This ship is well located and easily accessible from the nearby expressways, and the shore facilities, gift shop and dock present a clean and modern appearance. I opted for the "self tour" and followed the guide signs along the deck. All seagoing ships need constant maintenance, and there were several maintenance projects in process, and was actually glad to see that work was being done so that future visits would be possible. The wooden decks must be the hardest thing to maintain, as they were very different from what I read about.
There are many areas available to tour in the interior of the ship, and I enjoyed sitting in the Admiral's chair up on the bridge, and touring the officer's quarters and other crew areas. I'd love to see some more audio visual support to recreate the on-board experience, perhaps a recording of some typical sounds and announcements over the ship's squawk boxes (PA). We finished up by having a snack in the crew's mess, nothing special but very adequate. A nice option would have been some "period" food.
This vessel is more than just thousands of tons of steel. It is a reminder to the new generations that the world has experienced huge clashes between civilizations, and this ship defended the country and the freedoms every American citizen enjoys today. If not for ships like this and courageous sailors to man them our world would be very different today, and not in a good way. I think it is important to remind the younger generations that this country's existence is not a given and has to be earned.
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Public tour guides, gift shop personnel. All were friendly an helpful.
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It is a very rewarding experience as is, I'm sure with additional financial backing more could be done. Maintenance is most important, but when that is under control perhaps additional on-shore support facilities would be nice. Technology today may allow some interesting experience re-creations.
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