|2003 - First Annual Commodore's Cruise||A Cruise Through Napa - Sonoma|
|Getting there was the first order of business.
JetBlue out of Long Beach to Oakland.
AirBart bus to the Oakland Coliseum Bart terminal.
|Bart to Powell Street.
Powell Street cable car to Fisherman's Wharf.
A short walk to the Sheraton at Fisherman's Wharf where Cruise West had set up a Hospitality Center.
|At around 3 p.m. we all boarded buses taking us to the Spirit of Endeavour which would become our home for three nights while touring the wine country of Napa and Sonoma valleys.|
|Diane was the on-bus guide for those on bus 'A'.
The AWESOME bus.
|The first order of the day was to see how cute we all looked on our Personal Flotation Devices.|
|After casting off, we took a short cruise around San Francisco Bay. We
enjoyed seeing the city from the water.
After passing under the Golden Gate, the Endeavour headed for the Napa River for our first port of call.
|Two of the most popular individuals aboard were the chef and the resident wine expert.|
|No sooner had we settled in our cabins then it was time for our first meal aboard. The chef was outstanding and each meal was a gourmet's delight.|
|We woke up the first morning to shipboard vibrations and rumblings as our ship backed its way into position at the dock on the Napa River. The river is too narrow for the ship to turn around so it had to back in for the last mile or so.|
|The first winery we visited was Markham Vineyards in the Napa Valley.|
|We all enjoyed the tour of the winery where we were able to see the grapes
being unloaded to the crusher.
The tour finished with a tasting of several of Markham's fine wines.
|The piece of fine art on the left is actually Diane Kaplan's purse.
|Our next winery, Cuvaison Winery, was our lunch stop for the day. We had a fine three course lunch in one of the wine aging caves. We felt like we were sitting in King Arthur's Court.|
|The afternoon stop at St. Supery Winery featured a tour of a period house
and a demonstration vineyard demonstrating various growing techniques and
|Josef made me take the photo to the right showing that Romania is a player in the wine market.|
|We arrived back at the ship just in time to catch the evening tide. If we waited any longer we might spend the night on a sand bar.|
|Dinner on night two was spent cruising the delta area. We would dock the next morning at Mare Island near Vallejo.|
|The first stop on day three was at the Benziger Winery. Benziger prides themselves in natural, no pesticides, method of growing grapes. We enjoyed a tram tour of the vineyards.|
|Every winery had their gift shop which provided many opportunities to find treasures.|
|On the left you can see Benziger's famous "fuzzy grapes."
The photo on the right is a very fine picture of the driver of the AWESOME bus, Brian, taken from the passengers view.
|The lunch stop on day three was at Viansa Winery. The pride of Viansa is their care of the environment as seen on the plaque below. They are caretakers of a wetlands which is on their property and on the flyway for migrating ducks.|
|For you "Where's Waldo" fans, see if you can find Waldo (Josef) in the picture on the right.|
|The camera must have been getting heavy as we stopped at our last winery, Domaine Carneros. This is a sparkling wine grower and after a short movie and tour explaining the complexity of caring for sparkling wine we all enjoyed a glass of the Taittinger bubbly.|
|Our final dinner aboard the Spirit of Endeavour was the Captain's Dinner
where he toasted the crew and the passengers.
Below right is Waldo throwing a penny over his shoulder as we passed under the Golden Gate on our way back to port.
|Early arrival in San Francisco gave us a little more time to enjoy the sights and cuisine.|