learn something new every day:


Check out these gorgeous paintings and see why The Blackstone Hotel’s art collection is better than a museum – and how you can spend the night surrounded by it!

Read All Entries

get the latest from Lois

Stay connected to the Oasis!

spending the night on the legendary – and haunted? – queen mary

Queen Mary from Hotel Maya

From our beautiful room at the Hotel Maya in Long Beach, we could see the Queen Mary – which was actually where we would be sleeping the next night.

Queen Mary trunkThe Queen Mary just turned 80, and stepping on to the iconic ship is surreal. It’s like stepping back to a time when traveling via ocean liner was truly luxurious, when passengers dressed for their voyages, when trunks and leather suitcases bore tags from all the places they’d visited.

Although the Queen Mary is now docked permanently, that kind of adds to its mystique.

When my friend, Ruth, and I were on the Queen Mary during a press trip a few months ago, we were lucky enough to get a tour from Commodore Everette Hoard, who’s been called “the heart of the ship” because of his three decades of enthusiasm for and knowledge of her.

Queen Mary Commodore

He took us into so many behind-the-scenes areas of the ship

Queen Mary Lois and Ruth

and showed us all kinds of cool gadgets and navigational tools.

Queen Mary wheel

He told us stories that gave us chills about creepy occurrences and alleged ghost sightings – some so scary, they made us want to come back for the Paranormal Ship Walk.

First, though, Ruth and I went to the Diana: Legacy of a Princess exhibit while our husbands walked around the ship.

Queen Mary bell

Diana and I both got married during the summer of 1981, so I’ve always felt a special connection to her. We enjoyed seeing her dresses — how tiny was her waist?! — and all the royal memorabilia and personal letters. You can also attend a high tea in conjunction with the exhibit but we decided we had been eating enough on this trip already.

Speaking of which, last time we were here, we ate a five star dinner in the magnificent Sir Winston’s, where I feasted on lobster and chocolate souffle.

Queen Mary lobster

Okay, I need to stop talking about food.

Queen Mary chocolate souffle

Once the sun set, it was time for the Paranormal Ship Walk. We were so excited and we were all ready to see a ghost or two.

Queen Mary night view

Our guide took us to the areas of the ship that were supposedly haunted. He put a flashlight on the floor in one room and asked the spirits to show us they were out there by turning it on. Nothing happened.

We went to the old First Class swimming pool, where the atmosphere was eerie but, according to our guide, “dead.” There were a couple of people on the tour who flashed their cameras non-stop the entire time and, I can’t say anything would have been different without all those lights, but it was really annoying and, for me, it definitely took away from the experience.

We walked down the longest hall on the ship where a security guard had once seen a little girl standing at 3 a.m. only to disappear a minute later.

Queen Mary hall

When we reached the ship’s engine room, where some of us did see mysterious shadows, our guide once again called out to the spirits, and the flashlight turned on. Ghosts? Maybe. But I was feeling a little like my daughter who, at the age of two, walked slowly around Mickey Mouse at Disney World, then turned to me and asked, “Where zipper?”

It was fascinating to hear about the hauntings and the history of the ship, though, and Michael, Ruth, Dan and I went to the ship’s bar after the tour to talk more about it.

Queen Mary mural bar

Ruth said she would welcome a ghost during the night, which I totally admired. She would probably have a great conversation, learn so much and then pass her newfound wisdom on to her readers in an interesting and easy to understand manner.

I, on the other hand, said – loudly, in case the spirits had any ideas – that if anyone other than Michael pulled the covers off me in the middle of the night, we would be out of that room and on the road home in minutes.

Queen Mary stateroomThankfully, it was quiet in our stateroom that night. The only thing that haunted me was the realization that I had somehow missed the Brazilian donuts at the Hotel Maya brunch.


  1. This looks like such a fun time. The is very elegant and the food looks delicious.

  2. This is the 2nd time I’ve seen lobster on a blog this week and now I want it. I also want to tour the QM.

    • Lois Alter Mark says:

      It’s the 2nd time you’ve seen lobster on my blog in 2 days! Let’s see if I can make it 3! You’ll have to join me next time!

  3. Very cool. this is my idea of a fun night. I enjoy spooky and haunted things.

  4. I lived in Los Angeles county almost my whole life until recently and I never once got a chance to stay at the Queen Mary. I’ve always wanted to stay there, it looks like such a lovely place. I didn’t know it was haunted, that’s very interesting news to me. LOL

  5. What an awesome experience and the view is spectacular!

  6. As I discovered when I was on that press trip with you back in May, Lois, the ship has been restored to the elegance passengers enjoyed when sailing the ocean aboard it.

    Even if you’re staying in lodgings elsewhere in Long Beach or the Greater Los Angeles area, it’s well worth taking a tour of the ship, especially if it’s led by Commodore Hoard, as was the one you and I took.

  7. Wow, what a fun experience! The lobster and the dessert got me.

  8. Although I have been on the Queen Mary several times, I have only felt like there was something to the ghost stories only once. i was in the room where the anchor is kept. I can’t explain it but, I will never go near that room again!

  9. I would love to spend the night there! I think I might have to plan a trip to both places now! 🙂 great pics and post!

  10. What a great time of year for a ghost story. Somehow seeing a “ghost” on the Queen Mary sounds doubly delicious – like your chocolate souffle. Love your pictures. They really brought your story “to life” if you’ll pardon my pun.

  11. What an awesome experience you had. I totally believe that that ship must be haunted.

  12. That view is so nice! I am always impressed with how GREAT food can be on cruises!

  13. I so wanted to interview a ghost. Where shall we look next? Perfect recap of a really wonderful day Lois!

  14. You write so well about adventures! Now I want to see this one, too. But, the only spirits I want will be at the bar!

  15. Chrissy Mazzocchi says:

    I read about the experience on this ship and am always facinated by it. I now want to go but oly because you didn’t really see a ghost HAHA

  16. Wow what an experience that would be! Totally jealous, looks like a lot of fun!

  17. I would love to experience this not only for the haunted story side but to see the ship as well.

  18. Oh wow what an amazing experience that must have been! I would have love the haunted side I have to admit. x

  19. What an amazing experience! I would have loved every second of it!

  20. Amanda Love says:

    Sounds like a great experience but I’m not sure if I would want to stay if it was haunted. 🙂

  21. What a fun tour and amazing opportunity! I think I would opt for cookies over ghosts as well.

    Lexi and I stayed in a haunted hotel for her 16th birthday (her choice) and we were visited that night, or at least she was; I slept through. However, what we didn’t know until the next day was that we were in the room of the hotel’s founder. Lexi described her to a tee, which was a little eerie since she/we hadn’t seen any pictures of her until the next morning when the library was open. Lexi wasn’t bothered, so all in all, her birthday was a grand success.

    • Lois Alter Mark says:

      OMG! That would have totally freaked me out! Glad you slept through the visit and Lexi had a happy birthday!

  22. I bet this was very fun to do..I have only been on boats twice in my life, both were good experiences.

  23. This must have been an amazing experience. It’s not everyday that you get to stay on a legendary ship like this one.

  24. I love stories like this. And would welcome a ghost myself. We did a ghost tour of Savannah a few years ago. I thought it was sort of funny as you describe the Queen Mary’s timeless grandeur that takes passengers back to when people dressed up for ocean voyages I look up at the photo of the classic ship being photo bombed by a Carnival Cruise ship.

  25. What a fun trip this must have been. I have always wanted to travel on one of those beautiful trips.

  26. I’ve never been on a big boat like this! Not too sure about the whole “haunted” part hehehe I would have such a good time! Food looks delicious!

  27. Beyond the scary bit, this look like an amazing ship. Lots to do and enjoy. Especially desserts.

  28. I remember on our trip to Concord, MA we took a ghost tour one night (our son was young) and I was more scared than he was. I don’t know if I could greet a ghost, unless it’s Caspar! Although this looks like fun.

Speak Your Mind