For the first time in 45 years, the Cunard cruise liner Queen Elizabeth will be within sight of its sister ship, the Queen Mary, as the two queens are docked in Long Beach tonight.
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 Queen Elizabeth is scheduled to arrive in Long Beach at 6:30 p.m., and the two ships 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 Wednesday will steam to Puerto Vallarta.