This past week I took my out of town work team on their first sightseeing tour of San Francisco. What better way to kick off the day than with a champagne brunch cruise on the bay? Hornblower Cruises was there to accommodate us.
Hornblower has several options every day. I opted for the champagne brunch cruise as it seemed to be the most relaxing and a great way to impress my foreign visitors. Boarding begins at 11:00am from Pier 3. There is parking available at the pier for $10 for the time of the cruise (not all day). After checking in at the front desk we were sent to table 46 and were happy to find that we not only had a window table, but they gave us a complimentary upgrade of the celebration package; a bottle of champagne cooling on ice, two take home souvenier glasses, to specialty chocolates and covered chairs. Although we were 6, two of our guests were from Shanghai so we of course gave them the take homes.
The boat leaves the pier about 11:30, giving stragglers a chance to get onboard. Coffee, tea, water, juice and champagne are all included in the $72 per person price. A full bar makes drinks at your own cost available and they were temptingly beautiful. The buffet has a large variety of nice choices; salads, pastas, breads, fruits, french toast, bacon, sausage and eggs as well as carved beef and ham. The staff invites people to go to the buffet in a planned fashion so the line does not get out of control.
A pianist plays lively tunes and chats about the sights you see as the boat goes past Alcatraz, along the SF shoreline and out to the Golden Gate. Our trip was met by perfect weather and calm waters so we actually went out under the bridge for a way before turning around and returning to the Bay. I have been on other trips when we didn't go under the bridge but circled Angel Island instead. It depends on the weather conditions.
While the sun was out on this day and the City, bridge and neighboring hillsides gleamed, it was pretty windy so the members of our party who went outside to take photos returned quickly to get warm again. The bay was full of sail boats which made everything even more picturesque. The champagne pouring was generous and continued until we returned to the pier. The dessert table was lavish and delicious.
Our out of town guests were duly impressed by my City by the Bay.
Note: I googled "online Hornblower discount codes" and found a discount code that gave me $15.00 off per person. That was a total $90 savings on my party of 6!