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A nostalgic stay on the Queen Mary

Cheri Sicard is the author of The Low Carb Restaurant Guide -- Eat Out at America's Favorite Restaurants and Stay on Your Diet (2004, M. Evans) and two other books.

A visit to the Queen

The Queen Mary was, in her heyday, called "The Queen of the Atlantic." Bedecked in art deco elegance, the ship was unlike anything the seas had ever known. Superb craftsmanship made up her 12 decks and some of the world's most renowned statesmen and stars made Atlantic crossings in her comfortable cabins and statesrooms. Learn more about this majestic ship, and what it offers for a great getaway!

Queen Mary

Wine and dine options

The Observation Bar, an art deco showcase, is the perfect spot for a nightcap. Live entertainment is offered, but I personally found gazing at the gorgeous surroundings more entertaining than the music of the lounge singer. The Promenade Cafe is available for casual dining, (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and offers everything from quick snacks to full meals. The Chelsea is a casual bistro specializing in fresh seafood.

The crown jewel of the Queen Mary's restaurants, however, is Sir Winston's. Elegant settings and a spectacular view add to the experience of outstanding food. Situated at the rear of the ship, this is a wonderful place to enjoy the sunset while sampling some of Southern California's most outstanding cuisine. Sir Winston's was recently honored by the Southern California Restaurant Writers with a prestigious Gold Award.

Specialties include seafood, pasta, plus a selection of game and beef. A couple of our favorites were the wild mushroom crepe and the warm goat cheese in a crisp potato basket for appetizers. The Santa Barbara Prawns are a good dinner choice for those who like something somewhat sweet and the grilled salmon was excellent.

While the food at Sir Winston's was great, the desserts were outstanding, particularly the soufflés -- Grand Mariner was my favorite, although the chocolate Kahlua was hardly shabby. Chocolate covered strawberries and truffles finished the evening.

Between great lodging, wonderful dining, the floating gallery of art deco masterpieces and incredible history, the Queen Mary still has a lot to offer, even though she no longer sails the seas. When visiting Southern California be sure to make this a stop on your agenda. It's difficult to put into words just how special it truly is. It is a feeling that simply needs to be experienced.

Going to the Queen Mary

The Queen Mary is located at 1126 Queens Highway in Long Beach, California. Attraction hours are 10 am to 6 pm daily. There is a free Runabout Shuttle at many locations in downtown Long Beach. Visit the Queen Mary's web site at www.queenmary.com.

For hotel reservations call (800)437-2934 or (310)432-6964. For general or group information, call (310)435-6964.

Restaurants & bars

Queen Mary

Observation Bar is opened nightly with complimentary hors d'oeuvres served Sundays through Fridays, 5 to 7 pm. Sunday brunch is from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm. Reservations are required, call (310)499-1606. Casual dress is accepted, however, no jeans, shorts or sandals or permitted.

The Chelsea has a casual dress code and is open weekdays for lunch from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, and Wednesdays through Sundays for dinner from 5:30 to 10 pm. Reservations are recommended. Call (310)435-3511.

Sir Winston's is opened daily from 5:30 PM. An evening dress code requests that jackets be worn. Reservations are required. Call (310)435-3511.

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