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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