Golden Gate Bridge Sunset Views on Hornblower Cruises


I love taking Hornblower Cruises when in San Francisco although we rarely take the time to commit to one. While we don’t take city cruises often, we love doing them for the simple fact that it gets us out on the water. Water is a perfect analogy for following the perfect flow of life.

We had a fortunate opportunity to experience a Hornblower dinner cruise when our friend Chris was in town recently — it makes for a perfect excuse to do local activities you wouldn’t normally do on your own. And, with views like this from the deck, I’m now wondering what took us so long.

Hornblower Cruises: Cocktails, Dinner, Birds, Dancing & Views

Sure, taking a formal cruise isn’t the only way to get breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge or the East Bay bridge and everything in between (see my write up on Sailing in the Bay recently), but it is a relaxing way to take it all in, with cocktail in hand of course. Bourbon anyone?

hornblower cruises

Photo credit: Chris Robinson

We opted for champagne and wine to pair with our dinner — while drinks are not included in the Hornblower Cruises dinner price, there are plenty of options to choose from and we were pleasantly surprised to find that bottles of wine were in the very reasonably priced range of $30-85. It’s hard to go wrong at those prices, so we went for a La Crema Chard from Monterey. Cheers!

Leaving Pier 3

The boats from Hornblower Cruises leave from Pier 3 along the Embarcadero and if you’re heading off on an evening cruise, you board well before sunset so you get some fabulous day time views of the City by the Bay from a myriad of angles before dinner.

hornblower cruises

hornblower cruises

hornblower cruises

The Deck is the Place to Be

Hornblower Cruises

Photo credit: Hornblower Cruises

I love feeling the wind on my face and blowing through my hair – it makes me feel alive and well — reminds me of our aliveness. Being on a deck seems to bring out the magic and mystical in everyone who spends enough time there to truly be present and marvel at the surrounding natural beauty all evening long.

In addition to breathtaking city scape views, birds visit. They fly over the deck, often moving in tune with the music from the boat – it’s more transformative than simply a beautiful moment if you are in sync with what’s happening.

It’s almost as if there’s a dance happening between you and the bird and while in his mind’s eye, he may simply be hoping for a snack, there’s something more fluid, familiar and freeing about visits from these lovely creatures while staring out to sea on the deck.

Even if you book the cruise as a romantic escape or go as a group, I’d recommend dedicating a little time alone on either end of the outdoor deck, with nothing between you and the ocean except for the sound of waves crashing up against the boat and a bird’s call between the layers of the wind.

hornblower cruises

Did I Mention Those City Scapes?

Breathtakingly beautiful this precious city by Bay is in all her glory, especially at night. I’ll let the lights say the rest.

Inside they have music playing, a DJ and a dance floor so after you finish dessert, there’s an opportunity to work it off before heading back to the harbor. And, if there’s a concert or game happening at AT&T Park, you can get a glimpse while gliding by.

The Food

The dishes are simply delish, starting with a Spinach Salad which they top with strawberries, chevre, almonds and a lemon honey vinaigrette. Second course options include a tomato basil soup or a New England clam chowder with thyme and smoked bacon (yum!!)

hornblower cruises

On our Hornblower Cruises dinner menu, they offered Pam Seared Salmon with forbidden rice and baby bok choy, a Herb Roasted Chicken Breast with veggies and a Braised Lamb Shank with parmesan truffle mashed potatoes. All of it was divine!

For dessert, we had a choice of a New York Cheesecake or a Chocolate Flourless Cake with a raspberry glaze.

You can also enhance any of your meals with additional options for an extra charge, such as Grilled Prawns with smoked paprika, Salmon Cakes or a local Artisan Cheese Board, which sounded scrumptious. The latter is served with dried fruit, assorted crackers and flatbread.

And, as I mentioned, in addition to their stellar wine list, they have no shortage of top notch spirits and liquors to choose from on board. For serious foodies, be sure to follow the WBTW sister brand’s Instagram feed @luxuryfoodies to whet your whistle. We also have three dedicated sections to food/wine, including a Restaurant Reviews section.

Hornblower Cruise

The Sunsets

And then, there’s those glorious sunsets, which are reason enough to head out on one of Hornblower Cruises dinner or cocktail jaunts that jet around the harbor.

Now, imagine a combination of sunsets, birds and an ocean breeze as you read the below poem from Francis Bret Harte who penned this gem in 1869. Some words are simply timeless!

Sauntering hither on listless wings, 
Careless vagabond of the sea, 
Little thou heedest the surf that sings, 
The bar that thunders, the shale that rings,
Give me to keep thy company. 

Little thou hast, old friend, that ‘s new; 
Storms and wrecks are old things to thee; 
Sick am I of these changes, too; 
Little to care for, little to rue, 
I on the shore, and thou on the sea. 

All of thy wanderings, far and near, 
Bring thee at last to shore and me; 
All of my journeyings end them here: 
This our tether must be our cheer,
I on the shore, and thou on the sea. 

Lazily rocking on ocean’s breast, 
Something in common, old friend, have we: 
Thou on the shingle seek’st thy nest, 
I to the waters look for rest,
I on the shore, and thou on the sea.

hornblower cruises

In addition to San Francisco, Hornblower Cruises sail out of different ports throughout California as well as New York City.


Hornblower Cruises SF

Pier 3 on The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94111  



Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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