Thursday, February 22, 2024

Hawaii Cruise - Leaving San Francisco

Our first day aboard the Crown Princess cruise ship for a 16 day cruise to Hawaii, with a stop in Ensenada Mexico. In case you didn't know, most cruise ships have to have a stop in at least one foreign port if they leave and return to an American port. That's why Hawaii cruises have a single stop in Mexico and most Alaska cruises have a single stop in Canada. When cruises to Alaska resumed in 2021 after the COVID shutdown, Canadian ports were not yet open and so congress passed a temporary law allowing cruise ships to go to and from Alaska without stopping in Canada.

Here we are looking out over San Francisco from our cabin balcony. You can see Coit Tower in the upper left of the picture. We were lucky to have a larger than usual balcony, though it didn't make a lot of difference. To tell you the truth, we rarely were on the balcony anyway. That's why we often stick with an ocean view cabin and use the money we save to book an extra cruise. Still, it was nice to have a ceiling to floor wall to wall window view of the outside world.

Princess cruise lines no longer specifies a boarding time and boarding group for passengers. Instead you can board anytime between 11am and 2pm, though that time may vary depending on when your ship arrives and departs. Nobody really paid attention to that boarding time anyway. In any case, it is usually a zoo when you arrive, especially in San Francisco. First you wait in a long line to drop off your luggage. Then you wait in another long line to go through security, get your medallion and board the ship. If you pay an extra $10 for shipping, Princess will mail you the medallion ahead of time, saving you some time. But to save even more time, arrive at around 1pm after the rush and you'll practically walk on without much of a wait. The only downside is that you have to settle for a late lunch or eat before boarding the ship.

Soon we were on our way, with scenic views of San Francisco, Alcatraz and of course, the Golden Gate Bridge.

Click this link or one of the pictures above to see more pictures in the Leaving San Francisco photo album.

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