Back when the Queen Mary roamed the seas, teenagers worked as the bellhops, including this uniformed group (inset, above) setting sail for three months in 1949. With parental permission, British kids as young as 13 joined the ship’s staff for the often long voyages. “Their days were very, very full,” says Everette Hoard, the ocean liner’s commodore and lead historian. When the junior attendants weren’t busy scrubbing floors, they hauled passenger luggage that was usually more than half their weight. A lucky few were promoted to serving tea. By 1966, air travel had far surpassed transatlantic trips by water, and the vessel was retired. At one point there was talk of scrapping the ship, but the City of Long Beach bought it and converted it into a tourist attraction.