New Yorkers rave about Rockefeller Center, in part for its sheer Christmas-y feel this time of year. And while we're maybe *slightly* jealous -- in a good way -- we are proud to boast about the Queen Mary.
Both have trees, and while the New York location may put the tree up a tad earlier, and it may be bigger, the Queen Mary's fine fir goes up fast on its heels.
The lighting date for 2009 is Wednesday, December 9th. The celebration takes place from 6-7:30PM. And if you can show with a toy (unwrapped, natch) for the Long Beach Fire Department donation program, you will receive a hearty thanks and a feeling of happiness inside.
Like Rockefeller Center, the Long Beach-based ocean liner was built in the 1930s and just oozes class, swankiness and atmosphere; it's like you're suddenly back in the day when men wore fedoras and called guys "buddy" with a wink and a handshake.
The Queen Mary tree is no match for the New York fir -- what is, really? -- but it is always gorgeous, and the sheer fun of being on the big boat (which isn't going anywhere, not since 1967) with such history kind of feels holiday-ish year-round.
There are also free treats at the lighting, reduced parking fees (with validation), as well as free general admission starting at 4PM. We would definitely schedule some time on the boat, before and after the lighting. Something warming at the Observation Bar, perhaps?
Expect a celebratory night in a celebratory place.