Work is still underway to get the historic Queen Mary shipshape, but officials expect to reopen for tours within weeks, Steve Caloca, the ship’s new general manager, said Wednesday.
Caloca told board members of the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau that tours will start in April, and later that month he hopes to open lodging and restaurants and offer Sunday brunch.
Caloca did not provide more details on which kinds of tours will be offered next month.
With a background managing events and food service for Hyatt hotels, UCLA Lake Arrowhead Lodge and Warner Bros. Entertainment, Caloca joined Evolution Hospitality — which was hired by the city last June to manage the Queen Mary — about a month ago.
Evolution (via parent company Aimbridge Hospitality) also has been advertising jobs on the Queen Mary. On Wednesday, about 20 positions were listed online, including attendant and ticket agent for attractions, plumber and painter, and several management positions.
Caloca said after the CVB board meeting that specific dates for reopening various parts of the ship will be announced in the coming weeks.
“Tours will probably be the first thing,” he said, adding that right now, “there’s so much work that’s getting done on the ship.”
In December and January, the city opened the Queen Mary to a limited number of visitors for tours of a few specific parts of the vessel. It was the first opportunity for members of the public to be on board since the ship closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic.
The vessel remained closed throughout the pandemic as officials determined the ship would need tens of millions in repairs to remain functional and above water, after previous operators deferred maintenance for years.
In 2021, the city took over ship operations after the hired operating company gave up the lease in a bankruptcy proceeding.
Some of the repair work has been performed over the past year or so, but city leaders will face tough decisions about the future of the historic ocean liner, which is estimated to need nearly $300 million in fixes to remain a safe and viable tourist attraction.