Tag Archives: museum ship

USA 2016 – 14 The Queen Mary Ocean Liner Museum Ship in Long Beach (2016-07-16) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 24 JAN 2018

Day 3 of the NACUFS IDEA ’16 conference, and the morning after our evening of Angels baseball watching, Johann and Carl decided to skip the early sessions to instead act as tour guides and take me for some sightseeing of the area. Our first stop for the day: The Queen Mary ocean liner museum ship, moored in Long Beach, California!

Now a floating hotel and museum ship, The majestic RMS Queen Mary is a retired luxury ocean liner that sailed the North Atlantic Ocean from 1936 to 1967, bowing out of service following the dawning of the jet age (which marked the beginning of the end for transatlantic passenger services on the whole).

Build for the Cunard Line in Clydebank, Scotland, the luxurious (and gigantic) Queen Mary was fast enough to hold the Blue Riband accolade a handful of times, earning the award as it shuttled its 2139 passengers and 1101 crew members on its standard route between Southampton and New York.

During the Second World War, the Queen Mary was painted navy grey, fitted with a degaussing coil (to protect against magnetic mines), and enlisted as a troop carrier, a job which she performed rather well – apart from that time where she accidentally killed 239 people by slicing through one of her escort ships, the light cruiser HMS Curacoa, of course.

(She is also known as having  ferried Winston Churchill for his strategic meetings across the Atlantic a couple of times.)

As I mentioned earlier, nowadays the grand old lady operates as a floating hotel, with guests enjoying a pretty unique accommodation experience that does much to simulate what travelling across the Atlantic in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s must have felt like.

The other side of the business is acting as a museum ship, with plenty of different tour options and packages available. The historic tour is the one we opted for, and after being greeted by our fabulously entertaining tour guide (seriously, this man was brilliant!), our group was guided through part of the ship while being fed a steady stream of interesting information and stories regarding this beautiful ocean liner and some of the famous passengers she ferried across the Atlantic.

The ship is known for its extensive use of wood from all over the then British colonies, and its magnificent murals, art deco styling, grand bars and luxurious ballrooms also make for a particularly visually stunning tour.

There is a big collection of model boats/ships on board (a gem for model building fanatics), not to mention a room (The Shipyard) dedicated entirely to LEGO creations – the centerpiece being of course the giant 250,000 brick big LEGO Queen Mary model ship!

The Queen Mary has also garnered a bit of a reputation for being a ghost ship over the years (thanks to all that creaking wood), meaning that (what else did you expect from Americans?) Haunted Tour packages are also quite the big thing for the operators.

Now I’ve never been on an ocean liner (or any other cruise ship for that matter) before, so for me this was by far the biggest ship that I had ever set foot on, and admittedly, thanks the historic grandeur of the vessel, I absolutely LOVED the experience as a whole.

(In other words, highly recommended if you ever find yourself out in the Long Beach area as a tourist!)

Bonus: Directly in front of the moored Queen Mary lies the B-427 Scorpion, an interesting Soviet era attack submarine that has been operating as a museum vessel since 1995, going on show first in Australia at their maritime museum, before moving to Long Beach, California in 1998.

Sadly, the display is currently closed to the public, following the discovery of irreversible flooding in parts of the sub a couple of years back.

Bonus 2: I can’t remember exactly what movie I was watching the other day, but I spotted a golden mural, paused, and shouted to Chantelle, “Hey, I’ve seen that before!”. Turns out I was correct – given her grandeur, The Queen Mary shows up in a LOT of movies, commercials and television shows!

Bonus 3: That funny big dome out next to the Queen Mary is currently a cruise ship terminal (used by Carnival Cruise Lines), but before that it actually housed the magnificent Spruce Goose (the largest flying boat ever built, not to mention having had the largest wingspan of any aircraft ever flown) for a while!

Anyway, here’s the map if you want to go find all these things out for yourself!

Related Link: The Queen Mary | Wikipedia | #USA2016

Japan 2014 – 11 Yokohama at Night – World Porters, Cosmo World, and… the Landmark Tower! (2014-10-03) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 08 NOV 2015

With the Yokohama Oktoberfest beer garden now well and truly behind us, onward we marched towards the giant, neon lit ferris wheel in the distance, stopping only because we were distracted by the lights coming from the rather prominent Yokohama World Porters building in front of us.

IMG_20141003_183224 hawaiian town in yokohama world porters

As it turns out, the Japanese love for themed things truly knows no bounds, because the first floor of World Porters is of course… Hawaiian themed.

No joke. Surfing videos, tiki statues, palm leaves – well you get the picture. Still, it was interesting to walk about, and in the process we did manage to lay our hands on a weird ice cream soda float thing with a massive block of ice in the middle.

Which was nice and refreshing if I remember correctly.

IMG_20141003_183822 cosmo clock 21 ferris wheel in cosmo world amusement park

Back on our mission to make it to the brightly lit ferris wheel in the distance (which turns out is the world famous Cosmo Clock 21 ferris wheel, once the tallest ferris wheel in the world, and also star of the 1992 Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth movie!), we eventually stumbled across the Cosmo World amusement park.

Being neither kids nor romantic, we didn’t stray in the park for too long, but certainly took long enough to admire all the cool kids attractions that certainly would have been a fun outing back in the day when we were still running around at knee height!

IMG_20141003_190445 yokohama odyssey projection mapping show, dockyard garden

Continuing our late evening stroll, we came upon the Dockyard Garden at the foot of the Landmark Plaza, just in time to be treated to the the jaw-droppingly amazing and technically stunning Yokohama Odyssey 3D projection mapping show – which kept us (and by now our aching feet) completely enthralled from start to finish.

(I’ve blogged about this artistic technical wizardry before. An absolute must to take in if you are ever in the area!)

IMG_20141003_191735 nippon maru museum sailing ship, minato mirai, yokohama

And because Yokohama didn’t seem to want to stop showing us interesting things, next in our line of vision was the magnificent, permanently moored Nippon Maru sailing ship (built in 1930 and employed as a training ship for the cadets of the Japanese merchant marine), currently used as a museum ship that is open to the public.

However, we were now near our ultimate target for the evening (even if we were struggling a bit to find the official entrance to the building).

Our mission to visit as many observation decks as possible was about to have one new member added – Sky Garden, the observation deck of Yokohama’s famous Landmark Tower!

yokohama landmark tower

(Image swiped from Google, because well, we were there in the evening and it was dark.)

From Wikipedia: “The Yokohama Landmark Tower (completed 1993) is the second tallest building and 4th tallest structure in Japan, standing 296.3 m high. When built, it was the tallest building in Japan until it was surpassed by Abeno Harukas’ in 2012. Also, at opening, it had the highest observation deck in Japan.

The building contains a five-star hotel which occupies floors 49-70, with 603 rooms in total. The lower 48 floors contain shops, restaurants, clinics, and offices. The building contains two tuned mass dampers on the (hidden) 71st floor on opposite corners of the building.

On the 69th floor there is an observatory, Sky Garden, from which one can see a 360-degree view of the city, and on clear days Mount Fuji.

The tower contains what were at their inauguration the world’s second fastest elevators, which reach speeds of 12.5 m/s (45.0 km/h). This speed allows the elevator to reach the 69th floor in approximately 40 seconds. The elevators’ speed record was finally surpassed by elevators of Taipei 101 (60.6 km/h) in 2004.”

IMG_20141003_193204 night view of yokohama, the landmark tower observation deck

The night time views of Yokohama from above didn’t disappoint, and were in a word, breathtaking.

Ryan and I spent a fair amount of time just chilling and taking in the night time scenery – and of course discussing the phenomenal lift speed that got us to this height in the first place!

IMG_20141003_204304 pokemon center in yokohama landmark plaza

Eventually we made our way down from Sky Garden and ambled around a bit in the by now deserted shopping sections of Landmark Plaza, eschewing the more fancy stores for views of the more nostalgia awakening ones – like this brilliant Pokemon Center we stumbled across.

IMG_20141003_205916 JR sakragicho train station in yokohama

And that was that.

Tired, sore feet, and no desire to walk back to Yokohama (from my side anyway), Ryan relented and expertly guided us to the nearby JR Sakragicho train station for a quick train hop back to our Super Hotel Yokohama rooms.

Where needless to say, I slept rather well.

Related Links: World Porters | Cosmo Clock 21 | Cosmo World | Nippon Maru | Landmark Tower | Landmark Plaza