Pacific Port Of Departure - San Francisco

1) Introducing San Francisco

San Francisco, a city of dramatic beauty, is a densely populated urban center surrounded on three sides by bay and ocean. The city now spreads across 40 small but steep-sided hills, though in the beginning it was built over just seven - Rincon Hill at first a fashionable residential area then a commercial zone, Russian Hill home to Lombard St, the crookedest street in the world, Mount Sutro owned by the UCSF, Telegraph Hill topped by the stunning art deco Colt Tower, Twin Peaks where Christmas Tree Point offers a panoramic city-wide view, Mount Davidson which is SF’s highest natural point and Nob Hill retreat of the very wealthy.

The city was originally a settlement owned by Mexico then becoming a part of the United States on the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, when Mexico transferred ownership of California together with Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico to the United States.

In 1848, when gold was discovered near San Francisco, ’Gold Fever’ enveloped the whole country. The rough and ready outpost swiftly grew into America's largest city west of the Mississippi River.

Through the latter part of the 19th century the city continued to grow, boasting an impressive city hall, a grand Opera House, prestigious residential areas and a new cable car transport system. When agricultural output rose strongly in the fertile lands nearby the city was the only port available to handle crops shipped out of the region. The city’s economy boomed.

San Francisco's expansion was halted in the spring of 1906 when a huge earthquake hit the city. The tremor was so powerful it was felt even as far away as Nevada. The terrible fires that followed took 3 days to bring under control, wreaking terrible havoc on the city’s downtown district. Restoring the city’s buildings began quickly, and the city rose like a phoenix from the ashes in a matter of just a few years.

The 20th century saw prosperous times come back to San Francisco. In the 1960s the city was the cradle of the feel good Hippie Movement, a lifestyle that was followed across the globe.

Today San Francisco is the heart of a dynamic industrial region and a foremost commercial port.

2) San Francisco Cruise Port

San Francisco has a single cruise terminal, the venerable Matson Line terminal by Pier 35. Though in late 2014 Pier 27 is due to take over as SF's primary cruise ship facility.


Pier 35

Pier 35 is a very basic cruise terminal housed in a late 1910s transit shed behind an impressive stone-built streetfront bulkhead building. The pier offers two cruise ship moorings pier 35 south and pier 35 north. The terminal is missing all but the basic facilities of check-in, plus immigration and security services.


Pier 27

By late 2014 Pier 27 is planned to be ready to be the city’s main cruise terminal, whilst Pier 35 becomes a reserve cruise facility. The cruise terminal is designed to service cruise ships up to 1200 ft long and handle more than 300 passengers. Whilst in not quite as good a position as Pier 35, the new terminal is still within walking distance of the famous Fishermen’s Wharf, so can be promoted as having easy access to San Francisco’s celebrated attractions.

Two separate operations Ace Parking and Impark Parking provide parking close to the cruise terminals. Booking in advance is recommended.

See cruises from San Francisco for a comprehensive list of cruises available.

For the port authority see Port Of San Francisco


3) Out And About In San Francisco

Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf is a popular part of SF’s north-east waterfront, between Pier 39 to the east and Aquatic park to the west. Your tour of Fisherman’s Wharf can cover USS Pampanito, a submarine with a record of six world war 2 patrols in the Pacific Ocean, Ghirardelli Square, originally a chocolate making factory established by Domenico Ghirardelli, the cable car turnaround at Beach and Hyde, a wonderful part of SF’s historic cable car system, SS. Jeremiah O'Brien, a fully functional Liberty Ship and Hyde Street Pier, part of the SF Maritime National Historic Park.


Early in the fall of 1873 the prolific inventor Andrew Hallidie ran tests on a cable car system close to the top of Nob Hill at Clay and Jones streets. Later on that year the Clay Street route began the first public services. Today 3 cable car lines are still in operation, the Powell-Mason, the California Street and the Powell-Hyde. The California Street line is the least busy, and is the quickest one to catch if you’d like to avoid lengthy queues. Riding a cable-car is a never forget experience, but be warned - if you stand on a running board to the side of the car, it takes more strength than you might think to hang on!


In the mid 20th century the US’s most feared gangsters were imprisoned in a virtually inescapable federal penitentiary built on Alcatraz, a rocky island in the middle of San Francisco bay. A sightseeing tour of the prison includes the Water Tower, the ruin’s of the Warden's House, the Library, the Dining Hall, the Lighthouse and the Recreation Yard. Alcatraz Island is located in San Francisco Bay, 1.5 miles from shore. A ferry service operates from Pier 33. Booking in advance is recommended.


Chinatown sprung up in the 1860s, then was rebuilt after the 1906 quake and today has become famous as the biggest Chinese district in the US. The primary tourist area centers on Grant Av, where the flamboyantly ornamented road is lined with all kinds of far-eastern markets, eateries and shops. Don't miss the Golden Gate Cookie Factory, the only cookie factory in San Francisco where the cookies are made by hand the old fashioned way. Watch the process of making the cookies, take a picture and purchase a bag.

Golden Gate Bridge

The iconic Golden Gate Bridge crosses the stretch of sea separating the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. The bridge is accessible to both bicyclists and pedestrians, and was built with sidewalks on both sides of the six motor vehicle lanes. Pedestrians are only permitted on the east sidewalk, the side facing San Francisco. Bicyclists have the opposite sidewalk. To reach the city end of Golden Gate Bridge board the SF Muni bus route 28 at Laguna and Chestnut, a short walk from the Fisherman’s Wharf area. On returning make sure to take route 28 heading towards Fort Mason, not Daly City.

4) Traveling To San Francisco Cruise Port

By Car

Full details for driving to the cruise port are on the Port website - allow plenty of time for the journey, as you have to traverse the length of the city to get there (unless arriving through Marin from the North).

By Air

The easiest way to transfer from the airport to the cruise port is by taxi or shared-shuttle bus.

5) Other Information

Language English
Timezone PTZ
Currency USD

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