Cruising San Francisco Bay

Cruising San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay was meant for cruising. On a sunny day, the crisp cool air temperature and the splash of cold ocean water combine with the sounds of seagulls and boat engines to produce an exquisite experience. The famous San Francisco fog is unpredictable, but when it shows up at sea it provides views that change from minute to minute. A fun way to view some of San Francisco’s most iconic structures, a cruise is an equally lovely way to while away an afternoon.

Legend has it that the Blue and Gold Fleet was created by graduates from Cal Berkeley, while the Red and White Fleet was begun by Stanford alumni. In any case, both offer cruises from the Embarcadero area of the city, near Fisherman’s Wharf. The traditional cruise runs from sixty to ninety minutes and circles under the historic Golden Gate Bridge before continuing around Alcatraz Island. Lately, both companies have stepped up their games, offering variations such as ‘bridge to bridge’ cruises (from the Bay Bridge to the Golden Gate Bridge), longer sunset cruises with appetizers and drinks, and high speed boat rides. In addition, the Blue and White Fleet offers ferry service between San Francisco and points around the bay.

Other companies are now crowding into the act, each with variations on the iconic cruise. Hornblower, which also offers cruises in several Southern California ports, is now conducting dinner cruises. Wine Tasting on the Bay, which departs from Pier 39, includes wine or beer flights during the cruise. Adventure Cat offers catamaran trips, while tour behemoth Viator offers several options of various lengths. This is not an exhaustive list of operators; the traveler will want to research the different choices possible.

Adventurous souls who don’t suffer from mal de mer will want to consider a fishing boat cruise. These vessels are smaller than the traditional fleets, and travelers will feel the ocean currents and waves. While amenities are very simple, there are also fewer passengers.

Prices for vary depending on the length and amenities. Fishing boat prices start at fifteen dollars, while a one hour tour from the Blue and Gold Fleet will cost thirty dollars per person. Dinner and wine cruises are more expensive, but are usually longer, and obviously with food and drinks.

San Francisco is a cool city even in the summer, and temperatures aboard ship are no exception. Bring a windbreaker, and perhaps a sweater as well. During the high tourist period, trips can be very crowded, so it’s wise to either book in advance or be prepared to wait; fortunately, there is plenty to do in this part of the city! Finally, be sure to bring a camera with plenty of memory, as there will be many, many opportunities for beautiful picture-taking.

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Content copyright © 2023 by Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. . All rights reserved.
This content was written by Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. . If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. for details.