San Francisco cruise port handles over 70 cruise ships with around 200,000 passengers per year. The city has a population of around 870,000 (metro around 4,7 million) and is known as ”Everybody’s Favorite City” because of its diverse communities and cultural attractions.
Port San Francisco CA
Port San Francisco is managed by San Francisco Harbor Commission (appointed by the city's Mayor). The seaport itself manages the waterfront area (length approx 8 ml / 13 km) from Golden Gate Bridge anchorage, along Marina district, all the way around the city's northern and eastern shores (includes Fisherman's Wharf and Embarcadero) and southward beyond Candlestick Point.
Port of San Francisco (port authority company) is a state-owned revenue-generating agency. It manages seaport's wide range of commercial and maritime facilities, plus approx 7,5 ml (12 km) long waterfront. The port is located on San Francisco Bay's western edge, near the Golden Gate Bridge. It is ranked as one of the world's 3 largest natural harbors.
The port area, besides the waterfront lands, also includes commercial real estate and docking piers - between Hyde Str (north) and India Basin (southeast). Among the landmarks under the Port Authority control is Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39, Ferry Building, AT&T Park (next to China Basin), Pier 70 (Potrero Point). Huge piers jut out into the bay along much of the city's waterfront, which is bordered by the roadway Embarcadero (port's eastern waterfront).
- Port's cargo ship handling facilities were built in the city's southeastern corner - at Piers 80, 92, 94, 96. The seaport also provides full ship repair services at its drydock yard (managed by BAE Systems Ship Repair) at Pier 70.
- Fisherman's Wharf serves as a base for the city's commercial fishing fleet. This is also one of the Pacific Coast USA's best-known and well-developed tourist attractions. Here are located Pier 39, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, The Cannery (shopping center), Ghirardelli Square, Ripley's Believe It or Not (odditorium), Musee Mecanique (world's largest privately-owned museum), Wax Museum, Forbes Island (floating restaurant). Numerous restaurants and street stands serve fresh-caught seafood. Among the most popular dishes are Dungeness crab and clam chowder (both served in a bread bowl).
- Pier 39 is a major shopping centre and among the city's best-known tourist attractions. The list of facilities and activities includes restaurants, shops, a 2-story carousel, video arcade, aquarium, virtual 3D rides, yacht marina, live street performances. At the marina is also the floating restaurant "Forbes Island".
- Pier 70 is a former (19th-century) industrial area with iron and steel mills, shipbuilding yards and manufacturing facilities (Union Iron Works, Bethlehem Shipbuilding, US Navy). Currently, Pier 70 is used by BAE Systems Ship Repair (a subsidiary of the British corporation BAE Systems Inc) and by Sims Group (Sims Metal Management company/metals and electronics recycling). In 2015, San Francisco Port Commission extended seaport's lease agreement with BAE Systems (ship repair yard plus 2 floating drydocks) through 2045. The agreement sustains San Francisco's 150-year tradition of shipbuilding and ship repair services. BAE's shipyard employs around 250 skilled workers on a year-round basis, plus additional (up to 1000) local workers during peak periods. Both floating drydocks and the port's location make them ideal for cruise vessels. Here are also refurbished and repaired US Navy and cargo ships.
- AT&T Park (fka SBC Park, and Pacific Bell Park) is a large stadium used for Major League Baseball. The park is rented from the seaport by San Francisco Giants (professional baseball team) since the year 2000.
San Francisco Ferry Building used to serve steamship ferries to Los Angeles CA, Portland OR, Seattle WA, Alaska and Canada's British Columbia. In 2003, this historic building was restored and reopened. Today it houses a premium gourmet marketplace (lower floors) and office spaces (on upper floors). The building also serves San Francisco Bay Ferry (also operating from Pier 39) to ports in Oakland, Alameda, Bay Farm Island, Vallejo. The other ferry operator using this terminal is Golden Gate Ferry (between San Francisco and Marin County CA / San Francisco Bay Area).
On January 10, 2019, was inaugurated the ferry service from Richmond CA to downtown San Francisco. Ferryboats depart from Richmond's new (USD 20 million) ferry terminal adjacent to The Craneway Pavilion. The new terminal also offers free parking (362 lots). The crossing ends at San Francisco Ferry Building, with crossing time 35 min. San Francisco Bay Ferry Service operates the new route with 4 crossings from Richmond (morning commute hours) and 4 return crossings from San Francisco (evening commute hours). Ferry tickets price is $9. Discounts are offered to Clipper Card users ($6,75) and to disabled-seniors-kids ($4,50).
San Francisco cruise port
San Francisco is a turnaround (home) port for major cruise lines, like Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival, Princess, NCL Norwegian. The port is often visited as part of repositioning itineraries (transits through Panama Canal) between Florida and Alaska. In recent years, also offered are roundtrips from San Francisco to Alaska and Hawaii.
The port's largest cruise liner so far is NCL's Alaskan ship Norwegian Bliss (LOA length 326 m / 1070 ft, max capacity 4900 passengers plus 1730 crew). The maiden call was scheduled for October 3, 2018. San Francisco was the only call port on the 4-day Alaska repositioning cruise (itinerary Oct 1-5) from Vancouver BC to Los Angeles CA. NCL Bliss arrived at 9 am and left port at 7 pm.
In 2017, the port handled a total of 286,352 cruise passengers. For 2018 were scheduled a total of 82 ship calls and estimated around 300,000 passengers.
Port San Francisco provides shore-to-ship power capabilities. The technology (by Nidec Corporation, Japan) enables docked vessels to receive electricity from the city's power grid. From the berth, vessels can plugin directly to the grid which allows full onboard operations without using the diesel engines (being shut down right after docking). The Japanese company has installed such shore-power systems in ports Los Angeles CA, Juneau AK, Goteborg, Travemunde, Livorno, Genoa.
San Francisco cruise terminal
San Francisco cruise port terminal is located at the western end of San Francisco Bay in the midway between the Fisherman’s Wharf and the Bay Bridge. It is along San Francisco City's waterfront (Embarcadero) at Pier 35.
Most of the city's highlights are within walking distance from the terminal. Easily reachable are popular restaurants, hotels, theaters, museums. The cruise port is also at 1/2 hours drive distance from San Francisco International Airport.
San Francisco Pier 27 cruise terminal
The terminal has a new shore power technology which allows equipped cruise liners (like Princess’ or Carnival's vessels) to use the city's grid power system instead of their diesel engines to supply onboard services while berthed/docked. This innovation reduces the ships’ emissions at the cruise terminal.
The biggest ship ever docked at Pier 35 is RMS Queen Mary 2. The new San Francisco cruise terminal (officially "James R. Herman Cruise Terminal") was inaugurated in August 2014. It was built at Pier 27 (at the corner of The Embarcadero and Lombard Street) and replaced the old Pier 35 terminal facility.
The new Pier 27 cruise terminal is operational since August 2014. It features a new modern building, electric shore-to-ship power, large holding areas, customs screening. Currently, the cruise port handles up to 80 ship calls and around 200,000 passengers. In 2013, the Princess Cruises ship Grand Princess became the first-ever liner home-ported in San Francisco for year-round turnaround operations. The round-trip itineraries (operated between March 2013 and April 2014) visited ports in California, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico Riviera.
San Francisco tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
- The Golden Gate Bridge: the world’s most famous bridge and top photograph attraction on the Earth. It has 1.7 moles span and 120,000 automobiles get across it each day. On the western side are allowed bikes, you can also cross it on food at the pedestrian walkway.
- Cable cars: date from the end of the 19th century. They are driven by an underground cable and run on defined tracks. The ticket costs $5. you can purchase it at the turnaround of the car.
- Alcatraz: well-known prison, no one could escape it. Alcatraz is closed since the 1960′s. It is located in the middle of San Francisco Bay, on Alcatraz Island. You can take a ferry from Pier 43.
- Fisherman’s Wharf: interesting marketplace, at Pier 39.
- Union Square: shopping center. You can find top designer boutiques like Geary, Post, Stockton, Sutter, Powell, and Grant.
- North Beach: don’t mistake it with a beach! It is a romantic European-style neighborhood. It is located along Grant avenues and Columbus, near Washington Square. Landmark is the Church of Saints Peter and Paul.
- Chinatown: enter through the “Dragon’s Gate” at Grant Avenue and Bush Street and find exotic shops, temples, museums, food markets, herb shops, and restaurants.
- Dining in San Francisco: try Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Greek, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Malaysian, French, Moroccan, Mexican or a tasteful combination of all those.
- Nightlife in San Francisco: visit the “hottest” night clubs and enjoy different music styles.
- Museums: The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Palace of the Legion of Honor, the de Young Museum, the Asian Art Museum, the California Academy of Sciences
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