San Diego Harbor has news ashore and afloat Essay

San Diego Harbor has news ashore and afloat

The first wave of development has swept San Diego’s downtown
waterfront, leaving a shimmering 25-story hotel tower, a new park, new
dining spots.

The 681-room Hotel Inter-Continental, opended in March, stands at
water’s edge. The next two years will see construction of a
pedestrian shopping mall, a convention center, and a 3-mile landscaped

To the north and south, the two grassy flanks of Embarcadero Marina
Park–a manmade peninsula–are already a hit with joggers, kite-flyers,
picnickers, fishermen, and watchers of the naval flotilla. The south
half of the 20-acre park includes a 10-station exercise course.

For an offshore look at the scene, try one of these new cruise

Crown Cruise Lines, new operator of San Diego to Ensenada cruises,
also has 1-hour hydrofoil “fun rides’ that depart from the
harbor for the open ocean. Trips leave Saturdays at 2 P.M. Cost is
$9.95 for adults and teen-agers, $4.95 for children 12 and under. Call
(619) 234-5500.

Invader Cruises has two boats. Invader, built in Boston in 1905,
is the largest surviving passenger schooner in the country, at 151 feet.
It carries up to 225 persons on dinner cruises around the bay. Her
sails are raised on every trip, even though her heavy nickel-steel hull
sometimes needs a boost from the engine.

Showboat, a true paddle-wheeler, is 108 feet long with three decks
and a ballroom. Before its present reincarnation, it plied the
Sacramento River Delta.

Through December 14, Invader makes 1-hour, 16-mile harbor tours on
weekdays. Cost is $4.50, free for children 12 and under. Weekends,
Showboat has harbor tours lasting about 1 1/2 hours; cost is $5.50,
$2.25 for ages 12 and under. Dinner-dance cruises cost $29.50, $14.75
for children.

From December 15 through April 15, the harbor tours are put aside
for whalewatching cruises. Wednesdays through Sundays, Invader makes
two tours a day, each lasting about 3 1/2 hours. Cost is $15 for
adults, $10 for children 12 and under. Call (619) 298-8066 for times.

San Diego Harbor Excursions’ Monterey, once a Coronado ferry,
was just remodeled in Gay ’90s style and fitted with a false stern
wheel. The 148-passenger boat makes a 25-mile harbor circuit. A dance
band accompanies cruises departing Thursdays through Saturdays at 7
(two-entree dinner, open bar; $28.50) and 10 (cocktails only; $5). A
Sunday brunch cruise, with cellist, pianist, and champagne, runs from 11
to 1, costs $17.50. Call (619) 234-4111.

If you choose to dine ashore, you might try the Charthouse
Restaurant, quartered in the classic 1888 rowing clubhouse at the foot
of Fifth Street. Racing hulls and oars and models of famous sailboats
line the interior. Steak and seafood dinners (about $20) are served
daily except Mondays; there’s also an oyster bar.

Hotel Inter-Continental also houses several restaurants.

Photo: Kite-raising breeze off San Diego Harbor cools greensward of
Embarcadero Marina Park. Hotel Inter-Continental towers at left

Photo: Passing the passenger ship Azure Seas, two-masted schooner
Invader noses into harbor; on dinner cruise, meal is served on open deck


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