The last time she departed as a passenger ship, it was 1939 and the world was a different place. Gone, at least on this first voyage, was the glitter and decadence of the illustrious passengers who so commonly were found in the ship's salons in the pre-War years. Many of the travelers now were parents of British girls who had moved to the United States after marrying American soldiers. And among the first-class passengers, more than a few were going overseas for the first time--though there was a modest sprinkling of lords, politicians, and prominent business types aboard as well.
On the bridge for the Mary's return was Captain Cyril Gordon Illingworth. Despite his 44 years at sea, the captain still found occasions for exuberance. Maintaining his position on the bridge as the ship approached a fog bank, he exclaimed, "Look at that patch of sunlight. Did you ever see anything like it?" Some in those post-War years would see the Queen Mary in exactly the same way.