[Worldtrippers home] [South America home]

March 19, 2012
Day 31: San Francisco, California

The Star Princess arrives at Pier 35 in San Francisco

Yowza! What a last day at sea that was! When we last posted on the morning of Saturday, March 18, we wrote that we were expected a rough ride for our last day at sea. That was an understatement.

Our big task for the day was to re-pack our luggage after 30 days at sea. Fortunately we were not catching a plane, so we could get away with some pretty sloppy packing. Russell spent the morning curled up in bed to keep from getting seasick amid the 18-foot waves. Gail was doing fine until she bent over to pack, then the seasickness hit her too.

Our cabin was at sea level near the bow of the ship. As a result, we saw waves that completely covered our window and swirled around as if we were in a washing machine.

We spent a lot of time taking Dramamine and napping, until we decided that we needed to spend as much time out of our cabin as possible. Moving to the center of the ship made things easier, but it was a very rocky day.

Russell finished his Lego Volkswagen van. Gail treated herself to a facial and massage in the onboard spa. And we were able to get our bags packed by dinnertime.

Russell with his finished Lego Volkswagen van

This enabled us to attend one last magic show in the evening, where Gail became an audience volunteer as part of the act. Magician Bobby Borgia later said that he usually picks a child out of the audience, but there weren't many on this cruise. When Gail came up, she was taller than he was, which made the trick a little awkward.

Gail with magician Bobby Borgia. He gave her a stuffed turtle for her help onstage.

The captain informed us that San Francisco is one of the four greatest ports in the world to sail into or out of. (Interesting, another of the four is Rio de Janeiro, which is where we started our cruise a month ago.) This made us all excited to get up early on Monday morning to watch our arrival out on deck.

We set our alarm for 4:30 am on Monday morning, and were out on deck by 5:00 am. The temperature was 40º, but there were lots of people up and about. A pilot boat had joined the Star Princess, and it was a good thing too – our ship looked like it cleared the underside of the bridge with about 10 feet to spare. It was indeed a thrilling sight to sail under the bridge, lit only by the bridge and city lights in the pre-dawn darkness.

The Star Princess sails under the Golden Gate Bridge

Gail had packed her warm clothes, so she went out on deck wrapped in the duvet from our bed

Princess Patter: Welcome to eclectic San Francisco, California, the hilly “City by the Bay.” San Francisco has it all: a colorful history, superb restaurants, chic museums, world-class shopping, and that elusive air of romance and abandon that’s part of the tang of the city.

Today many visitors are drawn to this coastal city not only by the local attractions, but also by its easy charm, colorful and bustling street scenes, sophisticated selection of international cuisine, lively nightclubs and many more.

A panorama of San Francisco as seen from Pier 35

Getting off of the ship was a long and chaotic mess. We had the option of walking our own luggage off of the ship, but Gail opted to have the crew do it. In fact, she scheduled us for one of the latest departure times – 10:20 am – so we could have a leisurely morning.

That didn’t work out, as we had to vacate our cabin by 8:00 am anyway. All of the public areas of the ship were enormously crowded with passengers waiting to debark, so we grabbed some doughnuts at the International Café for breakfast. We took a last trip to the Sun Deck (deck 15) to see the San Francisco panorama.

Farewell photos with Vicente and Nemanja. We are going to try to get them copies of Russell’s shirt: “I’m a Ninja (You can’t see me)”

After several long lines and delays in getting through immigration, the gangway and luggage retrieval, we finally found ourselves on solid ground again after 11:00 am. Once we got our bearings, we dragged and wheeled our luggage several blocks away from the crowd. This made it easier for Russell’s sister, our volunteer chauffeur, to drive up and find us.

The line for immigration ran down the entire length of the ship

Luggage retrieval at Pier 35

After walking several blocks to Pier 29, we wait for our ride home

We finally got home at about 12:30 pm. We arrived to find our son Joss unexpectedly home with a migraine. Before Russell goes back to work tomorrow, we have to go through our luggage, accumulated mail and unpaid bills.

We have several tasks ahead. Russell is home just in time for his company’s annual shareholder meeting at work. Gail is taking care of Joss. She also discovered that some of her ceramic souvenirs were broken in transit, so she has set herself a task to try and glue them back together. Lunch today was heat-lamp Chinese food; dinner was take-out pizza.

We can already see that we will get absorbed back into our daily routine sooner than we would like. But we will try to hold on to the glow of our vacation for as long as we can.

The worldtrippers are home again!


[Worldtrippers home] [South America home]