DAY 89 – April 3rd

Written by Safarigal
April 5, 2017

San Francisco Day 1

The gale continued over night and there was a fair bit of pitching and rolling. However, when we got up at 6:00 the sea was calm and the only evidence of the stormy night was another shattered window in the Winter Garden.

Although we did not sustain any damage in our cabin (Brunhilda is still standing) several of our friends had bottles broken and their TVs fall over. Deck 6 midships seems to be a good place to be!

At 6:00 AM we dressed warmly and headed up on deck 11 to watch us sail into San Francisco. We have sailed into some of the most spectacular harbors in the world – and San Francisco is certainly up there with the best of them. The sky was clear and there were a few stars fading away as the sun rose in the distance, coating the hills around us in a sparkling golden light. The Golden Gate Bridge seemed to be glowing as we calmly glided underneath it. It was the most beautiful sight.

We like watching the ship dock, so we went down to deck 3 to see the lines being secured. The man on the dock who seemed to be in charge of the process was clearly having a bad day, and kept on yelling at our crew that they were idiots and didn’t know what they were doing, and were putting everyone’s life in danger. I wanted to shout back that our crew had successfully helped secure the ship all over the world, so I thought they knew the ropes well, and he just needed to get on with his job. I didn’t. Maybe he was so worked up because there was a problem with the lines on a previous visit to San Francisco, leading to the gangway slipping and someone getting injured. Anyway, with much yelling and swearing we were finally tied up, and free to go ashore.

We spent the day with Nigel, who had been one of our tablemates on the Southampton to Fort Lauderdale segment of the voyage. One of the joys of cruising is meeting wonderful people on board, and Nigel certainly is one of them.

We drove around San Francisco, and then headed across the Golden Gate Bridge and had lunch in a super waterfront restaurant called Le Garage. It is a French restaurant that looks like it is in fact in a converted garage, but the design works well. The weather was perfect – not a cloud in the sky and a very gentle breeze so it wasn’t too hot. The food was excellent, and it was a pleasure to sit by the water and catch up with what we had been up to in the past 3 months. It was the perfect way to spend the day.

We also mailed off a large box of papers to our home. I have been saving all of the daily programmes, menus, and sundry other items that arrive in our cabin daily, and over 90 days that led to a pile of papers that weighed nearly 20 pounds, so they simply were not allowed to go home in the suitcases.

On returning to the ship it was time to get ready for the World Cruise Gala Dinner. It was a formal affair, and we were all to meet in the Queens Room at 5:45 to have drinks, and be assigned a bus to take us to the venue. The dinner was held at the San Francisco City Hall. This is a magnificent large building, look rather like a state capitol with large columns and a dome that glowed in the fading sunlight. There were more drinks to be had in the entrance hall, and then we were escorted into the banquet hall. This was a large room looking like any old banquet hall, but they had done a good job with the lighting and table settings, so it did have too much of a big room feel.

There were about 32 tables with 10 people seated at each, and a member of the ship’s staff hosted each table. I’m not sure why, but we ended up on the Japanese table. As well as the Japanese host and guests, there also was an English couple who owned a fish and chip shop, so I spent my time learning all about the ins and outs of fish and chips. Quite an education. Brian chatted with the Japanese guests who were all quite delightful. We had enjoyed watching one of the couples dancing in the Queens room, and I commented on how elegant they looked on formal nights. I learned that you cannot do ballroom dancing in a kimono, so they had had to limit their dancing to non-formal nights. They certainly were a wonderful sight to see at the dinner, and we enjoyed their company.

There were speeches before dinner from the commodore and a passenger. The commodore introduced Angus Struthers, the marketing director for Cunard, who had flown in from London. I’m not sure if he was just here for the gala, but he certainly seemed to be enjoying himself there. He was gracious enough to pose for a photo with me – see attached photo!

The food was excellent, and there was chocolate for dessert. A good choice. During dinner the band played ballroom dance music, but after dinner they changed the pace, and played great rock and roll. Everyone was up on the dance floor having a good work out.

Again, we were the last to leave – and we only left because security asked us leave. I don’t think we were behaving that badly, but I may be mistaken. We all sang on the bus on the way back to the ship. It was a totally fantastic evening – yet something else that has made this voyage unbelievably special.

It wasn’t quite midnight when we got back to the ship, so we decided to go up to the Commodore Club for a nightcap. The view of the Bay Bridge and the city was fantastic. The bridge is all lit up with the lights changing constantly. It was like looking at a fairy tale backdrop. I could have watched the view all night. All in all it was the perfect evening. I didn’t want it to end.

Post Discussion


  1. Evana Harding Young

    So sorry that it has come to an end. Thank you so very much for bringing us along with you. Greatly appreciated.

    • Safarigal

      Thanks so much for reading! Looking forward to next year!

  2. Gill Dancyger

    What a wonderful time you’ve had.

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I love to share my adventures with others, and hopefully give them some insight into what to expect on their own exciting travels. I hope reading my blog will be a useful resource, and inspire others to follow their travel dreams. As a travel advisor, I get great pleasure out of being able to help folks fulfill their aspirations by translating my experience in safari adventures and ocean voyages into memorable travel experiences for them.