Exploring San Diego’s USS Midway Museum
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Exploring San Diego’s USS Midway Museum

Last month I took a 7-Day California Coastal cruise on Princess Cruises’ Star Princess, sailing round-trip from San Francisco.

San Diego was one of the port calls, and I used the day to explore the USS Midway Museum and other surrounding waterfront attractions.  It seemed only fitting since San Diego is home to the US Navy’s largest base on the west coast, serving as the principal homeport of the Pacific Fleet, with 54 ships and more than 20,000 military personnel.

San DiegoSan Diego offers a beautiful cruise terminal that allows cruise ships to dock at a pier right allow Harbor Drive.  Navy Pier is located only two piers away, within easy walking distance.

USS Midway MuseumFrom Navy Pier you can visit the USS Midway aircraft carrier that is now the USS Midway Museum. Regular admission costs $20 per person.

In 1945, when the USS Midway was commissioned, it was the largest ship in the world, and the first too large to fit through the Panama Canal. The ship was decommissioned in 1992 in San Diego, California, and was opened as a museum in 2004.

Tours are self-guided at your own pace, with an audio headset included to tell you about various points throughout the aircraft carrier.

I first headed explore the ‘City at Sea’ on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th decks where most of the sailors slept, ate and carried out their daily lives at sea.

chapel, USS Midway MuseumMy first stop was the chapel.

USS Midway MuseumClose by was the Chaplain’s quarters.

USS Midway MuseumThe laundry would not have been a fun place to work, especially if you were tall.

USS Midway MuseumOne room on the ship contains a display of the Enlisted Uniforms. One display shows every piece of clothing a new enlistee received, and how it was “packed” into a small space.

USS Midway MuseumThe POW/MIA table was quite moving, along with the verbiage that describes the meaning of each item in the display.

USS Midway MuseumAnother impressive site for a civilian to learn about is the “Ready Rooms” – the area where pilots prepare to fly their missions.

USS Midway MuseumThe sick bay included a view of the operating room.

USS Midway MuseumThese beds in the “sick bay/hospital” were said to be more comfortable than the normal enlisted quarters on the ship. (Life in the Navy is definitely different from life on a cruise ship.)

USS Midway MuseumFinally, I made my way to the Flight Deck. You get a very real sense of what it must be like to fly that plane down the yellow line before taking off over the sea, and landing it with the wire hook.

USS Midway MuseumThrough one of the USS Midway doors, you could see our cruise ship.  I spent about 2 hours at the USS Midway Museum, although you could certainly spend more time there.

Bob Hope tributeOff of the ship, I also got a great view of the nearby tribute to Bob Hope, and his commitment to entertaining the U.S. Armed Forces.

San Diego, CaliforniaA last view of San Diego, one of my favorite cities.

Have you visited the USS Midway Museum? Or, have you been on some other aircraft carrier? Please share your experience in the comments below. 

Check out these other posts on my recent California Coastal Cruise on the Star Princess:

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