The Queen Mary 2, the world’s largest ocean liner, made its first West Coast call early Wednesday in preparation for a meeting with its historic namesake. The $800 million ship, owned by Valencia-based Cunard Line, arrived in the Port of Los Angeles about 5 a.m. with 2,543 passengers. The QM2 was too tall to fit under the Vincent Thomas Bridge, which spans the Main Channel. Instead of turning under the bridge to back into its berth, the cruise ship had to sail down the channel backward. “Absolutely breathtaking,” spectator Matt Thornburg told KTLA-TV (Channel 5) after the arrival. “You see it a lot on the computers but to stand here at the berth and, you know, to feel it and see it and hear the whistle, it’s just something else. It’s history.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant Today, the Queen Mary 2 will sail into the neighboring Port of Long Beach to meet the original Queen Mary ocean liner, now permanently docked as a tourist attraction and hotel. Escorted by spouting fireboats, the QM2 will anchor about one-third of a mile from the Queen Mary at midday. The ships will greet each other with horn blasts, and after about an hour, the QM2 will head off for a cruise to Mexico. The QM2 and the Queen Mary, which was launched in 1934 and first sailed in 1936, were built by Cunard, originally based in Britain but now located alongside sister company Princess Cruises on Valencia’s Town Center Drive. Both lines are owned by Miami-based Carnival Corp. The original Queen Mary was an art-deco masterpiece that ferried celebrities across the Atlantic. During World War II, it was used as a troop ship and also carried British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to meetings. The ship was sold to Long Beach in 1967 and arrived there that December. The QM2 has 17 decks, is as tall as a 23-story building and, at 1,132 feet, is twice as long as the Washington Monument is tall and 113 feet longer than the Queen Mary. However, it only will hold the title of world’s largest passenger ship until May, when Royal Caribbean International christens the Freedom of the Seas. The QM2’s voyage to California was troubled. It left New York on Jan. 15, but hit the side of a shipping channel in Florida on Jan. 18 and damaged a motor, forcing it to use just three engines and reducing its speed. To make up for lost time, the cruise cut stops in Barbados, St. Kitts and Salvador, Brazil. Some passengers offered a 50 percent refund were unhappy and threatened a sit-in. The cruise line finally agreed to a full refund.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!