The first tour-goers in over two and half years were welcomed aboard the Queen Mary Thursday, where Commodore Everette Hoard guided them through select areas of the ship.

The city announced Monday that tours of the Promenade Deck, including the Observation Bar and the Queen and Royal salons, were available for free with online reservation. Spots, however, filled up within 24 hours.

During a press conference before the first tour, Mayor Robert Garcia announced an annual membership program in partnership with Long Beach Heritage, Evolution Hospitality and the Queen Mary Heritage Foundation. The $150 membership is tax deductible and includes:

  • General admission for the member with limited block-out dates;
  • Two general admission day passes annually;
  • Hotel guest pricing for tour, exhibit and attraction tickets; and
  • 24-hour presale with discounted ticket pricing on Queen Mary events.

“We hope this first of its kind membership opportunity will continue the public’s excitement and anticipation as we move closer to reopening additional amenities onboard the ship next year,” Garcia said in a statement. “This also gives community members the opportunity to contribute to the ongoing preservation of the ship through their membership fee donation.”

The ship closed to the public in March 2020 as the coronavirus began to spread through the nation, and the ship remained closed as the city began critical repairs to address structural and safety issues.

Most of the ship, including its restaurants, bars and shops, remain closed to the public as work continues.

The city expects a broader reopening of the ship, including the hotel, early next year when the installation of new boilers and heat exchangers is completed.

Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal.