My Possible Encounter with Ghosts While Staying on the Queen Mary

So there I was, trying to sleep after a night of fun when I heard it.


The girls were in the bed next to me, and my husband was off in dream land beside me; the baby was in the corner actually sleeping, but I was wide awake staring into the darkness, shocked that anyone could sleep through the noise.


For a good seven minutes—from the time it woke me up at 2:02 am until 2:09 am, when it drifted off—I heard the sound of someone banging on something. My first reaction in my sleepy state was that it was from party-goers upstairs, but it was more intense and rhythmic than that…like a drum, but not a drum. It sounded like someone was hitting a pipe, only it was louder and a much deeper sound than a pipe would make.


Once I was more awake I thought it was coming from down below—like where the engine room is, but the sound was just so loud it sounded like it was the entire ship in on the banging.

It was a long, deep sounding—like a bass, and very repetitive, and deliberate—for seven straight minutes.


It finally faded away, like it was right around our room, or on our end of the ship, and then it passed through to the other end.

I waited to hear it again, but I never did. There was silence after (thank, God, because any other strange noises and I probably would’ve woken up my family and high-tailed it out of there), but that was enough for me. I don’t do well with being scared, so with my sheets up as high as they could go, I literally prayed that I could fall asleep quickly and not think about what…or who…was making that noise.

Staying on the Queen Mary

So why were we having a sleepover on The Queen Maryone of America’s most haunted places in the first place? Because that’s where my husband had his military ball. It was a great opportunity to get all fancy (I went with the blue dress, by the way!), and enjoy one of the more fun aspects that military life brings. Plus, since it was our first ball—finally—there was no way I’d pass it up for some tales of ghosts.

Well…wait. That’s pretty much a lie. If I’m being completely truthful: I had no idea about how haunted it really was. We told some friends were staying there a few weeks before, and my friend—who knows I’m a scardy cat—looked at me and said, “Jess, you do know that the Queen Mary is full of ghosts, right? Like, it’s really, actually haunted.”

I played it cool to save face, but I had no idea just how haunted it was. When we first got on the elevator the couple we met said that they were staying in a room with two ghosts. That’s when I silently prayed our room would be ghost free. I had three kids; I didn’t need to deal with extra spirits in the room (unless they were in our glasses, if you know what I mean)!

Also, ghosts aside, before staying there, I was naive about the rich history the Queen Mary had under its belt, how many famous people journeyed with her (from royalty and celebrities, to my husband’s grandma!), or just how magnificent that ship was (and still is) back then. When my husband first said that his Marine unit picked the QM for their ball, I just thought it would be so enchanting to celebrate and have fun on an old cruise ship.

And enchanting it was.

The Marine Ball on the Queen Mary

The ballrooms for the event were grand with floor to ceiling wooden pillars, and of course, being in a room full of marines (and my airman, of course) in their dress blues gave the whole experience an extra oomph.

Plus, the food was really pretty great!. Typically when you have food for an event it’s your run-of-the-mill mass-produced banquet grub, and it’s usually mediocre, but this one I wanted to write home about. (And actually did…in a text to my mom telling her how good it was).

They got a gold star for presentation starting with the salad, and ending with dessert. The tiramisu they served was honestly better than some place we had in Italy.

It was so much fun being surrounded by hundreds of marines for their ball. Since my husband is doing an exchange with the marines, it was really cool to experience it with such prestige, tradition, and pomp and circumstance. They definitely know how to throw a birthday bash.

Queen Mary’s Style

I loved the style of everything from the grand pillars to the elegant wood everywhere; I especially loved the art-deco elevators that felt like it literally transported us back to the 1930s from the minute we walked aboard. Everything on the Queen Mary was either revamped to look like the original, or you could tell that there was work in progress to make it like that.

The actual size—or length, rather—of the Queen Mary was astonishing. I’ve been on cruises before, but even from standing outside, this one just felt more majestic. It went on almost as far as my eye could see, and the look of it transported me to the early 1900’s.

I think it seemed so much bigger than your modern-day cruise ship because it didn’t have any of the fancy bells and whistles (swimming pools, decks around the outer portion of the boat, balconies, etc.); it was just stateroom after stateroom.

Our Family Room on the Queen Mary

I booked a family room for our stay, and prayed it would be large enough for all of us. If you’ve ever been on a cruise ship before, then you know that sometimes you have to squeeze your way into a shoe box, and there’s barely room to turn around. Thankfully, this room was roomy enough for all five of us.

It was pretty average as far as rooms go—if not a little outdated, but I chalked that up to the Queen Mary keeping its vintage style.

What I really loved about our room was the bathroom and the portholes.

The bathroom had that art-deco look to it, and, maybe because I was getting ready for the ball, but I channeled my inner 1930’s-self while I was in there, and imagined I was getting ready just like they would have. Back in the day, those who traveled on the Queen Mary were quite wealthy and rode it for a purpose.

The other cool thing we liked about our room were the portholes!

The kids got a kick out of seeing Long Beech when they peeped through them, and I liked the feel it gave to the room.

Actually Staying on the Queen Mary

Staying on the Queen Mary was definitely an experience. If you’ve ever seen The Shinning with Jack Nicholson, then you’ll understand this next reference, but I was fully expecting to see a ghosts, or a family of ghosts, or two little kid spirits at the end of one of their never-ending halls.

The lights in the cabin were just low enough to give it that eerie feeling, and the hall was just narrow enough where I was thankful I wasn’t claustrophobic.

If you like adventure or are looking for a place to stay in Long Beach that isn’t your run-of-the-mill hotel, then I recommend staying on the Queen Mary. It was full of excitement, intrigue, charm, history, and who knows…maybe you’ll encounter some ghosts of the pasts while you walk through the halls!




  1. Loved the post. Glad you had a good time. Who took care of the kids while you were at the banquet? I’m typing this on the new iPad your mom gave me and guess what color it is.

  2. Wow. What an experience! We’ve been on cruises, but definitely no ships like this! It looks absolutely stunning! (Although I think I would have been just as terrified as you are in the night. I wake up at anything!)

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