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Haunted Cruise Ships: RMS Queen Mary

Haunted Cruise Ships: RMS Queen Mary

Considered the most haunted cruise ship in the world, the RMS Queen Mary is reportedly home to over 150 ghosts. During her decades of service both as an ocean liner and as a troopship in WWII, she carried more than three million passengers across the Atlantic. Have some of them never left?

According to the Queen Mary‘s passenger logbooks, 47 passengers have died on board. However, many more servicemen reportedly also met their ends on the ship.

Archivist Bill Winberg told the Los Angeles Times in 1988 that during her service in WWII “…there was a burial at sea every four hours. There also are stories of soldiers who would literally jump ship as the Queen Mary left New York and who knows how many of these people drowned or made it to shore.”

Whether or not you believe in ghosts (I put myself in the camp of “interested skeptics”), many visitors to the ship have reported unexplained noises, apparitions, disembodied voices, and more creepy phenomena.

Time Magazine even named the Queen Mary as one of the top 10 most haunted places in the world!

The Queen Mary, built in 1936 as a luxury ocean liner and the flagship of the Cunard Line, has had a permanent home in Long Beach, California since her retirement in 1967.

RMS Queen Mary in the 1930s (“RMS Queen Mary” by simpleinsomnia is licensed under CC BY 2.0)

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RMS Queen Mary’s most famous ghosts

Over the years, thousands of visitors and staff have reported seeing apparitions, hearing unexplained noises, or experiencing other potentially paranormal phenomena.

Beginning in the early 1990s, ghost hunter and psychic medium Peter James spent many years conducting tours of the ship and allegedly communicating with its spirits.

Through his investigations, James was able to associate names with several of the entities. However, most don’t line up with actual known deaths aboard the ship.

Some of the spirits that reportedly haunt the ship include a “lady in white”, a former crewmember who disappears into thin air, and various playful children.

Let’s take a look at some of the most often encountered ghosts on this haunted cruise ship!

John Pedder

The entity sometimes called “Half Latch Harry” lurks in corridors and elevators near the engine room. Visitors to the area known as Shaft Alley sometimes report being followed by a bearded man in work overalls who disappears near door 13.

Other visitors to the area claim to hear unexplained banging on pipes, seeing greasy handprints appear on the walls, and even unseen hands grabbing their clothing or bags.

Could this be the ghost of a former crew member? In July 1966, a tragic accident resulted in the death of one of the ship’s firemen. Eighteen-year-old John Pedder was crushed between a watertight door and its frame. The door number? Thirteen.

Years after Pedder’s death, a tour guide on the Queen Mary reportedly felt an eerie presence behind her. As she turned around to see a young man standing there, the figure suddenly disappeared before her eyes.

Despite not knowing about Pedder’s story, the guide picked him out of a photo lineup as the man she had seen.

Although the fact that Pedder died in this area is well-documented, no one is sure of the cause. People have speculated that it was due to a game of “chicken” gone wrong, murder by his fellow crew, or just a freak accident. No witnesses ever came forward, so it remains a mystery.


A spirit known as “Dana” is a young girl who supposedly roams the halls of the Queen Mary. Visitors also report Dana haunting the archive and cargo areas of the ship, playing and hiding behind storage crates.

According to legend, a family of four occupying room B-474 met their end when the father strangled his wife and one of the children and left their lifeless bodies on the bed.

He then shot his remaining daughter in the bathroom, and took his own life. Many believe that daughter is Dana, who continues to haunt the ship to this day.

Is the awful story of the murder-suicide true? If it is, there’s certainly no record of it.

But the little lost spirit known as Dana may be the source of other ghostly goings-on. In the area that used to house the second-class pool, she heartbreakingly cries out for her mother.

You may also like: 29 Weird Cruise Ship Superstitions Cruisers Should Know

The Woman by the Pool

One of the full-bodied apparitions that famously haunts the ship is The Woman by the Pool.

Adult-sized wet footprints and puddles sometimes appear along the edge of the first-class pool or near the changing room, announcing the imminent appearance of this specter.

Visitors describe the spirit as a woman in her late 20s or early 30s, wearing a 1930s-style swimsuit. The identity of this ghost remains a mystery, but she’s certainly enjoyed many refreshing swims over the past century, though the pool no longer contains any water.

John Henry

The ghost known as John Henry may have been a member of the Queen Mary’s original construction crew in the 1930s. However, some think he was actually a young wannabe-sailor who lied about his age to get a job aboard the luxury ship.

Most believers do agree that the man perished in or near one of the ship’s boiler rooms, but the cause of his death is a matter of debate.

Although the area was later transformed into a dressing room for performers at the Boiler Room Stage, visitors to the former boiler room sometimes hear unexplained tapping and clanging on the wall. Some even claim spying a shadowy figure hanging out in the location, or a mysterious face peering down at them from a hole in the ceiling.

The spirit of John Henry is notorious for touching visitors, and he seems to like women more than men. Tales of unexplained pushing and grabbing of male guests are common. But some ladies report feeling a gentle hand brushing their cheek or hair. Creepy!


The most commonly recorded spirit on the Queen Mary, “Jacqueline Torin” or “Jackie” interacts with visitors in the first- and second-class pool areas.

This extroverted spirit is uncommonly playful with visitors, answering questions, laughing, and even singing songs when prompted. She often plaintively asks for her parents or her teddy bear.

Jackie’s ghost reportedly is also the source of splashing and giggling sounds coming from the first-class pool. Little wet footsteps made by invisible feet appear, heading in the direction of the locker room.

Did Jackie tragically drown in the second-class pool? Many believe she did, but no record exists of anyone drowning in a pool on the ship.

The Lady in White

Guests on ghost tours often recount stories of seeing a beautiful young woman in a white, 1930’s-style evening gown. Dancing in a corner of the Queen’s Cellar (formerly the first-class lounge), she’ll disappear before your eyes if you dare to approach her.

Others spot her standing by the piano in the lobby, the very same piano that reportedly used to entertain passengers in the lounge. Perhaps after listening to her fill of music from a bygone era, the Lady in White wanders down the hallway to the elevators, where she vanishes.

No one knows the true identity of this music-loving spirit. But unlike some of the more tragic ghosts on the ship, she appears to always enjoy herself. Maybe she’s a former passenger, returned to the ship to replay happy memories for all eternity?

Haunted Locations around the Queen Mary

In addition to haunted locations around the ship that believers attribute to a specific spirit or two, there’s one spot that’s just notoriously scary. Would you dare to venture near the most haunted room on the ship?

Room B340

Many guest rooms on the Queen Mary have a history of hauntings. But of all the twelve decks on the ship, B deck seems to have the most reports of paranormal activity. The scariest room on all of B deck is undoubtedly B340.

Guests and staff often report strange noises, footsteps and phantom knocks on the door. But more terrifying are the stories of clothes hangers and furniture moving on their own, and faucets and lights turning on and off by an unseen hand. Some guests even report feeling the touch of a ghostly presence, or blankets being ripped off the bed in the middle of the night!

B340 was so notorious that hotel management closed the room in the mid-1980s and gutted it of all its furnishings. For thirty years, Room B340 remained off-limits to guests. But still, people staying in adjacent rooms reported unusual noises and even apparitions disappearing through their guest room walls…into Room B340.

Why so much ghostly activity in this particular room? One story says that a staff member was murdered in the room, but I haven’t found any evidence that this actually happened. Interestingly, the room is near the first class pool, an area notable for ghostly activity. Could Room B340 be a vortex or portal?

If you want to find out for yourself, Room B340 is now welcoming overnight guests again (well, maybe not quite welcoming).

Are you a fan of haunted hotels? You’ll also like: The Historic (and Haunted) Francis Marion Hotel, Charleston

The Queen Mary today

Although the ship served for many years as a hotel and museum, hosting about 1.5 million visitors each year, The Queen Mary closed during the pandemic, and her fate was uncertain for several years—primarily due to the cost of much-needed structural repairs and mismanagement by her owners.

But in early 2022 the City of Long Beach regained control of the iconic ocean liner, and pledged five million dollars for her repairs, in an effort to reopen the ship to the public.

More good news arrived in late September 2022, when Long Beach announced a five-year partnership with a hospitality group to reopen and operate the ship’s hotel and attractions. The deal includes $1.5 M in funding from the city, so Queen Mary fans are hopeful.

Visiting the Queen Mary in 2022

Whether you’re a fan of all things ghostly, a cruise ship enthusiast, or a history buff, consider visiting RMS Queen Mary if you’re planning to be in the Los Angeles area. The ship is 17.6 miles (28.3km) from LAX and just 4.4 miles (7km) from Long Beach Airport.

Even while the ship is closed for renovations, you can still see the Queen Mary from Long Beach’s waterfront, or up close from Carnival’s cruise port.

My shoreside view of RMS Queen Mary lit up in Long Beach in August 2021, the night before Carnival Panorama‘s first post-shutdown sailing

The ship’s pretty nighttime lights have stayed on—even during the closure—and they’re easy to spot from the shore in Long Beach. My favorite place to enjoy them is from the waterfront around sunset, when her lights twinkle on the harbor.

Or see the ship up close if you’re taking a Carnival cruise from Los Angeles! The Queen Mary‘s mooring is adjacent to Carnival’s Long Beach cruise terminal.

The view of the Queen Mary from a Carnival ship at the port of Long Beach

Planning a visit to the Queen Mary when she reopens

Note: Although the Queen Mary is temporarily closed to hotel and tour guests as of Autumn 2022, I’m keeping the following visitor info up for your future plans. Based on current funding and partnerships, the ship will reopen in 2023 for guests.

Queen Mary features a hotel, a shopping arcade, and three restaurants. A variety of tours and events take place each day.

Ghost Tours of the Queen Mary

If you’re planning to visit during daylight hours, the Queen Mary offers daily hour-long ghost tours called Haunted Encounters. Tours are available from 11:30 AM until 6:30 PM, and run on the half-hour (hours may sometimes vary).

For the ultimate spooky experience, after-dark visitors have a variety of ghostly nighttime activities including a paranormal ship walk or a group dining experience followed by a haunted history tour.

Visitors with mobility challenges should be aware that some areas of the ship are inaccessible, and tours may include lots of stairs.

You can pre-purchase tickets before your visit from the ship’s ticket office.

Staying aboard the Queen Mary

Paranormal enthusiasts won’t want to miss a chance to stay overnight on the Queen Mary. The hotel features 347 original staterooms and suites, all located in the first-class section of the ship. Art Deco rooms range from Standard Staterooms with portholes (they actually open!) to full suites with separate living and sleeping areas and a breakfast nook.

If you’re planning a cruise that begins or ends in LA, Carnival’s cruise port is literally next door! Los Angeles World Cruise Center is also less than eight miles from the hotel, making it the perfect choice for your pre-or post-cruise accommodation.

Click here to check prices and availability for the Queen Mary Hotel.

You may also like: The Story of the First Cruise Ship: SS Prinzessin Victoria Luise

Requesting a stay in Room B340

Want to stay in the most haunted room on the Queen Mary? Since reopening in April 2018, Room B340 (now part of a two-room suite) comes complete with Ouija boards, tarot cards, and a crystal ball.

If you’re brave enough to stay the night, you can request the room by booking directly through the hotel. Not quite so brave? Don’t worry, guests won’t end up in the scariest room on the ship unless they specifically request it.

Have you ever toured the Queen Mary? Would you consider staying overnight on a haunted cruise ship? Let me know in the comments below!

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Carrie Ann Karstunen


Saturday 25th of November 2023

Hello! I just came back from a trip to California, and we did actually did the Haunted Encounters tours on the RMS Queen Mary. We were told many ghost stories and it was so interesting. My daughter (who is 24 years old) felt like the back of her hair was tugged at a little bit in the engine room before we even started the tour. You definitely felt a presence there. I took many pictures in the same spots (where our guide told us there had been apparitions-I need to take a closer look at my pictures). The ship is so beautiful though. There was one room where the wood was in its natural state and it was so breathtaking. Nothing had been done to it. I wish I could remember the name of the wood. I may just call and ask! If you ever get out that way, you will not be disappointed. Oh, a lady on our tour group had a spirit box (to capture if any spirits wanted to talk) and my daughter and her boyfriend did hear a little girls voice. I don't know what or if they could make out what she said, but they heard it. So many spirits in one place, truly fascinating.

Carrie Ann

Sunday 26th of November 2023

Hi Stephanie, thanks so much for sharing your spooky experiences touring the Queen Mary! I got chills when you said your daughter felt her hair tugged in the engine room. Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday 4th of August 2021

OMG! I spent the night on this ship - with about a dozen others, and we had complete access. We all were together in the keel, as far down as you could go and well below water level, when we could hear voices. Lots and lots of voices.

And absolutely incredible experience!

Carrie Ann

Thursday 5th of August 2021

Wow, Pamm! Reading your comment sent shivers down my spine! I probably would have run screaming from the ship if I heard all those voices. You're braver than I :D


Monday 19th of October 2020

That's so crazy! I am not willing to stay in a haunted room because I 100% believe this stuff and it would spook me! Great post!

Carrie Ann

Tuesday 20th of October 2020

Mikkel, I hear you! I'd be terrified to stay in that haunted room. Even if I didn't see anything strange, I know I wouldn't be able to sleep a wink. Glad you liked the post! :D

Joseph Benson

Saturday 10th of October 2020

Spooky! It would sure be an experience to run into one of these spectral beings on a cruise.

Carrie Ann

Sunday 11th of October 2020

Joe, right?? I love hearing spooky ghost stories, but I'm not sure I'd want to meet a ghost on a cruise. Or anywhere else for that matter! :D


Saturday 10th of October 2020

Remember coming here more than 15 years ago as a little kid and being totally spooked. The pool room in particular scared me!

Carrie Ann

Sunday 11th of October 2020

Taylor, that must have been so creepy as a little kid! I wonder if anyone mentioned the ship's ghost stories to you, or if you just picked up on something ghostly on your own?