A Voyage Back in Time on the Queen Mary

Driving 1800 miles from Illinois to California in three days was quite an adventure.

But how about traveling back in time nearly 100 years in one afternoon?

Don’t worry. It’s actually a really short trip.

Here we are in 1930. It’s been nearly 20 years since the Titanic sank, and the Queen Mary is boarding passengers for a trip across the Atlantic (totally illogical, since she’s docked in Long Beach, CA, but we’re just playacting, here). She’s a real beauty.

More than 100 feet longer than the Titanic, she’ll make 1001 voyages before her retirement. The most famous actors and statesmen of the day will roam her decks and indulge in the opulence for which she is known. During WWII, she will be stripped down and used to transport soldiers to Europe, and later to transport war brides to meet their husbands.

(Unfortunately, back in 2013, the rooms and dining halls are being used as a hotel, so we can’t tour those parts. But we can explore the ship’s giant underbelly, which isn’t as pretty, but quite fascinating.)

The engineering it takes to make a ship this size run in 1930 is impressive, to say the least.

Impressive, and rather cute, don’t you think?


There are pipes EVERYWHERE. Big pipes, small pipes, in-between pipes, all intertwining for the length of two football fields. Two of our family members have gone through phases of being obsessed with the Titanic, so seeing what makes the Queen Mary “go” is the next best thing to touring the Titanic’s lower decks. Super cool.

Amazingly, all of those pipes are used to push her 81,237 gross tons along by two propellers. You can’t tell from this picture, but that sucker is ENORMOUS. I actually felt a little dizzy looking down at it through the water.

And you know what’s really amazing? The hull plates on the ship are only 1.25 inches thick. 1.25 inches of steel between 2000 souls and the vast, mighty ocean. Apparently, that’s all it takes to hold a ship that size together (barring any unforeseen encounters with an iceberg, of course).

Now that’s what I call an anchor. Each of those chain links at the top weighs 224 pounds. 

Aw, is it time to go home already? That was a fun little zip through a slice of history, and a great way for the kids to see up close how boats and ships work. (Or used to work – most of what we saw is all computerized nowadays, and not nearly as cute.) 
Alright, handsome Captain Havarti. Back to 2013. Take us home!

Fun fact: The Queen Mary has three smokestacks. The Titanic had four. But the Titanic’s fourth smokestack was a fake. They only put it on the ship for looks.

Another fun fact: Winston Churchill signed the D-Day Declaration on board the Queen Mary. He considered the ship his at-sea headquarters during WWII.

Yet another fun fact: On July 9, 1948, Clark Gable delayed the departure of the Queen Mary for 18 minutes because he was saying a long goodbye to his love interest at the time. (And frankly, he didn’t give a damn. Ha! Ba dum pum.)

One last quick fact: I did actually take all of these photos, though I obviously didn’t really go back in time to take them. Just a little PicMonkey fun. 🙂

 If you enjoyed this post, please pass it along. You can follow Motherhood and More on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Annie writes about life, motherhood, world issues, beautiful places, and anything else that tickles her brain. On good days, she enjoys juggling life with her husband and homeschooling her children. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *