The RMS Queen Mary will reopen in Spring 2023. Credit: Shutterstock

RMS Queen Mary to reopen this spring

Author: Calum Brown

Published on:

Updated on:

Three years after RMS Queen Mary shuttered to the public, Long Beach has announced that portions of the iconic ship will reopen this spring.

It’s been a tough time for RMS Queen Mary.

Closed to the outside world amid the pandemic in March 2020, the old gal has since been the subject of legal action and structural turmoil.

She’s been in serious danger of capsizing, while desperate modifications have seen the emergency removal of historical artefacts – including her lifeboats.

Once Cunard’s revered flagship and Blue Riband champion, the ship has been silently suffering from neglect and abuse under the inept handling of private operators overseen by the city.

Having been a popular fixture of Long Beach since 1967, her mishandling came as something of a surprise; especially considering her profit margins over the last five decades.

When the last operator – Urban Commons – filed for bankruptcy, Long Beach authorities were left to address the rapidly-deteriorating vessel before it was too late. The world was watching.

Having been passed from operator to operator throughout the years, the RMS Queen Mary had seemingly been starved of maintenance to avoid eye-watering conservation invoices. Her state of decay had effectively spread throughout the structure akin to an infection, and the Doomsday clock was ticking.

A report by marine engineering firm Elliott Bay Design Group outlined that an investment of $23 million was imminently required purely to keep RMS Queen Mary ‘viable’.

Another engineering firm – Moffatt & Nichol – declared that, after a rigorous inspection of the ship last year, long-term costs to rectify decay and maintain the ship could climb higher than $475 million.

Needless to say, it’s been a monumental preservation effort to save RMS Queen Mary from ruination, but the iconic ship has now been gifted a secured future and will soon reopen.

The RMS Queen Mary's first-class entrance is world renowned (Image source: Shutterstock).

When will RMS Queen Mary reopen?

Certain sections of the Cunard liner will open in the Spring, spearheading a 'phased reopening' calendar throughout 2023, with all areas accessible by Autumn.

Public Works Director Eric Lopez and his crews are to thank for such spritely progress, collectively finding ways to make repairs “faster and cheaper” than originally anticipated. That does not mean they have cut corners, however. Everything is being upheld to an incredibly high standard.

“We are looking at a phased reopening, but that initial reopening phase in spring is expected to include hotel rooms, retail, some full-service food offerings, tours and event spaces,” Long Beach’s deputy economic development director, Johnny Vallejo, told the Long Beach Post.

“And then the remaining rooms, restaurants and other services will be phased in over the summer months.”

RMS Queen Mary was slated to reopen during December 2022, but that has changed to Spring 2023. (Image source: Shutterstock).

Is there still demand for RMS Queen Mary?

The city receives daily inquiries about the RMS Queen Mary’s proposed reopening, and organisers feel confident that there’s pent-up demand. Long Beach officials are also aware of the dependence local businesses have on visitors to the ship.

A very small number of private tours were offered throughout 2022, and these guided events proved that public demand was ever present, with the limited run selling out in a matter of minutes.

Despite various media reports condemning RMS Queen Mary to the scrapyard, it looks as though her future is finally in safe hands.

About Calum Brown

Calum holds a deep interest in all things heritage and remains one of Britain’s most enthusiastic historians.

As a seasoned journalist, he has spent considerable time abroad and relishes all forms of transport. Shipping is in the blood, with a family connection to Stena Line embedded in his DNA. He also refuses to admit that 21st Century music exists.

Calum has developed a skill for bringing history alive, and always insists on making heritage accessible for everyone.