San Francisco Bay Cruise | Best Tours & Sunset Views

(21 customer reviews)


Last updated on July 13, 2024 2:13 pm
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The San Francisco Bay is a breathtaking natural harbor that offers unparalleled views of the city. San Francisco is a diverse city with a blend of Asian, European, and Traditional American cultures. A cruise of San Francisco Bay is a great family event and a perfect romantic outing at sunset.

You won’t lose interest during your San Francisco bay tour with sights such as the intriguing Alcatraz prison to the expansive Golden Gate Bridge. The west coast city of California is an amazing place to visit during your United States trip.

If you are looking for magical sunsets and a memorable experience, then San Francisco bay tours is just for you. With various options, choosing the cruise for you will be an effortless and pleasant experience.


  • Amazing views of the San Francisco skyline
  • Sail under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge
  • Take in the views of the famous Alcatraz Island

Know before you book:

  • Cruises only occur in good weather
  • Plan your day carefully if visiting in winter as the days are 5 hours shorter than in summer
  • It gets cold in winter, so dress appropriately

golden gate bridge san francisco

The San Francisco Bay is 60 miles long and 2 to 12 miles wide, making it one of the finest bays in the world. The Golden Gate Bridge was constructed in 1937 and stretches across the Bay for 1,7 miles, making it an iconic part of San Francisco history.

This city is far more than this legendary bridge and has the world’s second-largest Chinatown outside Asia. This unique part of town only truly took shape after a damaging earthquake in 1906, highlighting the highs and lows this city has experienced.

The history of this city is defined by several things, including the famous Alcatraz Island. Alcatraz is the island where America’s most dangerous criminals were taken between 1934 and 1963.

Whether you visit San Francisco for the delicious food, enthralling history, or beautiful views, you will enjoy every moment. If you want to experience the city from the sky, look at these San Francisco helicopter tours.

San Francisco Cruise Prices

SF Bay cruise prices start at $34 USD and can reach up to $180 USD, depending on the package.

The most affordable cruise includes a skip-the-line ticket and a fully narrated tour. The most expensive cruise consists of a three-course meal and dance floor to enjoy, all with the stunning sunset falling behind the San Francisco skyline.

Compare prices across the ticket providers below:

San Francisco Bay Cruise Times

Operating hours vary depending on the fleet the cruise is booked with and the time of year. The tours available all run from Monday to Sunday.

Generally, all trips run between 10 am and 8 pm during the summer months, and the cruises run from 10 am to 6 pm during the winter months. The change is due to the daylight available during the summer and winter.

April to September: 10am – 8pm
October to March: 10am – 6pm

Best Time to Go on San Francisco Bay Tours

The best time to go on a boat cruise in San Francisco Bay depends on what you want to experience. If you want to see all the city’s sights then during the day is best, but if you want a romantic cruise, the sunset tours in summer are ideal.

April and September are the ideal months to go on a cruise as the weather is pleasant and more hours are available for you to take in the city sights. However, even though the sunsets are missing during winter, the twilight cruises are still a great opportunity to see San Francisco from another perspective.

san francisco bay

The Fleets For San Francisco Boat Cruises

There are two fleets that offer different services when going on boat tours of San Francisco Bay.

The Blue and Gold Fleet is the most affordable fleet used for cruises. With 21 boats offering snack bars and audio guides in nine languages, you’ll be able to see the sights of San Francisco in comfort. The Red and White Fleet offers a fully kitted food and drinks lounge and an audio tour in 18 languages.

No matter which fleet you choose, you’ll have unforgettable memories of a fantastic cruise. Other cruises offered are on private cruise ships and yachts that are not a part of a fleet; they also provide in-person guides with a more personal touch.

San Francisco Boat Tours

With various boat tours, San Francisco is a city with plenty to see from the water. The cruises on offer range from one to three hour tours and take you past all the main sights of San Francisco.

With these skip-the-line tickets, you’ll enjoy a luxurious cruise in comfort and without hassle.

alcatraz island san francisco

1 Hour San Francisco Bay Cruise

This fantastic one-hour audio-guided tour is on board San Francisco’s Gold and Blue Fleet. The cruise has an excellent guided tour that gives in-depth explanations of all the major landmarks across the city.

The tour offers indoor and outdoor seating, depending on if you want to feel the fresh wind on your face or sit in the comfort of the cabin. This SF Bay tour is accessible for those with mobility issues and wheelchair users, making it a complete experience everyone can enjoy.

The short tour is ideal for families and tourists looking to learn about the city and see the spectacular views on show.

What we liked: It’s an in depth tour that doesn’t take up your entire day.

  • Audio guided tour in nine languages
  • Complimentary souvenir map
  • Skip-the-line access to the boat

  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off
  • Meals and drinks (available for purchase)
  • Gratuities

The tour will take you past the historic Pier 39 sea lions and along the beautiful San Francisco waterfront. The boat will sail you under the Golden Gate Bridge and around the infamous Alcatraz Island.

To top things off, you will have great opportunities to take mesmerizing photos of the San Francisco skyline and a souvenir map to remember this unique experience.

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san francisco skyline at night

San Francisco Premier Dinner & Dance Cruise

If you want a lavish night out, then this dinner and dance cruise is for you. Take in the delightful San Francisco sunset all from the comfort of this luxury boat. After a lovely three-course meal from locally sourced produce, enjoy a vast array of music played by the boat DJ.

After all the dancing and food is over, step outside to the rooftop deck to admire the scenic views of San Francisco. It is important to note that the cruise is available to all individuals, including those who require wheelchair access.

What we liked: Great for a romantic cruise with city views.

  • Three-course meal with drinks
  • Port fees and taxes
  • Music and dance floor

  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off
  • Alcoholic beverages (available for purchase)
  • Menu enhancements (available for purchase)

The cruise is not all fine dining and dancing, as you cruise around some of San Francisco’s top sights. Enjoy the glowing sunset falling behind Alcatraz Island, Angel Island, Tiburon, Sausalito, The Golden Gate Bridge, and the San Francisco skyline.

Please note this cruise has a dress code of upscale to business casual. This cruise is ideal for those wanting to take in the picturesque views of San Francisco and enjoy a romantic meal.

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8Expert Score
Editor Review
San Francisco Bay boat tours are the perfect way to see this mesmerizing city from the water. There is a huge variety of packages, from tours of the city's points of interest to romantic dinner cruises of the Bay.
Value for Money
Level of Activity
  • Most tours are short and don't take up your whole day
  • Great photo opportunities of the San Francisco landscape
  • Tours run all day and all year round
  • Not many packages include meals and drinks
  • Tours can get crowded in peak season
  • Cruises can be canceled without warning due to weather

Specification: San Francisco Bay Cruise | Best Tours & Sunset Views




1 -3 hours


Guided tour (unless specified)


Meals (unless specified), Hotel pick-up/drop-off

Meals & Drinks

Meals not included (available for purchase)


Not included

Suitable For

Couples, Everyone, Families

21 reviews for San Francisco Bay Cruise | Best Tours & Sunset Views

4.8 out of 5
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    Despite it being a cold and foggy day (thanks Karl), this tour was a ton of fun! The crew and captain were so nice and just all around friendly. They answered any questions (even the dumb ones), and made the cruise fun! They also provided jackets for free (still bring your own) so we could be more comfortable as we sailed. The first round was on the house and that was just an added bonus! TLDR: Book this trip if you want a unique way to see the bay and an amazing time!

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