Eighty years ago the ultimate in luxurious intercontinental transport was the Queen Mary. The art deco ocean liner made her maiden voyage on May 27, 1936 and the big boat is celebrating the big 80th anniversary all next week with parties, dinners, a documentary film, and an evening with the great-grandson of the ship’s most revered passenger, Sir Winston Churchill. There’s even a 15 foot-tall replica of the vessel made from cake.
During World War II the ship was converted to a British troop transport and Hitler offered a $250,000 reward to any submarine that could sink her. No other ship of this era remains in public service and more than a million visitors tour the ship every year. After her final voyage (the ship was replaced by the Queen Elizabeth II) the ship was moored in Long Beach in 1967.
On May 27, the ship offers free admission. The evening before, in the restored first class dining room, you can join a grand dinner in tribute to the inaugural menu, which included rarities you don’t even see at Musso & Frank: Polar de Braisée Belle Mère and Tranche de Turbotin. There will be music, scotch, and cigars on the Verandah Grill, a new BBC documentary on the ship airs in the 4-D theater (is there a splash zone?), and original paintings by Churchill will hang in the gallery. Send your vintage formalwear to be pressed, then enjoy this gallery of rarely seen images from the inaugural voyage of the Queen Mary.