Finding another realm as lively with lore as the ship world is almost an impossibility. The myriad rules of the ocean, and the hallowed myths, and how ships greet one another, and how the crew conducts itself, and the many (many many) legends surrounding the waters of the world can, and do, fill books.
This isn't the stuff of legend, either. Modern vessels perform age-old rites, as the public will see on Thursday, Feb. 5 when the Queen Mary's "niece" -- Cunard's Queen Elizabeth -- pops by Long Beach for a visit.
Well "pops by" in shiply terms isn't quite right; "glides in, in a stately manner" is more accurate. The event is being hailed as "The Royal Rendezvous" and it has only happened a few times before, including in 2013.
But this time has a twist, lovers of oceanic facts and fables: The Queen Elizabeth will "berth adjacent to the Queen Mary," a first in the company's history. What won't be a first, and is now tradition when a modern Cunard comes to call upon the Queen Mary, is the whistle salute between the ships and fireworks celebrating the duo's reunion.
This is the fourth time that the Queen Mary has "crossed paths" with a family ship since making a home in Long Beach in 1967. The first Queen Elizabeth "was the sister-ship to the Queen Mary." The pair "made over 2,000 trans-Atlantic voyages when in active service for Cunard."
While visitors won't be able to board the Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mary will offer free admission starting at 10 a.m. (do note that parking is $15). Jazz, bagpipes, speeches, and the opening of the Ship Model Gallery are all part of the day's festive to-dos.
As for actually seeing the Queen Elizabeth arrive? Well, that'll be an early one, boat buffs: The vessel'll pull into Long Beach well ahead of the sun, at around 5 a.m., and the ship shall push off between 6 and 7 p.m. (just listen for the bagpipes, which will bid the Queen Elizabeth farewell).
What to do, where to go and what to see
Count the meeting between two floating cities, and the first-ever berthing of a visiting Cunard ship, as another page in the big book of Southern California ship-specific lore.