Hornblower knows San Francisco Bay and all its excitement. Imagine the first Spanish explorer, Juan de Ayala, sighting the Golden Gate on August 5, 1775 in his ship, San Carlos. Or the thrill of victory for Team Oracle in the 2013 America’s Cup races in these same waters. Certainly, our City by the Bay looks great from its hills and peaks, but nothing beats seeing San Francisco from the Bay. Hornblower takes you where the waves sparkle and the views are simply without compare.
Take a moment to consider all the choices. There’s a two-hour champagne and buffet brunch cruise with live music and bottomless mimosas; a three-hour small-plate supper club cruise with up-tempo DJs spinning the top-40s; or a romantic three-hour, four-course seated dinner and dancing cruise. Linens, votive centerpieces, silver and china set the mood for the lovely meals served onboard.
Do check your calendar. Not only for a personal special occasion, such as a birthday or an anniversary, but also for the date of the full moon. Once a month, the Hornblower dinner cruise is even more magical, enhanced by Mother Nature. If you’ve seen a full moon perched above the twinkling LED art installment light show that decorates the Bay Bridge span, you cannot help but wonder if this scene doesn’t rival the majesty of the Golden Gate Bridge across the way. No matter, you’ll see both bridges -- and Alcatraz Island, too -- on any and every Hornblower Cruise. Hold your breath as you pass right underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. Turn your head to look the other way where the shimmering San Francisco skyline sets off the darkening skies.
If your visit coincides with a holiday, a Hornblower Cruise on San Francisco Bay is the perfect way to celebrate. Special feasts are prepared for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. There’s a New Year’s Eve party complete with fireworks and a New Year’s Day champagne brunch. Most definitely, book early for the ever-popular Valentine’s Day cruise, or to treat mom on Mother’s Day, not forgetting dad on Father’s Day and for the extra special Fourth of July fireworks display.
Hornblower Cruises & Events serves over half a million guests every year on 32 vessels and yachts including national landmarks such as Alcatraz Island, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Niagara Falls. They run the largest fleet on the West Coast and have received a host of awards from professional associations including meeting planners, wedding planners, tourist boards, national marine safety and port authority recycling programs.
Hornblower Cruises & Events yachts are dressed to impress, sparkling in white linens and china, shiny brass and gleaming mahogany. It’s a reflection of the fact that their guests are marking memorable moments. All members of crew are trained to ensure that those guest memories will meet and exceed all expectations. The chefs are top-rated. They have daily access to the freshest, local ingredients to create an outstanding culinary experience. In fact, Hornblower is proud to have become a top pick for weddings as word of mouth resonates about the first-class quality of service and dining...not least of all, the music and the views.
Reservations are required. The ticketless system means that guests need only to provide a name upon arrival, at a minimum of 30 minutes prior to departure time. Children under 4 are complimentary, ages 4 to 12 are 40 - 50% off. Hornblower Cruises depart from Pier 3 at the Embarcadero, foot of Washington St., which is two piers north of the Ferry Building. A list of parking lots and a map appears on the Hornblower website and the departure pier is also easy to reach by public transportation. Additional cruises depart from the east side of the Bay at Berkeley Marina. Once on board, guests are welcome to come and meet the Captain and the First Officer.