I call this tour "Fish and Art Deco"! If you like the elegance and romance of the 1920s and 30s and want to see some exotic sea life in one of the US' biggest aquariums, this is a great tour for you. Long Beach is LA County's second largest city, and these attractions are literally right next to each other. I took 35 fun members of the Chicago Club in Laguna Woods for this dynamic duo of attractions.
Let's start with the Queen Mary - the most famous ocean liner in the world. You can choose various tours, but I prefer the "classic" tour which highlights the famed ship's history and design. I was impressed to find out that the Queen is 130 longer than the Titanic and holds the record for ferrying 16,683 passengers during World War II. But what I loved the most was the Art Deco interiors. And I, like thousands of other visitors, are very glad that the City of Long Beach bought to Queen Mary in the 1960s to keep her beauty alive for generations to come.
|The Queen Mary was built in Scotland in 1936 and ended service in 1967 when she was purchased by the City|
of Long Beach. She now serves as a museum, hotel and convention site.
During her storied career, the Queen Mary transported over two million passengers across the North Atlantic. First, second and third class accommodations were based on the smoothness of the ride, with first class rooms located in the center of the ship. Third class passage was near the bow of the ship where the ride was the roughest. During World War II, she was painted "navy grey" serving as a troop transport with a capacity of 15,000 soldiers. During one storm, she pitched 52 degrees and almost capsized.
|I love the classic 30s posters which advertised the beauty of traveling on the Queen Mary.|
|I enjoyed the one hour Classic Highlights tour that features historical highlights and discussion of the|
liner's Art Deco interiors. Daniel is a wonderful tour guide
Designed for the Cunard Lines during the height of the Art Deco period in the 1930s, I was most interested to see the Queen's artistic lines and ornament. The Queen Mary, in fact, is considered one of the best Art Deco landmarks in the world. From etched glass to bas-relief ornament to paintings to murals to light fixtures, the artistic skill is on display everywhere you look. The ship is also called "The Ship of Woods" since over 50 different types of wood (six of which are extinct) were used in its construction. The gorgeous polished wood, shaped in luxurious curving forms, is part of the "Streamline Moderne" style of architecture and design. As you will see from the photos below, the interior design of the Queen Mary blends Art Deco ornament with streamlined classic modernism in an elegant style.
|The Grand Ballroom is a major highlight of streamline forms and ornament. Notice the Art Deco mural in the background|
|Art Deco bas relief art often featured stylized, strong forms with|
optimistic, inspirational poses.
|Strong, simplified figures, often in profile, were a hallmark of Art Deco.|
|The elegant doors of the first class dining hall.|
|Etched glass is another Art Deco medium. This design glorifies transportation, a theme|
common in Deco's successor - Streamline Moderne.
|This Deco clock is a real treasure. Once again, notice the simplified profile on the left - a common Deco symbol.|
|Beautiful sunburst in wood laminate.|
|Since the Queen Mary was made in Scotland, I wanted to see if there were any Art Nouveau influences in the interior|
design. This panel from Glasgow shows the organic, sinuous forms of the Nouveau Style which preceded Art Deco by about forty years. The Deco of Queen Mary features fewer curving branches but the similarities are apparent especially in the figure's profile.
|Deco sculpture features simplified, sinuous forms.|
|Art Deco meets Egypt meets eroticism. Notice the profiles again.|
|Many Art Deco buildings featured murals such as this one in one of the Queen Mary's many bars.|
|The Art Deco Bar is a Queen Mary highlight. Many bars in the 1920s and 30s featured a long painting or mural facing|
|Even the heating grates are stylized, streamline forms.|
|An important feature of the Deco period is the design of light fixtures. Notice the|
etched glass below the lamp.
Once you leave the Queen Mary, it's less than a mile to the Aquarium of the Pacific. Located on the waterfront, this user-friendly, two-story facility divides the Pacific into separate wings: the Northern Pacific Gallery, Southern California/Baja, and Tropical Pacific. Outside the galleries is Shark Lagoon and exhibits with rays, sea otters, seals and sea lions, steelhead trout, and penguins. Enjoy these highlight pics!
|My favorite tropical creature is the Sea Dragon from the Micronesia.|
|Even Southern California has a variety of sea horse.|
|Fish-easting anemones of the North Pacific waters.|
|Even though jellies have no brains, heart or eyes, they attract throngs of visitors.|
I end my blogpost highlighting my favorite Hoffy Tourist - Wanda Matjas - who makes a special vest for every Hoffy Tour. Not only is she a delightful, generous, and fun person, she has a creative knack with the sewing machine and the camera. She makes a special vest for every tour.
|Wanda's vest's tribute to the Queen Mary|
|Wanda made a separate vest for the Aquarium of the Pacific. Of course!|