Your guide to the creepiest, cleverest, & scariest mazes at the Queen Mary's Dark Harbor

The Queen Mary is infamous for being haunted, and during its Dark Harbor Halloween event, it’s even easier to see how the ship earned that reputation. Thrill seekers can visit six haunted mazes, including three on the old ship herself, as well as enjoy carnival-style food, games, and entertainment. If you think you have what it takes to brave the ghost ship of Long Beach and meet its denizens face-to-face, check out our rankings and tips for the best experience.
The most innovative mazes

Winner – B340

B340 exemplifies the unique opportunities that come with putting a haunted maze on a ship. Visitors find themselves in the middle of a police investigation after a grisly rampage by Samuel the Savage. Evidence markers, caution tape, pulsing synthwave music, and a detective's voiceover make you feel like you're starring in a supernatural crime TV show, an impressive feat. The setting of the ship is also used to remarkable effect. One portion features the real elevator lobby turned sinister, complete with its Art Deco styling. After navigating claustrophobic corridors, visitors arrive at Stateroom B340, where they can appreciate Samuel's gory masterpiece before departing (hopefully before Samuel returns). 
A scene from the maze B340 aboard the Queen Mary

Runner-up – Deadrise

Most Halloween "mazes" are anything but—there are few obstacles and it's almost impossible to get lost. Deadrise is different, sending guests through a naval boot camp complete with netting, poles, and rickety bridges to scramble over (not to mention undead sailors). In some areas, visitors must choose from two ways forward, with potentially disastrous consequences. Even with the occasional outdoor section, it gets increasingly difficult to tell where you are as the maze goes on. And it goes on for an enjoyably long while, so you're getting a lot of bang for your buck, even before you reach the sinister enveloping fog of the conclusion.
Part of the obstacle course in the maze Deadrise
The creepiest mazes

Winner – Lullaby

Creepy children are an enduring horror film trope, and Lullaby flawlessly executes on bringing that creep factor into the real world. It starts at the entrance, where visitors have to crouch through a child-sized door. Inside, the undead spirit of Scary Mary invites you to play among the scattered remains of her childhood, including hanged dolls and her beloved teddy bear. The maze makes the most of the ship's long hallways, frequently forcing visitors into a seeming dead end only to reveal a long poorly-lit corridor. When Mary starts appearing at the end of the hallways, you'll wish you'd stayed lost.
A hanging doll in the Lullaby maze

Runner-up – Feast

Fine dining is part of the appeal of cruise tourism, but something has gone terribly awry in the Queen Mary's stern dining area. By the time you realize the ship's malevolent chefs are cooking the guests instead of cooking for them, you've been shepherded into the conveyor belt flash fryer or human-sized toaster oven. In between are long stretches of dimly lit kitchen space, a grimly polite maître d', and loads of exposed ship machinery. Especially unsettling is the ambiguous ending—it seems as if you've left the maze, but even just being alone in the ship is creepy, and then you discover some of the deranged kitchen assistants have wandered farther afield.
A table with food in the Feast maze
The scariest mazes

Winner – Intrepid

Intrepid has the most eclectic theming of 2018 Dark Harbor mazes: It begins with a train ride, transitions to a church in Scotland, and then detours through catacombs before letting out aboard a ship. It retraces the steps of the Iron Master, who exchanged his flesh for an immortal metal body and lost his humanity along the way. Intrepid features some of the most dimly lit stretches of maze this year, and has some tricks up its sleeve for the brighter spots, too. “Scareactors” lurk among train passengers, funeral attendees, and open tombs, and it's hard to tell them apart from the mannequins even on close inspection. In one memorable section, visitors wade through a green laser fog that simulates wading through a toxic swamp—and conceals scareactors in plain sight.
Inside the train in the Intrepid maze

Runner-up – Circus

Circus almost ranked in the "Most innovative" category too thanks to its clever treatment of a common Halloween genre. Where it could've been a horde of generic clowns, Circus instead takes guests on a tour of what feels like a real circus tent, complete with the overpowering scent of hay. One part features a mirror maze-within-a-maze that's legitimately hard to find the exit for; another requires visitors to feel their way through complete smothering darkness (a reason why this maze is not recommended for the claustrophobic). Near the end, visitors can spin a lottery wheel and chat up a scareactor, but they should keep an eye out for a daredevil acrobat who might drop in with the last word.
The entrance to the Circus maze
Freaky eats & eerie entertainment

Food

Dark Harbor's setup consciously evokes a carnival atmosphere, and that extends to the food options, which are as inventive as they are delicious. Options include:

 

  • El Diablo, which offers potato tacos, corn in a cup, quesadillas, and pineapple taquitos
  • Poison Pizza, offering giant pizza slices, sausage sandwiches, and huge corn dogs
  • The Shack, which includes clam chowder, tri-tip sliders, fried calamari, lobster fries, gumbo, and chili
  • 3 Ring Concessions, featuring desserts like crepes, funnel cakes, and deep-fried Twinkies and Oreos
The El Diablo food stand

Drinks, including secret bars

Guests shouldn’t drink if they'll be driving home from Dark Harbor and pick a designated driver if in a group. For those who can drink, Dark Harbor has plenty of options. The Ice Cave bar is a must-visit for the interior alone, which is almost completely made of ice sculptures. Guests can also enjoy a pint at The Last Drop Pub or a whiskey flight at The Barrel Room. 

 

There are also secret bars in four of the mazes. To get in, find a scareactor in a maze (one that's not about to eat you) and ask where you might find libations. If you're lucky, they'll produce a bar token giving you access to unique cocktails themed around the mazes they're served in.

Secret bar access tokens

Rides and entertainment

Not all the fun at Dark Harbor is found in the mazes. Visitors looking for respite from the scares can ride the eerie green Sinister Swings. In the mood for a show? Check out fire dancing at the Pyre stage, be amazed by acrobatics at the Aerial Ring, or head to Slider Alley and watch skilled scareactors put on a sparks-filled exhibition. Aboard the Queen Mary itself, the 4-D theater is currently playing Panic: A 4-D Experience for those brave enough to weather a fourth dimension of fright.
The swing ride at the Queen Mary's Dark Harbor
Ready to feel the fear in person?
AAA members can receive up to 30% off general admission tickets on select dates at the Queen Mary's Dark Harbor when they buy online.