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“We Expected More” 3 of 5 stars
Review of USS Hornet

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USS Hornet
707 W. Hornet Ave., Pier 3 PO Box 460, Alameda, CA 94501   |  
Hotel amenities
Phoenix, Arizona
Top Contributor
202 reviews 202 reviews
51 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
108 helpful votes 108 helpful votes
“We Expected More”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2013

On a recent trip to San Francisco we toured the USS Hornet. Once we got to Alameda it was very difficult to locate and we had to stop and ask directions. Even the locals were unsure a
to its location. We found the carrier to be in need of a lot of maintenance. It was rather neglected. The flight deck had several interesting aircraft but no information about them. We did, however, meet a docent who flew on and off that carrier and had an interesting conversation with him. There was some unique memorabilia from the Apollo 11 moon landing return to earth. We were very impressed with that. All in all, disappointing – especially when compared to the USS Midway in San Diego which is awesome. The only plus was that we had a Groupon so we didn’t have to pay full admission for the two of us.

Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
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17 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Huntsville, Alabama
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2013 via mobile

We very much enjoyed our visit to the Hornet. However the ship needs a lot of work to get up to speed as a tourist attraction. First it is difficult to find unless you know where it is. Second the flight deck and hangar have very few aircraft exhibits. The flight deck has just four, including an F-14 Tomcat, an S-3 Viking, and an F-4 Phantom that has seen better days. What is on display is very well maintained (I particularly enjoyed the torpedo magazine) but refurbishing the flight deck, adding more aircraft, and particularly posting signs to direct visitors would greatly improve the visitor's experience. Standing in the footsteps of the Apollo 11 astronauts is a moving experience.

  • Stayed May 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Portland, Oregon
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2013

very much fun place to visit. lots of history and cool tours inside the ship. On the ships website theres good directions on how to get there without a car. Last bus stop is about 20min walk from the museum ship so be prepared for this last detail.

Cool sights of the bay from the ship. Museum need a bit of restoration and help. Theres also airplanes and space stuff in the ship. Very cool place for the family.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2012

This was a highlight of our visit to the USA on a road trip that covered over 2,300 miles. I had been waiting a long time to see this vessel as she represents a lot of history and not just naval history, also some aviation history and space history too, as this warship not only served in WW2, but also the Korean War and Vietnam War. She recovered the space capsule of Apollo 11 and on her last deployment, that of Apollo 12 as well.

She came under air attack 59 times during WW2 and was never hit. She destroyed over 1,400 enemy planes and her air assets destroyed over 1,000,000 tonnes of enemy shipping.

She is a ship worth waiting for!

I used my sat-nav to get me there, and we arrived in the car park to see this huge ship towering over us. It was wall to wall blue skies and a very warm day in Alameda near San Francisco where she is berthed. I wanted to see this ship as she was the next USS Hornet after the one that carried the Doolittle Raiders into battle and down below there is a room dedicated to those who took part in that attack on Japan, America's first swipe at Japan after the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

There is a briefing in front of a TV screen on a hangar deck with a few do's and don'ts and then your free to wander around the ship to see as much as you would like to see (though not all areas are open to the public).

There is a mock-up of where the Apollo 11 astronauts were placed in quarantine upon their return as this ship recovered them from the sea. The footsteps of the men are marked out on the deck where they walked to their on-board accomodation in quarrantine, also there are videos of Presidents Kennedy, who set the challenge for man to be on the moon before the end of the decade (1960's) and Nixon, who spoke to the Apollo 11 crew on the moon and was onboard to welcome them back to earth.

It was nice to hear 'now hear this' on the sound system for the first time when some information was passed onto the visitors.

We went below to see the Doolittle Raiders room, a very poignant and sympathetic display of memorabilia and video of what the Raiders did and what became of them. It was fascinating to read of how, after flying to Tokyo to bomb Japan, each crew had to fly to their own destiny from there. It is an amazing feat of arms which was led by a man who led from the front, literally, James Doolittle. Not all of the Raiders made it home but many did, though none flew home from the raid, it was a one-way flight makng it all the more remarkable.

For me, purely as a visitor from England, there are several similarities about this raid, in the human dimension, as with the RAF Dambuster raid of 1943 as both operations helped to lift a dark cloud and raise morale at home when things were not looking too good.

The tannoy said 'now hear this' and announced the next guided tour of the 'Island' the tower from where the ship was run. There was much to see there and the view over the flight deck was tremendous. Our guide (or docent) was a man who had served aboard the ship in the 1950's as a jet pilot. It was the first (or one of the first) aircraft carriers to have an angled deck. He explained that was most helpful as it prevented landing aircraft from hitting other aircraft parked at the far end of the flight deck on a straight decked ship. He told us a few stories about how close a lot of pilots were to doing that and how it was prevented with arrester hooks and 24 foot high nets to catch the planes if they bounced on landing to prevent them bouncing right onto the parked planes at the end of the runway! He knew from first hand experience what it was like to land on deck in a rough sea and in the dark. He also told us how the pilots managed to find their way back to the ship, miles out at sea and long before the days of GPS and satellite guidance, which was amazing. He took as all around the island tower and told us who did what job and the sequence in which it all happend at sea for the benefit of the aircrat and he also told us how the ship herself was managed and sailed during long periods at sea.

There is a little place below deck for some food and coffee or coke and such and a little gift shop.

This was a very good afternoon out and we enjoyed being allowed the freedom to walk around a ship of such size on our own, just to stand and stare, or think or just imagine. it was great.

Room Tip: Take some shades - it's bright on deck.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Szczecin, Poland
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2012

This ship is a big piece of history. Be sure to come early enough to get a tour to captain's deck which I have missed.
This is definitely something you want to see if you're in the Bay area.
Ship is big but you can get around quite well since there are maps available.
We did just walk around by ourselves and it was fascinating since sometimes there was no one around and you could feel like you were on a real active battleship and you would see marines right around the corner.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dothan, Alabama
Top Contributor
146 reviews 146 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 66 cities Reviews in 66 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2012

We visited on a chilly day in July 2012 -- layers!

Entering on the hangar deck, there was a brief safety video and although we were on a slow day, there were quite a few volunteers around to ask questions of.

One in particular who gave a tour of the flight deck was a former naval guy who worked on the Oriskany in Vietnam; the Oriskany is also an Essex class carrier that was built in the WWII era.

This guy (Ron) told us about living and working aboard a carrier and how it is to be there 24 x 7 for months on end. He was one who worked on the arresting cables for aircraft landings. It will be a sad day when veterans like Ron are no longer there to impart unique insights on the workings of these great ships.

We also got a visit on the "island", which has the air traffic control, captains sea quarters and other things such as the analog computer that was used to keep track of where the ship was when underway.

Most of the trip is a self-guided tour and lets one an idea of just how spartan living conditions are for all aboard...especially the young seamen.

We will never forget this visit and would encourage anyone in the Alameda area to be sure to take this in!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Boise, Idaho
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2012

We had a wonderful time seeing the USS Hornet!
We were there for hours and still didn't see everything we wanted to. We got many interesting facts and stories from the wonderful guide on part of our tour!! Take the time to ask questions and listen to what they saw and did. It is well worth it!!
We had google map directions but I am sure without it would be challenging to find so plan ahead!!

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about USS Hornet

Address: 707 W. Hornet Ave., Pier 3 PO Box 460, Alameda, CA 94501
Location: United States > California > Alameda
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty lodging in Alameda
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Live-Aboard Family Night program has been designed for family groups of all ages. The program is available to any family. All participants must be at least five (5) years of age. The program is scheduled once a month on a Friday. ... more   less 

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