33 San Francisco, California Excursions
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If they had offered ten stars then thats what I would have given. Sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge into the bay with Sausalito to the left, Alcatraz dead ahead, San Francisco with its cable cars to the right. Yes, heavenly. The ship ties-up next to a tram stop from which you can turn left and travel inexpensively into the city (six minutes) or, turn right and visit the various Pier 39 attractions and find the terminus for the cable car (five minutes). Take a tour, cross the bridge, visit Sausalito, go to Alcatraz, ride the cable car...fill your boots!
Visited: Jan 02, 2017
Day One San Francisco I would like to share my voyage to Alaska from San Francisco on the beautiful 109,000-ton Grand Princess. It was the 50th anniversary of princess cruises to Alaska starting with the 12,000-ton Princess Italia in 1969. My first trip to Alaska but my fifth trip on the Grand; I hope to share my positive viewpoints of the experience and offer suggestions and tips to enjoy your future adventures. I travelled solo in a balcony stateroom on the forward Lido deck on the port (left) side. I had a 7:30 assigned dinner table and a queen bed. The weather was gorgeous on the day of embarkation, which was going to be the theme of the cruise; perfect vacation weather but unseasonably hot for Alaska. I arrived at the port around 10 and greeted a friendly baggage steward. After thanking him with a five, I walked with my carryon and purse to the terminal. With my passport open to the page with my face, I proceeded though the metal detectors and walked checkin line. One long queue with many checkin agents. The line moved quickly. The checkin agent asked for my reservation printout and passport, and gave me my cruise card and explained everything is on the card. The cruise card opens the cabin and will be asked for every time you get any tracked items on board. If you have pre-paid items, the card will keep track. The card needs to be used even when ordering a soda or special coffee with pre-paid package for example. The card also is critical for getting off and on the ship in port. This leads me to packing tips in order to feel relaxed and prepared once on board. I did purchase a colorful lanyard necklace for my cruise card at the dollar store along with the following just in case. Medication for sea sickness, diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, headache, sore throat, cold and antihistamine. A well spent eight bucks in exchange for peace of mind. I did not need any of the meds except a daily dose of sea sickness pill to guard off any potential motion sickness. I took my first dose the moment I arrived on board. One last thing about the cruise card. If there is any problem while on land like you are running late, call 1-800-Princess on the back of your card to let the ship know. The time between arriving at the pier and sitting in the dining room for lunch was less than an hour. After an incredible salmon lunch with soup, salad and desert, my cabin was ready and my luggage was outside the door. After lunch is an excellent time to visit the excursion desk to book last minute tours. I bought the snorkel tour in Ketchikan that ended up being my favorite adventure. That was on day four after the first two days at sea. There was about three hours left for the ship to load all the food and supplies for our journey. Along with 2500 passengers and 1000 crew members. Some crew leaving to fly back home for a few month from San Francisco, and some arriving to start a new contract on the Grand. The Captain and officers work three months on and three months off. While on duty they work four hours on and eight hours off. Many crew work 6 to 9 month before a few months off. Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, the ship in ON. It may be tied to the pier or engines off, but the electric power is always on and everyone is coordinated to keep the ship running smooth and the schedule on time. While watch the forklifts load the ship with cargo, I decided to unpack. Basically, I brought enough to wear something different all the time; because it all fit in the suitcase, I only needed to unpack once and I live driving distance from the San Francisco. I’m a total nerd, so I brought my iPad, iPods, Bluetooth speaker, iphone and iwatch mostly for music and movies at bedtime. The clothes consisted of two categories, day and evening. Day clothes were sweatsuit, yoga pants, sundresses and bathing suit. Night clothes were dresses and skirts with tops. Most of the time, I curled my hair for dinner and tied back with sunglasses and hat during the day. Unpacked and prepared for the bon-voyage party, the cabin steward introduced himself and informed me of the 3:20 mandatory emergency (muster) drill. The way the drill works is you must use the stairs from wherever you are down to your muster station (on your card and back of stateroom door). My muster station was in the library area which was crowded standing room only. Chairs were only available for people with disabilities. Previous muster stations were in the theatre with lots of seating. A few minutes after the drill, an announcement is made that many passengers did not attend the drill or did not have their card scanned as present. There is a second location given for the second drill. Soon the ramp to the ship is pulled away, the ropes are pulled in and the rumbling sound and feeling of the side thrusters began. We are off to Alaska, home to the Klondike gold rush, loggers, Mushers and their sled dogs, glaciers, natural history and of course the summer wilderness. Get ready to try and count the number of spruce and western hemlock trees along the shore. The bald eagles and humpback whales. Harbor seals and sea lions. The salmon and bears. The key to this adventure is food. Food drive the animals. The animals come for the abundance of food created by the rich nutrients released by the melting glacier ice. Two hundred and fifty year ice, finally reaching the sea. Within an hour of exiting the San Francisco Bay, a large group of humpback whales appear in front of our vessel. Whales are watched on both sides of the ship. A great start to the trip. Most people did not change for the first dinner onboard and neither did I. However, my table mates noticed and did comment on the casual dress of many passengers. There is not a strict dress code except don’t wear ball caps and t-shirts on formal nights. To each their own. I met many people who travelled from far away for the cruise and were exhausted the first night. Before the cruise, I ordered bottled water which was in my stateroom when I arrived. For emergencies because the ship creates its own water from salt water, and it is very safe drinking water (used to make all the ice cubes etc.). I also ordered a bottle of gin which room service had to be called to deliver (along with other pre-paid items). I needed milk in the evening to take medicine, so I called room service or went to the international cafe (no charge). The breakfast room service provided excellent coffee, juice and milk to start the day. I paid two dollars and something for each can of soda or tonic water needed. This worked out better than any package for me. It also included a glass with ice on the side. There is a drink of the day. Today is a Tropical Delight...only $7.00. Day One ended after dinner watching the Welcome Aboard Showtime at 9:30 with a featured comedian: Tom Briscoe. Loved his funny stories about getting fired or ending up in jail and why he can’t return to places. Part of Official Ship’s Log Book 15th June 2019 - San Francisco Once all passengers were confirmed onboard at 16:08, we let go our moorings lines, thrusted off the berth, and put our engines ahead to move clear of the dock. Grand Princess subsequently steamed south of Alcatraz Island, shortly before passing under the Golden Gate Bridge at 16:37. We then proceeded through the outer buoyed channel, and once clear of the port confines of San Francisco, disembarked the local Pilot at 17:19. Grand Princess completed her departure by setting various North Westerly courses through the North Pacific Ocean, towards our first port of call, Ketchikan. Westerly Moderate Breeze, 55 degrees with a pressure of 1016mb. Sea: Slight to Moderate.
Always love visiting San Francisco. Lots to do. Visit to Alcatraz was worth it, but a little chilly on the water in the Pacific. The Bay Bridge is stunning at night as they have added synchronized lighting. Sausalito was worth the visit.
Visited: Sep 29, 2017
This an an amazing port for embarkation and debarkation! The security check went so fast. The desk that we got our cruise cards from was super efficient and fast as well. For our sail away on the Grand Princess we sailed UNDER THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE. 5/5 stars
Walked across the Golden Gate Bridge before we got on the Ship. Such a beautiful city!
Visited: Jan 22, 2018
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