A couple years ago, the Queen Mary experimented with a small hybrid skating rink on deck, but it was too small and people didn't really like skating on the synthetic ice. This year, they've put a 6,500-foot real Ice Skating rink out in front of the ship as part of their new Queen Mary CHILL winter attraction (Not to be confused with CHILL at the W Los Angeles in Westwood).
In line with the winter theme, they've built a ice igloo inside the Queen Mary Dome, where visitors can don a long blue parka to step into a 9-degree 13,000-square-foot Ice Kingdom filled with magical giant ice sculptures inspired by the ice festivals of Harbin, China. Many of the Chinese ice sculptors who worked on the Ice Kingdom in Long Beach actually came from Harbin. A castle and unicorn of ice make way for a toy room of huge toys carved in colored ice, a crystal clear life-size nativity scene and an ice replica of the Queen Mary surrounded by sea life, with multiple ice slides (included with admission). The parka is optional, but you'll want it, not just because it's freezing inside, but it makes it easier to slide on the ice slides. Regular coats and jeans don't slide well on ice (as I discovered for myself) and scooching on ice isn't nearly as fun as sliding.
Also inside the dome is a 100-foot Ice-Tubing slide (no parka necessary), available for a separate fee. Just like at a water park, you haul your tube up the stairs and slide down the slick ice at high speed. Staff are available to carry the tubes up for little kids who can't carry their own. They're charging $12.95 for a 5-slide wristband, but I'd really like to see them come up with a single slide price, because, I don't know how many adults will want to slide down 5 times, especially if there's a line.
A Holiday Village adds more festive activities in the form of visits with Santa, gingerbread house decorating, carolers, snacks and lots of gift shopping opportunities.
The Holiday Village, Ice Kingdom and Ice Tubing are open now, and the skating rink opens on Thanksgiving Day.
When: November 17, 2012 - January 6, 2013
Where: Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach, CA 90802
Cost: Ice Kingdom $24.95 adult, $19.95 kids; Ice Skating $12.95/hour $2.95 skate rental (free rental with Tubing or Ice Kingdom admission), Ice Tubing $12.95 for a 5-slide wristband. Any 1 attraction includes admission to the Queen Mary ship ($24.95 value). Check Goldstar.com for half price admission to Ice Kingdom only.