I’ve lived 30 minutes from San Francisco for the last 17 years and I have yet explore the touristy, “must do when in SF”, tours or activities.
There’s still Alcatraz, something I’ve wanted to go see since my younger days but it’s always pushed to the bottom of the list because “It will always be there” – but will I? All this talk about San Francisco being amazing, still all I see is the price. I mean, I do go for certain family get-togethers and dinners. We’ll go to see the tree lighting. Or just to walk around, avoiding the over priced restaurants. But never to see the city through the eyes of a tourist.
Anyway, something prompted me to book a cruise around the bay one warm summer afternoon. I did some quick google searches and found Adventure Cat Sailing. The price was okay, $40 (now $45). The few reviews I skimmed through were good. Kids were free (such a plus). So I went ahead and booked it for an afternoon.
I’m not a fan of cold weather. I like it hot. But in San Francisco it’s almost always windy. Even if it’s a warm 70 degrees where I live, a quick trip over the bridge will drop the temp and bring on the fog. Not my thing, might be one reason I rarely go. One good thing about our sailing day were the clear blue skies!
Check out my grainy, sailing the bay, photo story. Or skip on over to my review.
As a resident, I would never book this tour again. Actually, even if I brought along out-of-town guests, I don’t think I would add this to the itinerary. For the price of $40 at the time it was okay. Not complaining about that. And being so close to the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz was pretty cool. But there are other sailing/cruise options out there, albeit pricier.
I’m pretty sure my experience was affected by having my small children on board with me. My expectations weren’t too high, but I did imagine a fun sailing experience with the kids. For one, after leaving the docks, we were making our way toward Alcatraz super fast, due to the strong winds. But I was scared, holding onto my kids. The winds were uncomfortably chilling, and strong (like I said, I’m a warm weather person) and it was hard to take pics and enjoy the views. They did offer big comfy jackets – which I loved so much that I bought one of my own from the touristy shops by Pier 39. My cheap ol’ sunglasses flew off my head, I had to grab it before it made its way into the waters. The cruise was fully booked. Probably 90% tourists & foreigners. The kids and I had to sit inside the majority of the time, plus they were just way too cold to stand outside with me. Simply put, they didn’t enjoy it nor did they care for the sights. It wasn’t the relaxing family time I had pictured. Had I done more research about this particular excursion I probably would have figured it out. But this tour had me at the price.
I wouldn’t write them off completely. The customer service I received was great. On our first attempt, we failed to make it to the dock on time due to traffic and lack of parking. Although they stated at checkout that there are no refunds, I was able to re-book the cruise. There are two other sailing excursions offered, a sunset sail and an Alcatraz package.
Where You Sail: Around Alcatraz, under the Golden Gate Bridge, past a hidden beach called Kirby Cove.
Who This Excursion Is For: Tourists, those who don’t mind cold & windy weather, like to sail fast (hence the name Adventure Cat Sailing), on a budget but still want to experience SF by boat.
Who This Excursion Is NOT For: Small children, those who live here, those wanting a more intimate experience.
Like I said, my experience would have been different if I didn’t bring my kids with me. Still interested? Check them out here.