On the day limited tours of the Queen Mary began taking place for the first time since March 2020, Long Beach announced an annual membership program Thursday that will help fund ongoing renovations of the historic vessel.
“We hope this first of its kind membership opportunity will continue the public's excitement and anticipation as we move closer to reopening additional amenities onboard the ship next year,'' Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement.
“This also gives community members the opportunity to contribute to the ongoing preservation of the ship through their membership fee donation.”
The membership program is a partnership between the city -- which regained control of the tourist attraction in June 2021 for the first time in four decades -- and Long Beach Heritage. Evolution Hospitality and the Queen Mary Heritage Foundation will collaborate as well, the city said.
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Currently, a Tourist Class Membership is being offered for $150 per year, with additional tiers to be implemented in the spring. Members will begin receiving benefits once additional elements and amenities begin to reopen in the spring, and the membership will be honored for a year thereafter, the city said.
Benefits of the Tourist Class membership include:
- general admission for members with limited block-out dates;
- two general admission day passes a year;
- hotel guest pricing for tour/exhibit/attraction tickets;
- 24-hour presale on Queen Mary signature events, and
- discounted tickets during the presale of signature events.
Membership dues will be tax-deductible.
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“The Queen Mary truly is a treasure that is beloved near and far,” said First District Councilwoman Mary Zendejas.
“This new membership program gives people from all over the opportunity to play a part in the ongoing preservation of the ship, while getting great benefits.”
Limited tours of some sections of the ship began on Thursday after they were canceled because of the pandemic -- and by critically needed structural repairs.
Published reports last year said the 86-year-old rusting, leaking ocean liner was in need of some $23 million in immediate repairs or it could fall into critical disrepair -- and even face the possibility of sinking.
In February, the city began the first phase of repairs after identifying about $5 million in critical repair work -- half of which was included in this year's municipal budget. The initial repair work was also to include the installation of bilge pumps and some electrical work.
Attention was also needed on the ship's bulkhead, emergency generator and “water intrusion system,” according to the city.
“Addressing these critical repairs has been a long time coming and an effort that will greatly benefit the structural safety and historical preservation of the Queen Mary,'' Zendejas said earlier this year.
“With the city now overseeing control of the ship, I am confident this year will bring tremendous progress towards protecting this historic feature of our community.”
To purchase a membership, make a donation and get more information, go to the Long Beach Heritage website at lbheritage.org/queen-mary.