Going to the Queen Mary just to eat lunch these days is a hassle. It used to be that you could park the car, walk onto the ship and sit down at your chosen eatery as if it were any restaurant in any strip mall in any town. Buying tickets to board was a chore reserved for those who wanted to pay for tours, special events or see the exhibits on the historic hunk of steel.
The powers that be, however, realized at some point in the last few years that certain scumbags (not this one) were wandering onto the moored vessel for free and not spending money, but instead raising hell, which pisses off tourists and doesn't do much good for profits.
So today, parking will run you $17 unless you get your ticket validated, in which case it's $6 (don't lose the ticket or it'll be $38). Then, in order to even get on the ship, you have to stand in a winding ticket line in the parking lot and pay $15 up front for a non-refundable voucher that can be redeemed for food or drink anywhere on the ship (this doesn't apply if you buy a tour or something).
Then, and only then--with promissory notes in hand--are you allowed to take the elevator to the upper decks and dine at the best value on the whole ship: the Promenade Cafe, a restaurant with food and a view that's thankfully worth all the inconvenience.More »