Damian Dovarganes  /  AP
The Queen Mary 2, the world's largest ocean liner, top right, moves near its historic namesake the Queen Mary, docked below, Feb. 23, at the Long Beach Harbor, in Long Beach, Calif.
updated 2/23/2006 7:54:10 PM ET 2006-02-24T00:54:10

With horn blasts heard for miles, the Queen Mary 2 paid tribute Thursday to its historic predecessor as it made its first visit to the West Coast.

The QM2 sounded its horn three times and the old Queen Mary responded in a ceremony in Long Beach harbor, where the 1934 vessel has served as a tourist attraction for nearly 40 years.

“I love the sound she makes,” said Cynthia Chapman, 69, of Kent, England. “It’s really awe-inspiring.”

The world’s largest ocean liner entered the harbor surrounded by sailboats and yachts. Thousands of people lined the channel walkway and swarmed the decks of the old liner as its 21st century successor arrived.

The QM2 arrived a day earlier at the neighboring Port of Los Angeles. It was to depart later on a cruise to Mexico with about 2,500 guests.

Both Queen Marys were built by the Cunard Line, originally based in Britain but now located in Santa Clarita, Calif., and owned by Miami-based Carnival Corp.

The first Queen Mary was launched in 1934 and when it sailed in 1936 was considered the last word in elegance for trans-Atlantic crossings. The Art Deco masterpiece ferried the likes of Bob Hope and the Duke of Windsor. The ship was sold to Long Beach in 1967, and is now a hotel and museum, which have had financial troubles.

The QM2 was launched in 2004, and is as tall as a 23-story building and 1,132 feet long. While it still makes Atlantic crossings, most destinations are in the Pacific and Caribbean.

It will lose its ranking as the world’s largest passenger ship in May, when Royal Caribbean International, a unit of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., christens the Freedom of the Seas.

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