Battleship New Jersey becomes hotel for pope's visit

CAMDEN (WPVI) -- If you're coming to Philadelphia to see Pope Francis in September, there are still a number of options of where you can stay.

But this might be the most economical alternative: onboard a battle ship.

The 11-story, 58,000 ton New Jersey is the most decorated battleship in US history.

Now a museum on the Camden waterfront, "the Big J" as she's known is opening her doors - well, make that her hatches - to overnight visitors during the World Meeting of Families in September.

"We thought it was a great opportunity for us to share this amazing ship with a lot of visitors coming from out of the area and, of course, rooms are something of a premium," Jack Willard of the Battleship New Jersey said.

For $75 a night you can reserve a bunk below decks. The price also includes dinner and breakfast.

"We are going to serve guests, just like the sailors used to get their meals, from the chow line. We'll have a little better fare for everybody," Willard said.

The battleship already runs an active overnight stay program.

350 to 400 beds are available from Tuesday through Saturday during the pope's visit and interest in this giant floating bed and breakfast is high.

We're not talking the 4 Seasons here. The sleeping quarters are cramped; there's about 20 inches between each bunk. But it's an economical way to stay during the pope's visit and quite an adventure.

"It's quite an experience. Literally, you'll sleep in the world's greatest battleship," Willard said.

This particular hotel has no elevators, no room service and you'll have to carry your own bags.
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