Pre-cruise: We stayed at the Crowne Plaza in San Pedro for one night pre-cruise. The Crowne Plaza is about a 20-25 minute ride from the Long Beach airport, but the hotel doesn't offer an airport shuttle. However, we had reserved space on-line in advance for the four of us with Prime Time Shuttle service for $42 total. The shuttle was ready and waiting when we arrived!
The Crowne Plaza itself is a very popular pre-cruise hotel. Though we arrived to the hotel at 11 a.m., and check-in was not until 3 p.m., our two rooms were ready for us. The concierge was the highlight of our stay, welcoming us warmly upon arrival and promptly giving me his business card and offering up his area recommendations (which I did use). After unpacking and quickly settling in, the concierge arranged a driver for us who would first take us to In-N-Out Burger, wait while we nibbled, take us to the Queen Mary back in Long Beach, then pick us up at the end of the day and drive us back to the Crowne Plaza in San Pedro. He promptly offered a driver who would do all of this for $65 total. What a bargain! With tip, we ended up paying $80 (or $20 per person) for this service.
The Queen Mary tour is something I highly recommend for anyone interested in ghost stories or the paranormal. While the ship itself really has not been well-maintained, i.e. stained carpets, mildew smell in certain areas, paint chipped from walls, scrapes and marks on walls, and a basic look of a once-beautiful ship just kept for tours, it does offer a fun and engaging look at the ghosts and legends that make up her history. We opted for the "Haunted Encounters Passport" which entitled us to the self-guided tour (beware that if you are not good with directions, your feet will become weary from losing your way in the bowels of the ship), the "Ghosts and Legends" tour and the "Haunted Encounters" tour for a cost of $27.95 per person. The fee was well worth the tours of areas not open to the public for general browsing, as we were exposed to a doorway where a crew member had been crushed and has been known to still visit the space, the boiler room where a young girl's spirit visits on occasion, and various cabins where passengers had died - and have "come back to life" - over the course of Queen Mary's life on the seas. Dedicate 3-4 hours to ensure you have time to join in the guided tours as they do fill up fast!
We booked an Inside cabin (#4461), midship, Category K, just down the hall from the Champagne Bar. The great thing about the location of this cabin was that it is located in a corridor as opposed to a main hallway. The result is absolute quietness from passersby, though we did hear the occasional footsteps from those above us in the casino. The size of the cabin was much larger than we were expecting, providing ample storage and closet space with a mini couch to sit and lounge without feeling cramped or claustrophobic. Be warned though that there was no mini fridge in this cabin. While not a big deal, it was a surprise.
To see a tour of this cabin, click this link or copy and paste it into your browser: