USS Hornet : Michelin's recommendations
Commissioned in November 1943, this Essex-class aircraft carrier has played a role in several important chapters of US history. During World War II it destroyed 1,420 aircraft, 42 cargo ships, 10 destroyers, a carrier, a cruiser and a battle ship. Later, in May 1969, it retrieved astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins-the crew of Apollo 11-upon their return from the first manned moon mission. The splashdown in the Pacific was witnessed live by President Richard Nixon from the Hornet's bridge, and by the largest television audience in history.Boarding the ship on its vast Hangar Deck, you may view a short orientation program and peruse a gallery of historic photo-graphs before commencing self-guided tours. At mid-ship, a set of painted footprints marks the first steps of Apollo 11's lunar astronauts back on earth; an adjacent exhibit highlights that event. A 5min flight simulator ($5) lets you experience the sensation of launching and landing an aircraft on a carrier deck. Steep, narrow ship ladders climb to the sprawling Flight Deck, above which rises the massive Island or control tower. You may climb to the Navigation Bridge, where the captain and officers piloted the ship, and the Flag Bridge, where the fleet admiral commanded a task force of support ships. Descending to the Second Deck, you may tour the officers' quarters, lounge and dining hall, enlisted men's mess and engine room.