Travel Channel Review of Hotel QM


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John DeLoache

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Last week Travel Spies, a new Travel Channel Show, spent part of an episode reviewing the Queen Mary's Hotel operation. They were not that kind to her. They were critical of some of the rooms/decor and staff wasn't really helpful. In the end they said it appeared that the Hotel didn't know whether it was an attraction or a hotel.
 
Jul 11, 2001
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Hi John, Gee I wish I had seen that. If you go to the web site www.Tripadvisor.com they have two pages on the Queen Mary. One as a listing under Attractions, the other as a Hotel. Some of the guest comments are brutal. The ship is definitely showing it age. But the posts are also definitely split up into two different types of guests. The optimistic Ocean liner / travel buff who appreciate the fact they can spend a night in a ship that technically shouldn't even exist anymore, then there is the fussy traveler who finds fault in everything.

Not to say the complaints are fabricated. They are all truthful, more or less. The linens are faded and tattered, the front desk staff slow and indifferent. They put guests under the banquet rooms when there are loud and noisy wedding receptions going till the wee hours.

99% of the complaints I read were minor. Although I can sympathize with the folks who couldn't sleep because of noise. I would have been upset too. Fortunately my room on M Deck was nice and quiet. I really enjoyed my stay, faded bedspread and all.

One would think that the management would read these reviews and make the simple minor adjustments to prevent unhappy guests. The ship is never fully booked, so why couldn't they just assign the staterooms with an empty one in between? This would solve the "Thin wall" problem so you don't have to listen to your neighbor snore. Don't book rooms under Banquet halls when weddings are booked. How hard would that be? From what I saw the ship was practically a ghost ship at night. Would I go back? you betcha! I love a four star Hotel as much as the next person, but I'll forgive some wear and tear for the fun of walking the halls at night humming the song "The morning after".
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John DeLoache

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The Travel Channel had just about the same complaints. Everything being rather old. The manager was interviewed and said that they were redoing most of the rooms but reminded the hosts that the QM was a ship and there were thing about ships that are unique.
 
Jul 11, 2001
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Hi John!

That is very true. The size of the staterooms on ships are usually smaller than most hotel rooms. My stateroom was larger than expected. I suppose the walls are thin to reduce the weight of the ship. Again, probably no different than any other ship of the era. The doors that connect adjoining rooms don't help the noise situation either, and that goes for some Hotels too.

The ship is is not really a resort Hotel. Most guests are off site seeing during the day. The people on the ship during the day are usually just tourists visiting, not staying the night.

It must cost a fortune to keep it running. The fact they rooms are 90% empty during mid week doesn't help any.

As for the complaints about paying for parking, oh come on people. I was just in Florida at Universal Studios and they charge $9.00 to park, then another $70-$100 to get in.
The Hotels in San Fran all charge about $35.00 a night to park. The $10 bucks to park is cheap when compared to most major attractions and Hotels. The trouble is that most of us are spoiled by free parking at lesser Hotels. Want a real shocker? Drive into Manhattan and try to park in a lot for less than $15.00 an HOUR!

Yes, the Mary is showing her age. But nothing short of a major corporate sponsor or fund raiser will help her regain her glory. Some have suggested that she should have been moved to a city like New York where she would have more paying guests, tourists and conventions. The problem is the climate. The New England winters would take a serious toll on her. That plus the Long Beach location allows for year round use. Being from Connecticut it was surprizing to me to see all the doors left wide open, port holes too. Then I realized that this is southern California and they can do this. The A/C system in the QM works once you figure out that it comes out of the old style ducts. I had mine closed and just left the two portholes open.

I'd love to work on the ship, but would probably be frustrated at budget restraints and indifferent staffing.
 
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Wayne Keen

Guest
Somehow I think I would be trying to quietly walk as much of the ship as I could, so sleeping might not be an issue. (Or at least no more than overnighting on a Battleship with a bunch of Cub Scouts) ;)

Wayne
 
Jul 11, 2001
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Wayne, That was the best part! Walking the ship late at night. The upper decks are all lit up still yet deserted. They do close off the bow area at night. Probably to prevent anybody from falling overboard reinacting the "King of the World!" scene.

The inside hallways are long and erie at night. At one point I was deep in side the ship and found a staircase going up. It should have brought me up to exit just outside the entrance of the Observation Bar. But as I got towards the top of the staircase there was a locked gate! YIKES! I felt like a steerage passenger on the Titanic! The staff closes off some of the stairs down to the Hotel areas at night to discourage non-guests from venturing down into ship late at night. But Hotel guests can access most areas from the main staircase. I had to go back down a deck then walk aft to the main staircase. LOL. I don't think I would want to have to exit in the dark if there was a fire!

Early morning is great too. There is a coffee shop where the old Childrens play room used to be. It was nice to grab a cup of coffee and walk to the aft deck and sit in a deckchair and watch the sun rise. Right behind the ship is where the modern cruise ships dock. That morning a huge Carnival ship was right behind the Mary having its life boat drill. It was so close I could sit there and listen to the PA systems instructions to their passengers. The upper decks were filled with passengers in their life jackets. Very odd to watch. Again, almost like a scene from Titanic watching the people all standing around in lifebelt not getting in the boats!
 
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Wayne Keen

Guest
Wow, that does sound like fun!

What sort of areas were you able to go into? I know there are some areas where they have torn a lot of stuff out to make new attractions.

Wayne
 
Jul 11, 2001
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Hi Wayne,

The Hotel guests pretty much get the run of the ship. A few areas you can only get into via the tour access doors. Like the swimming pool. You can only see that on the "Ghost tour". The boiler rooms and forward engine compartment were torn out to make room for a convention center. The aft engine room is restored and part of the self guided tour. Some of the second class staterooms are available for hotel guests at a lower price. Most all of the second class public rooms are off limits. Most public rooms are restored and used a banquet or function halls. If you go to this website link, it will give you a better idea of how the ship is today compared to as built. It is a cool site with lots of pics, but you really have to go thru the entire site to find the cool stuff.

http://www.sterling.rmplc.co.uk/visions/decks.html
 
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Wayne Keen

Guest
I remember reading a site that (I believe it was a lady) had up some years ago in which she was fighting with the Long Beach folks about lack of preservation. I can't find it now....

Wayne
 
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Wayne Keen

Guest
How much clearance is there between the Mary's keel and the bottom? (I understand that she is floating, unlike the battleship my son likes so much in Mobile)

Wayne
 
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Wayne Keen

Guest
Do they every let people dive around the hull, or is the water really so nasty that that question is stupid on its face?

Wayne
 

John Clifford

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Mar 30, 1997
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Wayne, no one has ever gone in to the water around the hull. For one, I can imagine that the insurance on the ship is such that it would be mandatory to prohibit such activity, and would really be rather a waste of time; there is likely not much to see.

I don't know what would happen to any person who decides to jump in, either as a prank, or attempted suicide, and survives.

Besides, the water is not polluted, to my knowledge, but does not always look very clean.
 
Jul 11, 2001
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Hi guys!

I've seen at least one scene in a movie where someone has jumped off the stern of the ship. Stunt man or not, it must be deep enough for that. The water around the ship is protected by a stone breakwater. So I know that the tides and current cannot cause any movement of the ship. No doubt important due to the water and sewer hookups to the pier.

I sure wish the maintenance staff on board would go out in a boat and clean the water once in a while. The last time I was there the ship was surrounded by litter floating in the water. I've seen a few pictures on various websites that also show the litter. It must be terribly frustrating to be the manager there and not be able to afford to do all the things you want to keep her like new.

But if you hire the right people who truly care about the ship, they would "make" time to get things done right. I manage a small business and as such I am on salary. I find myself working extra unpaid hours to come in and trim the hedges and pickup trash around the building even though I don't own it. It is called pride and I care about how the place I work looks like. I love it when a customer comes in and tells me how nice the place looks.
 
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