Feature Travel

The Adventures of the Queen Mary

Step Back into the Golden Age of Ocean Travel...

The RMS Queen Mary, flagship of the British-American Cunard-White Star Cruise Line, began her storied run in May 1936 as part of a two-ship weekly express service between Southampton, England and New York City. She served as such until the outbreak of World War II, when she was converted to a troopship that valiantly ferried Allied soldiers to and from Europe for the duration of the war.

Upon the Queen Mary’s return to service as a passenger ship after the war concluded, 16-year-old Dave Wooders saw her steaming into the Southampton harbor, and felt the tug of excitement as a life at sea beckoned. Hired as a bellboy after securing an interview with the ship’s personnel officer, Wooders packed his bag and jumped onto the voyage – and job – of a lifetime, which he and co-author James Radford have chronicled in their book, Adventures on the Queen Mary…Tales of a Teenage Crew Member.

Filled with Wooders’ first-hand reminiscences and hundreds of carefully-selected archival images, Adventures on the Queen Mary captures the good, the bad, the scary, the romantic, and the fun of life at sea aboard one of the world’s most renowned ocean liners.

Adventures on the Queen Mary is like no other book out there about the subject,” says Radford. “It’s a story that shares one person’s thoughts, feelings and descriptions - and the wonder and admiration at the heart of it all. Wooders’ recollections, coupled with the impressive array of beautiful photos, really bring the Queen Mary to life right before your eyes.”  

Brimming with interesting historical facts and first-hand accounts, Adventures on the Queen Mary shares with readers the fascinating, intimate details about life and culture aboard the luxury liner -- and the Queen Mary herself.  Readers can enjoy a close up of the lifestyles of the rich and famous who traveled aboard – from movie stars to Olympic athletes and captains of industry.  It honors the Queen Mary’s war service especially during WW11.  Queen Mary was ahead of her time in various ways the story tells of how diverse passengers aboard were treated with respect in the ways the ship embraced religious and ethnic differences.   Read about how the Queen Mary came to rest in Long Beach, California and how her spirit haunts the vessel today.



As a kid in the early 1970s, the author, James Radford became infatuated with the Queen Mary after seeing the ship in the classic disaster movie “The Poseidon Adventure”. After graduating from Freed-Hardeman University with a B.A. in Communications, Radford moved to Los Angeles, CA, where his love affair took a step forward with the serendipitous docking of the Queen Mary in nearby Long Beach. A member of the Screen Actors Guild, Radford has appeared in a variety of commercials and been a consultant for 20th Century Fox’s 2006 special edition DVD release of “The Poseidon Adventure”. In addition to his newest offering, Adventures on the Queen Mary, co-created with David Wooders, Radford is also the author of the children’s book The ABCs of the Queen Mary, which has been available on board the Queen Mary since 2004. This past summer, Radford experienced the voyage of a lifetime – sailing two back-to-back, trans-Atlantic crossings on the Queen Mary II with noted maritime collector, Johnathan Quayle. 

Growing up in Southampton, England, Dave Wooders was always enamored with the ocean liners he saw pulling in and out of port. In 1957, shortly after turning 16, he left school to begin work as a bellboy on the famous ocean liner Queen Mary.  After Wooders finished his last contract with Cunard, he went on to work as a paramedic for the next thirty years and then spent the following decade as a medic instructor at the Hampshire Police Training College. Wooders currently resides in Southampton with his wife, Beryl, where he still enjoys telling people about his unforgettable time at sea aboard the Queen Mary.

Learn more about the book and connect with the author on Facebook and Goodreads.  Adventures on the Queen Mary is now available in paperback at Amazon and select independent retailers, including Book Soup on the famous Sunset Strip.