Bay Area Cruises

Get a Unique View of San Francisco!

Hopping on a boat is very easy to do in the Bay Area and doing so affords many options for drinking, dining, sightseeing and taking in San Francisco’s magnificent skyline. Some vessels are ferries carrying cars and tourists to Marin County. Others are commercial fishing vessels bringing the catch of the day to Bay Area markets and restaurants. Some boats are specifically designed to transport guests in comfort and style at rates ranging from affordable to luxurious. Which bay cruise you choose will depend on your wallet, interests and the type of experience you seek, but here are a few worthy of consideration:

  • Blue & Gold Fleet
    This fleet of vessels offers a wide range of different types of Bay cruises, from scheduled ferry service to the aptly-named and thrilling RocketBoat to private cruises. Most cruises depart from Pier 41 and offer a varied fee structure available at
  • Red & White Fleet
    This fleet has been transporting guests for more than 120 years and offers that Bay Area’s only multilingual cruises. Guests can enjoy cruises to different destinations with narration in at least 12 different languages while they take in the sights and sounds of San Francisco Bay. For more information, visit
  • Alcatraz Cruises
    Not surprisingly, this fleet specializes in transporting guests to Alcatraz Island and back, with or without additional guided tours on The Rock to visit the infamous prison and/or the surrounding gardens and wildlife. Schedules, cruise information and more can be found at
  • Hornblower Cruises
    Specializing in dinner cruises, yacht charters and cruises to destinations along the California coast or even the east coast, this cruise line caters to a more upscale clientele and offers custom cruises and longer excursions on and off the water. Visit for more information.
  • Commodore Cruises
    If you’d like to begin your cruise on the east side of the Bay, this cruise line may be the way to go. This line offers six different luxury yachts that launch from their homeport in Alameda. They specialize in custom cruises, weddings, celebrations and other special occasions with catering options as well. Check them out at
  • Empress Events
    Located across the Bay in Sausalito, Empress Events is a well-regarded custom cruise line that offers event hosting for weddings, corporate events, private parties and other special occasions. For more information, visit their website at

There are other Bay cruise lines that offer unique experiences and stunning views of the San Francisco skyline, but these are the major players. While some folks prefer the larger boats with lots of departure times available each day, others seek out lines that cater to eco-tourists, wine lovers, locavores and other niches. No matter your tastes and preferences, you really should get out on the water at least once during your visit, as the cold water and unpredictable currents are as big a part of the city as the skyscrapers and cable cars. Sift through the many options with your web browser and make a list of the options that intrigue you and make a reservation. You’ll be glad you did!