When I was a young boy we used to holiday on the English south coast. We soon got to know the raked funnels on the horizon of the Queen Mary (three) and the Queen Elisabeth (two), the Cunard Line’s two great trans-Atlantic cruise ships, as they sailed out of Southampton Water and the Solent on their way to Cherbourg and New York. On one occasion my father learned that the Queen Mary was in Southampton Port and we went to visit her. I remember walking along a long hall in Southampton’s Ocean Terminal Building and then stepping out onto a balcony and gazing at a black, riveted wall, punctuated by portholes. And then I looked up, and up, and up and up…. To that young me, the ship was unbelievably big. I can date this experience. It was August in either 1965 or 1966. In 1967 the ship was retired and sold to Long Beach, California, where it was transformed into a floating hotel. This midday I gazed on that black, riveted wall again, for we are staying tonight on the Queen Mary in Long Beach. It was an oddly touching experience, for I hadn’t seen the ship again in almost fifty years. The black paint is peeling a bit but the Queen is still an impressively big ship and, as my next post will explain, a floating museum of considerable interest as well as a very special hotel. With a start I realised that we were looking at the waters of the Pacific Ocean. We have done it! We have travelled ‘coast-to-coast’!