constructed to ward off strong currents.

Early in 1971, the majestic Queen Mary was tugged to her permanent berth at Pier J. After 34 years of ocean travel, the retired luxury liner was ready to renew the role of entertaining and fascinating her many passengers.

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