“I Left My Heart In San Francisco”, the iconic song by Tony Bennett came to mind as we prepared to sail from San Francisco. The song is only temporary because we will be returning in just too short a week.
After the fastest check-in in San Francisco ever, we were onboard. Just as unusual, our staterooms were ready. Dropped off the carry-on luggage and headed to the buffet for a “light lunch”. Afterwards there was plenty of time to explore the ship and decide where to hang out for the sail-away. I prefer to view the sail-away from one of the higher decks in the stern, and the Grand Princess had the perfect spot.
All week we had been hoping for a warm, clear, sunny day and we were not disappointed. It was beyond perfect, to enjoy the scenery as we departed.
As departure time got closer, some of our group gathered for a few cocktails. We sat with a view of Alcatraz and what must have been a hundred sailbots with sails and colorful spinnakers billowing in the wind. We actually had a 270 degree view from the Golden Gate, Marin, Angel Island, Alcatraz, the East Bay from Richmond all the way past Hayward, the Bay Bridge, and downtown San Francisco.
Finally the bellowing blasts of the ships horn indicated we were casting off and the ship slowly inched away from the pier. You could feel the vibrations of the engines as she backed away from the berth and into the Bay as the bow had been pointing towards the skyline of the city. Once she cleared the end of the pier, the ship performed a 45 degree pirouete and slowly headed towards the Golden Gate Bridge.
Within 10 minutes we were passing “The Rock” on the starboard side as the piers and waterfront of San Francisco was slowly shrinking. The familiar architectural symbols of San Francisco, Coit Tower, the Transamerica Building, the Ferry Building, stood out like candles on a birth cake. In short order the ship was passing the Presedio on the port side and within minutes under the Golden Gate Bridge. As the ship headed into the Pacific Ocean, the bridge and the San Francisco looked like miniature toys. From the pier to the Golden Gate was only about 45 minutes but a sight that never gets old.
Until next time,