A royal rendezvous of sorts will take place in Long Beach tonight, when the Cunard cruise liner Queen Elizabeth docks alongside its much older sister ship, the Queen Mary.
The Queen Elizabeth is the youngest ship in Cunard’s fleet, and was given the name by the queen herself in October 2010 — a throwback to the 1950s and 60s, when the original Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mary cruise liners shuttled passengers across the North Atlantic.
The Queen Mary has been retired for 45 years, and is permanently moored in the Long Beach harbor as a hotel, restaurant and tourist attraction.
Tonight’s meeting will be the first encounter between the Queen Mary and a Queen Elizabeth since 1967, when the Queen Mary made its final transatlantic crossing and passed by its sister ship amid a display of pageantry.
The two ships had been operating since 1947.
The Queen Mary was visited in Long Beach by the Queen Mary 2 in 2006 and by another Cunard liner, the Queen Victoria, in 2011.
Cunard’s new Queen Elizabeth is scheduled to arrive in Long Beach at 6:30 p.m.
The two queens will exchange whistle blasts in a mutual salute at 7 p.m., followed by a fireworks show at 7:30 p.m.
Free admission to the Queen Mary will be offered beginning at 4 p.m. so the public can view the maritime meeting from the older ship’s decks.
The Queen Elizabeth on Wednesday will head to Puerto Vallarta.