In this file photo, USS Blue Ridge arrives in Hong Kong during a port visit last year. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Recruit Ben Larscheid)

HONG KONG - U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) and the embarked staff arrived in Hong Kong March 1 for a port visit.

The visit will provide Sailors and Marines the opportunity to experience the city's unique culture by trying new foods, visiting landmarks and interacting with locals.

"Hong Kong has always been a favorite port for Sailors," said Lt. Cmdr. Brian Ribota, USS Blue Ridge executive officer. "The crew is looking forward to experiencing the culture, sights and sounds of this open and international city. We hope to continue making friendly visits like this."

Besides enjoying the highlights of Hong Kong, Sailors and Marines will also be participating in various community service events which allow them to interact and enhance friendships with host nationals.

Scheduled events include a friendly game of baseball and a visit to an elderly home.

"This is the first time I've been to Hong Kong," said Operations Specialist Seaman Matt Main, "I've only heard good things about it from other people, and I'm excited about going to experience something new."

The American Women's Association of Hong Kong's Meals in the Home program is also available to help Sailors and Marines get to know the city. The program allows servicemembers and local families to share a day in a gesture of friendship and cultural exchange. Program hosts usually give them an insider's view of Hong Kong.