"Blue & Gold's Bay Cruise - if ya can't do Alcatraz" Top 5 Page for this destination Ferry Tours of San Francisco Bay Tip by Karnubawax

When you come to San Francisco, you really should get out on the water somehow. Most people do this via the Alcatraz tour. But another option is the Bay Cruise tour run by the Blue & Gold Fleet, who are the same people who do the Alcatraz trip. The trip takes a little over an hour and leaves from Pier 41 (next to the dreaded Pier 39). Most people take this cruise because they didn't make reservations on the Alcatraz tour and were out of luck. Let this be a lesson.

A very hokey (but actually pretty informative) recording features "Captain Nemo" spinning yarns about the City as you pull away from the dock and head out along the waterfront towards the Golden Gate Bridge. You pass within feet of the famous Pier 39 sea lions as you leave. The waves become choppier and the winds pick up as the looming bridge gets closer... and closer... and closer! Soon you are right underneath it(!), staring up at the underbelly of this modern marvel. After a few minutes the boat then cuts over to Alcatraz and does a slow pass close to the shore. From there it's back to the dock.

There's some advantages and disadvantages to taking this ride versus the Alcatraz trip. On the plus side, you won't usually need to get tickets in advance (remember, if you want to do Alcatraz, you'll NEED to call and make reservations AT LEAST a day in advance and sometimes more). It's a short ride - you can park, get tix, do the ride, and leave in about 2 hours - good if you have things to do or get seasick easily. And the Alcatraz tour doesn't go under the bridge.

On the downside, it's a bit pricey- $21 for adults. If you're more than a few people, I would call and inquire about group rates. And if you're more than, say,10 people, I would seriously look into chartering a private boat for a few hours. B&G also offers some combo tours as well that include the bay cruise. And I'm pretty sure that some of the many combo cards (where you get admission to several museums and tours for a flat fee) include it as well. Check the website or call SF tourist info.

Address: Pier 41 - next to the dreaded Pier 39
Directions: Park in the Pier 39 garage - or take the historic F-line rail car.
Phone: (888) 814-2305.
Website: http://www.blueandgoldfleet.com

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Jun 27, 2006
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