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 downtownwaterfront, leaving a shimmering 25-story hotel tower, a new park, newdining spots. The 681-room Hotel Inter-Continental, opended in March, stands atwater’s edge. The next two years will see construction of apedestrian shopping mall, a convention center, and a 3-mile landscapedwalkway. To the north and south, the two grassy flanks of Embarcadero MarinaPark–a manmade peninsula–are already a hit with joggers, kite-flyers,picnickers, fishermen, and watchers of the naval flotilla. The southhalf of the 20-acre park includes a 10-station exercise course.

For an offshore look at the scene, try one of these new cruiseofferings. Crown Cruise Lines, new operator of San Diego to Ensenada cruises,also has 1-hour hydrofoil “fun rides’ that depart from theharbor 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.

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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. Hersails are raised on every trip, even though her heavy nickel-steel hullsometimes needs a boost from the engine. Showboat, a true paddle-wheeler, is 108 feet long with three decksand a ballroom.

Before its present reincarnation, it plied theSacramento River Delta. Through December 14, Invader makes 1-hour, 16-mile harbor tours onweekdays. 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, $14.75for children. From December 15 through April 15, the harbor tours are put asidefor whalewatching cruises.

Wednesdays through Sundays, Invader makestwo tours a day, each lasting about 3 1/2 hours. Cost is $15 foradults, $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 sternwheel. The 148-passenger boat makes a 25-mile harbor circuit.

A danceband accompanies cruises departing Thursdays through Saturdays at 7(two-entree dinner, open bar; $28.50) and 10 (cocktails only; $5). ASunday brunch cruise, with cellist, pianist, and champagne, runs from 11to 1, costs $17.50. Call (619) 234-4111. If you choose to dine ashore, you might try the CharthouseRestaurant, quartered in the classic 1888 rowing clubhouse at the footof Fifth Street.

Racing hulls and oars and models of famous sailboatsline the interior. Steak and seafood dinners (about $20) are serveddaily 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 ofEmbarcadero Marina Park. Hotel Inter-Continental towers at left Photo: Passing the passenger ship Azure Seas, two-masted schoonerInvader noses into harbor; on dinner cruise, meal is served on open deck


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